The Simple Way We Stopped Tantrums

     As I recently shared, our home has become more peaceful lately. I never realized how much influence my attitude had on so many people and things, but sticking to speaking peace over our home really made a huge difference. If you missed the post about bringing peace into disciplining your children, you can read about it here.

     Following that simple mindset change came a strategy we decided to give a try when there were concerns that simply speaking peace over didn’t readily mend (since any honest parent will admit there is not a single method that works for every child every time). While on our annual beach vacation with friends and family, I got to see a full week of a strategy that our friend used with her daughter the same age as our Savannah (5 years old). Whenever a rule on their family rules list was broken, our friend had her daughter sit down and copy sentences related specifically to whichever rule was broken. The English teacher in me has never been a fan of using writing as punishment—it’s hard enough to get kids to enjoy writing. But seeing this in person was completely different.

more than peace watermarked

 

     The process was simple. A rule was broken. A very short explanation of what was not okay about it was discussed, and quiet time to write about it followed.

     Now, to contrast that with an ounce of the drama I was experiencing: A rule was broken. A very short explanation of what was not okay about it was discussed, and literal clawing at the walls, screeching, and dropping to the knees ensued. No kidding. Every single time I tried to explain why something was not safe or allowed to be done, I immediately began competing with my children for who can become the most irrational person in the universe. Most times, we ended in a tie. So what gave? Why did my scenario look like a scene from a psychological thriller and hers was pretty cut and dry? My kids NEED an emotional transition. They just cannot harness their heightened emotions that quickly. They have to get some cooling off time before we can even think about rationalizing things together. Mine would have to come in a different order is all.

     Since God had really been speaking a lot to me about peace, other words from the Fruit of the Spirit naturally followed. My home needed more than just peace at this point. We needed love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as well. So, after we returned home from vacation, I immediately established our own house rules: Live out the Fruit of the Spirit. We sat down in a calm, happy moment and talked about what each word meant and examples of what living them looks like and what they don’t look like. Each night, we would say the Fruit of the Spirit in our bedtime prayers to reinforce their continual need in our lives. I also explained to them what it would look like when they didn’t follow the house rules. They would go get their writing paper and the Fruit of the Spirit print out and bring them to me. I would point to which fruit they were not living out, write that word at the top of their paper, and send them to their quiet space to write out the word several times and hopefully reflect on it. Afterward, we could sit together and talk about what went wrong and how to approach the situation differently, to live out the fruit.

christ centered legacy watermarked

     Although we are only about a month into this routine, we have already seen a major shift. The frequent, unnecessary and emotionally draining outbursts are now a rarity. We ALL get a cooling off period to reflect on our actions so our upcoming conversations can reflect Christ. I am able to stand in confidence that I’m parenting our children in a way that honors God. My children walk away feeling loved and invested in, instead of shamed and rejected. A legacy of Christ-centered living is being reinforced each day, which is all I could ever ask for as a mom, like you, who strives to do her best for her babies.

What strategies have you used to infuse Christ into difficult parenting situations? I’d love to hear your victories!

 

savvy writing fruit                                             (Savannah reflecting on Peace and Joy)

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How I Found Peace with Disciplining Our Children

 

Raising three small children can be exhausting. As parents, we all love those cuddly, sweet moments filled with “I love yous” and tugs at our shirttails. We also love the excitement from experiencing their successes alongside them and the laughter from impromptu tickle monster games. But these aren’t the parts of parenting that drain us. It’s the disciplining that thins out our hair, slops some crow’s feet beside our bloodshot eyes, and makes us feel like we’re a part of some trendy new 5K called The Discipline Dash (and the free t-shirt we got is stained with a familiar variety of unidentifiable splotches). As a mom of three girls and an educator of all age levels, I am knowledgeable enough to know the basics. Consistency, clear and reasonable expectations, and role-modeling are key elements to disciplining children. And with my oldest daughter, it was all natural, effortless, and effective. Then enters our middle child. Raleigh is a force to be reckoned with, and made me question my self-proclaimed expertise. She wasn’t even two when her Sunday school nursery teacher told me I had nothing to worry about with this small yet mighty kid defending herself. For a long time, I felt like I was teetering on the edge of destroying a really valuable trait and enabling an unhealthy habit- I yearned for a reprieve in some middle ground.

teetering

I wish I could tell you this amazing story about how my first course of action was to seek discernment from God and while basking in rays of light from the heavens, God enlightened me. Nope. Instead, I got on Pinterest <Insert face palm here.> I began reading some really great articles about gentle parenting and created a board to keep all of my findings and inspirations handy. I did learn a lot from the readings and resources I found. I tried to be slow and steady with completely changing the way I looked at discipline for our household, especially for my spunky 3 year old. Overall, yes there were some improvements, but the looming issues were still there, the biggest being that our home still felt like it was lacking peace.

Speaking peace into our home

Eventually, I realized this wasn’t something I could resolve in my own strength. While Pinterest was a great resource in the moment, my knee jerk reaction should have been to pray and continually seek God’s resolution. That’s not quite as easy as typing into a search bar, but the results are astronomically better every single time. So, I slowed down, prayed daily into the situation, and observed what God was telling me through everyday life. The word He delivered to me repeatedly was Peace.

What would make things easier for our family? Peace.

Why is Raleigh struggling so much with self-control? No Peace.

What is something that only God can provide in this mess? Peace.

Why is my oldest so emotional? No Peace.

A very close friend of our family’s posted a list of house rules in her kitchen, and during a recent playdate my eyes and mind were immediately drawn to the line about home being a peaceful place.

God was definitely sending me a message, so I meditated on this word every day for a few weeks. Finally, God sent instruction to me on what to do with this Peace thing that had been brewing and I was stunned by the simplicity:

Speak Peace over your household.

I began using the word Peace in my prayers over my children and husband. When I needed to talk to the girls about behavior or redirect, I used the word Peace with priority and gentleness. In casual conversations with the girls or my husband, I would slip in the word Peace (but not in some absurd way, like “Hey, babe, can you pass the Peace?”). And to my surprise, speaking Peace into our home, breathing that life into everyday circumstances, made all the difference in the world. Shouting and tantrums went from constant to occasional. All of that energy I was wasting on chaos control was redirected into spiritual investment in my entire family. God was modeling for me how to sow seeds of peace to reap the abundant fruits of peace. And, Ya’ll, I’m not exhausted.

wasted energy     I can’t wait to share with you soon about how this lesson from God lead us to adopt and apply a specific and simple way to handle discipline and correction that has changed our home even more drastically!

What are some ways you have tried to bring peace into discipline in your home?