Lately I encountered something so illogical and unnatural that it baffled, challenged, but in the end delighted me.
I’m talking about parenting. According to many parents, after a newborn joins the family, a previously golden/obedient/delightful older child gradually transforms into a disobedient, loud and obnoxious creature. Apparently it’s a ‘thing’.
Being an only-child myself, I was not particularly sensitive to the feelings of my older child when the younger was born. Now with retrospect as my ally, I can see how a child could feel ‘not-quite-right’ if their parents’ previously undivided love and attention quickly became an unequal split between the helpless babe and said child. But at the time, I was so exasperated and irritated by the naughty behaviour that all I could do was refuse, rebuke and reprimand.
But this ‘reactive’ parenting approach didn’t work. Very soon, we were back to the vicious cycle of child not feeling my love and acting up, me showing annoyance, and repeat. Took me a while to realize it, but if I wanted the situation to change, I had to change. I had to help him to feel my love again! In my desperate attempt to correct his behaviour, I neglected to connect with his heart. Rules without relationship only leads to rebellion.
How do you show someone love whilst they’re making you upset?! Thankfully, I read this, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17″ I realized something: God is the ultimate positive-reinforcement kinda parent! He doesn’t repay rebellion with punishment, He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, instead He showers love and forgiveness!
I tried it out. The next time my child misbehaved, I reacted differently. Instead of following my initial knee-jerk reaction of scolding him no end and withholding my love from him, I remember the way God parents. I get down to his level, wrap my arms around him and speak to him in a loving and encouraging manner. I couldn’t believe how well this approach worked!
Although we are both still ‘works-in-progress’, our relationship has improved dramatically since my change. It seems so illogical and unnatural to rectify naughtiness with love, but apparently, it’s a ‘thing’.
Vintage Dress, Bag & Earrings // YSL Heels
Have you experienced ‘the thing’? How do you exercise loving discipline with your kids?