11 Oct 2015

You are the best parents for your child(ren): keep calm! {#1 of Being Parents/Family Life Series}

Got kids? 

Are you mom, dad, granddad, aunt...foster parent?  If you are the main caregiver (and ideally it should be the biological parents) then hold on to this: you are the best parents for your child.  To believe otherwise will sell out what you can do. Children also detect this thing called 'Unreal' very easily. I don't mean fairy tales - those are believable - but they know when we don't feel and mean what we say and do.

Yes there are days (sometimes many days) we dream of care-freer days where there was more money, time, energy (and sex?)...but the fact is  you.now.are. a parent and you cannot just throw in the towel; because lives are at stake. So -

Breathe deep.

You - can - do - this. 

The child needs you.

In fact, you need this too.

Yes, parenting is tough. There are so many easy ways to get mad with ourselves -

He looks so skinny
O dear, she's still struggling to read
I said the thing wrong thing -- again -- and now she's banged the door 
How did I end up doing this - all by myself?

There are so many moments we can get angry at the child -

Why did you hit the other kid?
 Can't you sit still? 
What? Spilled the milk again?
Why is this homework not done?
Are you even listening to me?

We get angry. Sometimes too angry.

Honest parents have concurred that sometimes they are a short step away from abusing their own kids - through words, neglect, or even punishment in a fit of anger. 

In my research for my book Simple Tips for Happy Kids, a line by a child psychologist stuck with me:

Children are petrified by Anger

Our anger overwhelms them. The energy burns into their soul and rattles them. Without the means to out-talk and out-reason us, most children are bewildered and lost when anger is frothing over like lava that melts them from the inside out. If this goes on often enough; the child becomes even more vulnerable - emotionally and physically. They will withdraw into some form of shell they must imagine exists to protect themselves. 

This is why it is so paramount that as parents we watch our emotional Richter scale! Fact is, some of us are more explosive than others and anger often erupts so we feel like we have little control. 

But eruptions happen because something is already boiling beneath the surface. 

Could it be our unmet expectations?
Could it be the pressure from others?
Could it that we are way too stretched by our ambitions?

We need to discover who we are and examine our hearts; and perhaps see a counselor.
We need to create margins and buffers.
We need to brave it and look at what is simmering within our soul.

I am not proud to confess that I have seen my kids cringe at my outbursts. But I learnt there's a way to Keep Calm. {click to read}

Keeping calm actually begins with talking calmly to yourself; for the anger has begun from somewhere deep within.

"a gentle answer turns away wrath" ~ Proverbs 15v1

Be gentle with yourself.

You are under a lot of pressure.
You need finances, solutions, energy, enthusiasm, hope and more... 

Ask yourself what is the next step required; not the entire map. Then take that step.

Be gentle with your child(ren). 

They are under a lot of pressure, like you.
They pick up your stresses.
They do want to live up to your expectations.
They experience the power of sin in themselves and others that can make them feel defeated.

I believe that children from households of faith, who have leaned their hearts Godward are born again with the spiritual capacities to love, hear and obey God. Trust in God's Grace and power at work in them.

Countless times when I have worried and panicked; I have heard through the tears and silence an assurance that 'they are okay' even if they don't seem to shine the way the world wants them to.

I have also found that gentleness with children always arises after I have prayed and sought God's love for them. His love fills me and helps me see them afresh with His eyes of patient, loving-kindness and great hope.

I turn and tell them that I notice, and that I pray, even if I don't always understand (esp for the teen). The anger that could build up within them abates and they soften.

Anger fuels anger --

be gentle with yourself so you can speak without so much edge and volume,
be gentle with the children so they can feel the freedom to speak up.

Then gentleness breeds a bond that is strong. How strange sounding; but so true.

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