By Tom and Sherry Bushnell
A unique way of looking at negative behavior in our children, is to make what
could be a “fight” into an opportunity to change a heart. Just like God uses our
“bad”, as a way of working good in our Christian walk, so can we use our
children’s mistakes as an opportunity for good.
If you are like us, as parents, it is easy to take our children’s disobedience
personal. This translates into our choosing to take offense when our children
argue, talk disrespectfully, choose to “forget” a task, or “push our buttons”.
In fact, as a mother, I have been known to wake up from a sound sleep, with a
child on my mind and roll my frustration around until I have found a good enough
way to get even!
When our children were young, (and some still are) it was
pretty simple (it seemed more complicated back then…) Child disobeys, child gets
punished.. We move on…this worked well with most of our children.
I guess that after 24 years of raising children, we are what you call “seasoned
parents”. I know that we are not as diligent with correcting negative behavior
in the youngest set. (Which drives the older set practically crazy.) But with
our advancing age, perhaps what appears as neglectful, is actually the result of
a little more patience. God’s heart is plenty patient with us too.
Practical application for today:
If you have a child who really struggles with sit-down seatwork, every day
becomes a nightmare around mid morning when school starts.
Instead of taking away privileges or a spanking for not sitting still, think
ahead of a fun activity to do together AFTER school work is done. Positive
motivation, instead of force-feeding school work, actually works better. If a
child cannot think that far ahead and anticipate, then immediate rewards (such
as healthy food) becomes appropriate.
Negative attitudes are always hard to work through, especially when we have a
basket full of our own. Praying that God changes my heart does wonders for the
attitude in my children!
Honestly, sometimes I do not see how I am contributing to the negative part of
the situation. (All I see then is my child’s refusal or rebellion.) Could I be
missing seeing the results of a hurting heart? Maybe my child's reactions are
the result of something stressing or troubling them. Is it in my power to
eliminate that stress?
God grant me patience and the ability to see past disobedience and see what the
Lord sees inside my children, so I can really make a difference in their heart