03 Feb 5 steps to practice more parenting self-control
I’ve been really struggling with something the last few months. I mean… If I’m truly honest it’s something I’ve struggled with all my parenting life. More specifically, I struggled with it more and more I added to my now 4 children. And it’s never “gone away”.
Ready for it?
I mean we’ve all been there. The times were we snap, are too harsh, and handle things not on our best mothering game.
For the last couple of years, I’ve seemed to always find ways to excuse or understand my impatience. I mean, we have personally had a lot of transitions and changes in our life which have stretched and grown me in so many ways but… I have realized a continuing theme of impatience on my end… no matter the circumstance. I’ve found myself currently in a season of life where there’s a lot of balance. More balance than I’ve probably ever had … and yet, I’m still way too impatient. I’ve developed patterns in this mode and realized- I need to do some inner adjusting.
Meaning: The tendency to be impatient; irritability or restlessness. Not willing to wait for something or someone, wanting or eager to do something without waiting
THE SOLUTION (we all know):
Meaning: The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
Meaning: Having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people.
As I’ve been meditating on my issue, I’ve asked myself “what is my goal in my home?” The answer came pretty fast and simple for me: Peace. I want a peaceful home. So I looked it up and laughed. Here you go: freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.
Let’s just laugh at that. Hahahahah
But seriously, I think so often we, or at least I, want a house of peace with no conflict… “free from disturbance”. I want compliance, obedience and everyone to get along. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a one time family meeting, discuss the rules and thats that. If they aren’t followed- you’re out.
But this is not the way parenthood and relationship works. This is not the way Proverbs creates a picture that I think is the most accurate description of family life. Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” To sharpen is to have friction.
Peace can be can be defined as “tranquility, harmony, or security.” But it also has connotation of meaning “prosperity” or “well-being.” This is a much broader picture of peace. Bringing about prosperity and well being in a home will take work and there is going to be friction. Because the thing is, we are not perfect. Life happens, we get triggered and we mess up. Our kids are trying to figure themselves and life out as well, and we all know they are definitely not perfect (insert sarcasm).
I find in parenting it goes like this for me:
I have a goal.
I have estimated how long it will take to reach the goal.
I have a lot of other things to do when said goal is met.
They take way too long or don’t listen.
I have 4 children with 4 different personalities and learning styles. Lets just say, creating and living in a peaceful thriving home isn’t exactly straightforward. I can’t usually tell ahead of time which parenting strategy is best for situations that come. And it often takes time, attention, and energy to make those decisions on the fly.
Once I admitted how much I was being triggered by impatience, I sat down and realized I have pretty good idea of what is going to trigger my frustration. I wrote it down. I think it is now my job as a parent to change my strategy so I get triggered less often. This way I can re-program my response when I do get triggered, so I hopefully make better parenting choices that hit the mark..
This is going to mean more Self control (demonstrating patience and long-suffering):
Patience literally means: the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations.
My 5 steps to practice more parenting self-control:
Take a deep breath. Walk away if needed (make sure to come back)
Identify which goal is being frustrated.
Identify if there is a rule or structure in place the child is aware of
Consider which child your dealing with and how they are wired
Decide, calmly and rationally whether you should
Follow through on the family procedure/discipline
Find a creative solution
Find understanding and extend grace (remembering to be flexible and change my expectations).
Raising kids aka “Growing people” isn’t a science. It’s more like art or gardening. I constantly have to remind myself to see with these eyes of understanding. So next time you find yourself triggered in a heated parenting moment, take a deep breath and step back to ask yourself these important questions.