Thursday, February 13, 2014

Life's lesson #791652

Today, I managed to get out of the house with relatively no hitches.  Traffic was good, children didn't resist or slow the process, parking was ample when I arrived.  I went to my Thursday morning parents group at church.  It used to be called the "Thursday Morning Mommies group" but now that we have stay at home dads too, the name has been changed.  

We usually discuss a topic from a book or DVD related to parenting and spirituality/faith, or follow the study guide of the sermon series.  Our pastor has been in Israel leading a tour for the past 3 or 4 weeks, so the current series on Parables from Luke (57 of them!!) has been on hold and our group has been looking at a DVD series called Convergence. This particular DVD is about "Helping your Child to become an Adult" discusses challenges related to parenting, how we relate to our children, and how we communicate our faith to them.

This week's video talked about grace for our children, grace for ourselves, rules that we have and the consequences that we implement should the rules not be followed.  At least these are the parts that I remember.  The 15 minute video was packed with ideas.  Such as "the truth can hurt, but if told with grace, it shouldn't sting as much", the need for consequences when children choose not to follow the rules, and the fact that our children are always growing and developing, as are we; it is never too late to have a relationship with them.

The lessons that I learned from today are:
It is important to have grace with your children AND yourself.  Beating yourself up because you didn't do something or because your parenting isn't following the "perfect" model (whatever that is) is not going to help you.  Your children see and mirror your reactions/actions.

It is hard to let go, but we need to let our children learn to fail, to get back up and try, but also to know that there is a loving secure place to return to. (Not the helicopter parenting or snowplow either.)

And of course, that my children are mine not someone else's.  Comparison will happen but it doesn't have to be a bad thing.  Dialogue about different methods or different aspects of parenting is good, it is debate that can be harmful.  There is room for improvement always, but if we think that we have to live up to a certain model (Leave it to Beaver) we will fail.  Also I realized that as my children are mine, they will be raised differently than if someone else did this because I have a certain personality, they have a certain personality and the approach of course is different.

The last thing that I learned was that our children will tell us what they need.  Sure we could give them what they want, but if we did that all the time, than we would never see them develop to mature, well-adjusted adults.  They would function as 3 year old indefinitely. The speaker compared the 3 year old to a drug addict; they both want what they want now, have no patience, and poor coping skills.  (Never heard that one, but it was effective.)  So I need to put boundaries for my kids.  They need them, want them.  Even if they do cry and scream about something for hours on end...

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