Chancellor’s Challenges: Putting a Lid on Problems
Last time, I wrote about the water spilling from the cup and how much of our child raising is simply trying to put a “lid” on the cup, rather than dealing with the “water” problem. Remember, the heart is a wellspring of life and what IS inside will come out.
So if you are dealing with a child who is being disrespectful, it is easy to send them to their room, stand them in the corner or take away their video game opportunities. And while certainly the first one may be necessary so that YOU can “cool down,” it is NOT the solution. Your kid is not going to their room, or sitting thinking, I cannot play video games because I was disrespectful to my mother. By giving those “consequences,” you have done nothing except perhaps made them more angry and hardened toward the words that need to be said because they see the incongruity of having something taken away in relationship to the problem of their disrespect. Those consequences only put a “lid” on the cup.
So what should you do?
Depending on the age of your child, having a conversation about what just happened is the starting place. And by conversation, I mean asking questions in a genuine desire to know what is going on inside of them - NOT a lecture. “Why did you roll your eyes when I asked you to....” Then another follow up question based on their answer should be next. “So, why does that make you angry?” or “Help me to understand why that is so hard to hear?” etc.
Once you have genuinely tried to understand what your child is thinking and feeling and are convinced that they understand that they are responsible for their responses, an appropriate consequence is not out of the question. It may be necessary. But it may not be needed. However, the consequence must be related to the offense. Loss of video game privileges would be tied to their response of not coming when called from their gaming. In the case of disrespect, you may need to be more creative. But the consequence should not be punitive, or purposed to change the behavior. It will never do that.
Is this difficult? Yep!
Ultimately, it will cause you to do what you will be asking your child to do – and that is to rely on Christ. In every moment of discipline (disciple-making), you will need Christ’s wisdom and willingness, determination and diligence, and patience and perseverance. That means you will call on Christ while you are talking to your child, asking God’s Spirit to give you what you need at that moment.