Note: Today’s post is part of a blog hop with the ladies of Midlife Boulevard where some of us answer the question about our most important rule for parenting.
It took hours to do the assignment. My ladies group from church had asked that I cut out hundreds of these little pictures for a special project to be done the following week with our children. My hand hurt and I was just ready for closure when I left the table to get a drink. I told both children, ages five and seven, not to go near that table!
Upon my return, I discovered a little five year old boy who had decided mommy needed help, but had only destroyed stacks of the pictures while he attempted to take over the cutting. He sat in the chair in tears... just the memory of the moment still melts my heart.
My one rule about raising children requires discernment about all rules…sometimes it is not necessary we live by them.
Did I scream at my son? I certainly wanted to (fatigue and frustration), but at the time I discerned his sweet, little heart was genuinely birthed from a desire to help, so I showed grace. Grace doesn’t mean that rules do not exist, but it does mean that sometimes a broken rule can provide a greater teaching moment about a bigger lesson…unconditional love.
My advice to younger parents who desire to implement grace-based parenting would be:
1. Do not react immediately. Step back from the situation and process, then decide if it requires discipline or grace.
2. Do not use grace as a platform to avoid discipline…they still need the guidance and choosing not to stand firm can hurt them just as much as over-reacting.
3. Explain the situation thoroughly, even to small children. Let them know that you understand a rule was broken, but why “this time” you will give them a grace card. “Though you deserve punishment, you will not receive it for these reasons.” Also, let them know this is a one- time situation and does not cover all household rules.
4. Be loving through the moment…tender in touch, tender in voice, tender in teaching. Always end with , I LOVE YOU.
5. Understand each of your children’s personalities and bents. Some need more discipline than others. It is so important to know that each one has a unique personality and will require a unique game plan. You must know your children really well in order to practice discernment and not allow one to manipulate you.
These five steps can serve you well as you train them. The son I mentioned above still goes out of his way to help me…he holds my heart in his hand. If I had yelled and screamed that day, I might have shut off this flow of love he has continued to pour upon me his entire life.
Understand all rules must be seasoned at times with just a touch of grace.
Please go HERE and enjoy the other bloggers of Midlife Blvd.! Then have a Saturday full of smiles and warmth...I know how many of you are cold, it's cold in South Texas!