Overcoming The Mean Parent Voice

OS02003If you are a parent, you have done it. If you have a newborn, it’s not a matter of if, but when it happens.

Your precious child will stir anger up within you and you will use the mean parent voice. I really don’t know what else to call it because it sounds different in all of us, but the overarching fact is that it flat out sounds, well…mean. Some parents are screamers and yellers. Some are sarcastic or rude. Some parents belittle and accuse or are passively mean with their tone. Some parents have great self-control most of the time, but have random moments where like volcanoes they just erupt. It may not happen often, but when it does, everything in its path gets burned.

And why on earth would we parents, who love our children so deeply, speak anything but words of affirmation and use anything but a loving tone when addressing them? There are many reasons, really. Being tired, frustrated, stressed & overwhelmed are just a few. And just maybe, you had parents that talked to you in a harsh way.

But no matter how or why you do it, it’s not good. James 1:20 says that “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God”. And don’t we all want our children to grow and bear righteous fruit? Think of your children as little plants. In the same way a sapling does not thrive in harsh conditions, neither do our children. It would be foolish for us to expect to see good fruit come from their lives if we are consistently using a harsh tone or speaking out of anger towards them. It would be like planting tomato seeds and praying for a harvest of green beans. We simply cannot sow anger and expect to reap a good harvest!

So, whether or not this is a habit or something that rarely happens, I’d like to present some tips on how we can overcome it.

Recognize. Just like any addiction or bad habit, you first need to recognize that you do it if you want to stop. Once you acknowledge it, ask God to strengthen you and help you overcome. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

Realize. Realize that kind words will achieve the results you are looking for far more effectively than loud, harsh or angry words ever will. Kind words are actually very powerful and don’t carry negative side effects! Proverbs 25:15 (MSG) says that “…gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses.”

Respond. Respond to your children rather than carelessly reacting when something they do frustrates you. The following verse is the foundation to one of the greatest pieces of advice I have ever received surrounding this topic: Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs us anger.” (ESV) When you feel angry, your initial reaction is to (insert whichever ‘mean parent voice’ applies to you), but in that moment, purpose to make a habit of lowering your voice and using a gentle tone. Responding with a soft and gentle voice when we are angry isn’t easy and requires lots of practice, strength, maturity and self-control! But the benefits are priceless and well worth the effort. You will find that responding this way calms you and your children, it lends to them listening to you better, and you can sleep at night knowing you have been a godly example to your children in this area throughout the day.

I pray you have been able to walk away with some new “tools” for your parenting toolbox! Now go out there and build your kiddos up with some kind & loving words!

Written by Shirley Clark

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Raising Grateful Kids

IMG_2995“I am NOT wearing jeans! I’m never wearing pants, EVER,” she screams as she collapses onto the floor in an absolute fit. <insert disciplinary action> Dresses only, thank you very much, for both of my girls right around the 3-4 year old mark. And while I don’t mind them wearing dresses a majority of the time, it’s not practical for the everyday…at least not our everyday. Pants and jeans were purchased for a reason and we are going to wear all of the clothes that we have with a grateful attitude, I explain for the 42nd time. She lets out a scream as I say this and collapses onto the floor again, mad as can be. <insert 2nd disciplinary action> After this scene is repeated another time (oh yes she did!), I got smarter. “Sweetheart, because you chose to continue throwing fits, being disrespectful and having an ungrateful attitude about your clothes, you have now lost your dresses, nightgowns and dress up clothes through Sunday.” <insert wailing and gnashing of teeth and a profuse amount of “I’ll never do that again.”> She, of course, did lose her “dress privileges,” but, an amazing thing happened…she stopped fighting me about the pants. It’s a small win, but I’ll take it!

If you’re struggling with entitled kids, you aren’t alone! It’s a battle we fight on a regular basis -raising grateful kids. Over the next month or so, I plan to share some of the strategies we’ve put into place in our home that will hopefully be encouraging and helpful to you; especially in the upcoming season, but today, I wanted to share a post that I read and loved over at “We Are That Family.”

She has some excellent thoughts and ideas and I find myself reading it and saying, “Yes! Exactly!” Read it, get some ideas and tell me what you think! How do you combat this with your kids or with yourself?

Written by Amy Pino

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Your Title Is Dad, Not Friend

IMG_2617I know some of you may read that title and think “I want to be both” and while that concept is good in theory, it’s often poorly executed and leads to kids with issues.

We are called to be Fathers and lead our children in a way that glorifies God, our Heavenly Father. To model that, takes far more discipline then most of us guys want to exert. We’d rather just leave it to our wives to be “the mean parent” and we’ll be the hero, the cool parent, the fun one.

When we aim for “being a friend”, we miss the target God set before us altogether. It’s through you that your kids will learn discipline, patience, anger management, integrity, character, etc. (Moms don’t get upset, they learn this stuff from you too, but Dads/Husbands are called to lead their homes)

If we will strive to be the kind of Father we’re called to be, our kids will look to us with the respect we so deeply desire. That then becomes the foundation of a lasting and influential relationship with our kids.

I want my daughters to know that I love them and care for them enough to correct them (in love) when they do something wrong. I want my son to see that I can handle anger without yelling and screaming because God has equipped me to do so.

Trust me, I have walked the friend/Dad line plenty. This post is as much for me as it is for you! So lets do something about it. Lets rise to the call placed on us. Lets lead our kids and model what a Father and Husband should look like. I guarantee if we do, our kids will consider us their best friends in the long run.

Written by Andrew Pino

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The Power of Patience

AA018336Patience…just writing that word makes me feel guilty. I am the consummate “do as I say, not as I do” person, when it comes to patience. I can’t think of a time in my life, where patience wasn’t a battle for me.

This struggle wasn’t birthed out of being a spoiled brat, who got everything he wanted growing up. It isn’t spurred on by other people at all. Impatience simply seems to be part of my DNA. That’s not a copout. I’m not off the hook. I just realize that I have an addiction for getting things done and want everyone around me to be the same way.

There are pros and cons to this dilemma…

Certainly a pro is that I get a lot of stuff done. I mean a lot. You’ve heard people say “I get more done by 9am than most people do all day!” That’s me. I don’t let things sit, fester, and atrophy. I push, I execute, I drive. (Just saying this is making me energized. I know, I’m a freak)

Another pro is that I inspire and energize people around me. My wife, my kids, my staff…all can feed off the driving force I bring to the table. Finding a new gear and getting more done than they thought possible.

BUT, it’s not all magical and alive with the light of a million fairies! The opposite side of that proactive drive is impatience and control. The ugly truth is that “drive” often looks like impatience and arrogance to others. Just because I’m wired to “get it done now” doesn’t mean that everyone else is or even should be.

Though there have been many positives in my life that have come out of being proactive (promotions at work, leadership in church, a thriving family), there have also been a lot of missteps, damaged relationships, etc. I’ve learned the hard way that leadership at home, at work, at church…centers on patience.

Patience and grace. These words have been used interchangeably in my life. People have had to show me an extreme amount of both. As if that weren’t enough, God, my creator, has shown me more patience and grace than I can ever quantify. I’m literally in debt to Him and can never repay Him fully. The only thing I can do to honor God in all of this, is show other people the same patience that God has shown me. Hopefully in that gesture, I model Christ and His strength in my weakness.

So, the journey continues. I may never be a person that others call “the patient guy” but hopefully I can become a man that others are inspired by, pushed to be better by, and see gracious leadership from.

How about you? Do you battle with patience? I’d love to hear your story…

Written by Andrew Pino

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