I was going to start with a story about losing my cool with my kids, but I’m having a hard time coming up with something. Not because I’ve never lost my cool with my kids. But because lately, I do it more often than I care to admit and the incidents run together.
Resorting to a raised voice has become my go-to parenting method to get things done around here. I use it when we’re late and trying to get out the door. I use it when my kids don’t clean up after they cook or create. And I use it when they’re not on top of their chores and I’m exasperated. Sure, I could give excuses for my mom mistakes, but I’d rather make real change. From the bottom of my heart, I don’t want to be that mom. Maybe you’re right here with me. Let’s change together. Here are 3 steps that are proven to lead to change.
Our kids know when we’ve blown it. We can’t just move on and pretend our poor response didn’t happen. Our children need to see honesty and integrity in our relationship. That means apologizing when we’ve messed up.
Blame and shame are never part of an apology. Instead, we need to own our behavior and ask for forgiveness. A sincere apology chisels out our pride, makes amends for hurt we’ve caused, communicates how much we love our children and restores our relationship.
2. Root out the trigger.
Unless we identify the trigger that’s setting off our angry response, we’ll be caught in a vicious cycle of our instruction, our child’s disobedience, our angry response, our apology, wash, rinse and repeat. We need to ruthlessly deal with the trigger that leads to our mom mistakes.
Triggers can include certain misbehavior, physical issues like weariness or hunger or even a pattern we learned in childhood. When we identify the triggers, we can eliminate them or exchange them for a healthy response. This book by two moms addresses 31 triggers and how to exchange them for a gentle, Biblical response.
3. Ask for outside accountability.
As a single mom, I parent solo 24/7, juggling the decisions and discipline, the schooling and household while playing good cop and bad. Not having the accountability of a spouse is one reason I’ve let anger become a parenting go-to.
We all need someone we trust to hold us accountable for our mom mistakes. Accountability strengthens our resolve to make real change. An accountability partner – whether a friend or spouse – can pray for us, encourage us and speak truth and life to us.
If any of this resonated with you, what is one step you want to take today?