Monday, July 15, 2013

Integrating God's Word into my Parenting

Continuing with the scripture memory that I talked about previously, I have been really loving how much it impacts me on a daily basis. Just memorizing a scripture causes me to be thinking about it regularly throughout the day because I repeat it to myself so that I can memorize it. 2 Corinthians 12:9, being about God's grace in my weaknesses, has been particularly helpful because I feel like I am constantly reminded of my weaknesses. Repeating the verse to myself helps me remember His promises.

So I thought maybe I could utilize this strategy with Isis. We've been having trouble lately with her having outbursts of frustration or anger. She's 3 1/2 and she is fiercely independent, which I really believe is a wonderful thing. I am excited to see how this grows in her personality. I think she will be a very confident teenager and adult - at least that is my prayer if we can help her to develop healthy boundaries. 

Lately, we've been really trying to focus with her on the fact that it is okay to have a variety of feelings and emotions. She said something to me the other day about how she went to time out because she got mad. I said, "No, Isis. It is okay to get mad. Mommy gets mad. You went to time out because you screamed at us and then threw your toys because you were mad. It is important to make good choices, even though you are mad." I want her to accept her feelings. I don't want a child that never gets mad or embarrassed or frustrated. That's unrealistic. I just want to teach her how to work through those emotions. We've been focusing on taking a breath. She doesn't want to talk through those things when she's overwhelmed by an emotion and I think that's okay. Sometimes I don't want to talk either when I'm really mad. So we just tell her to pause and take a breath. Sometimes she can and it helps. Sometimes she's too worked up and we have to do time out or allow her to go through the tantrum.

Well, I decided to try using scripture. She's had so many questions lately and we've had so many great conversations about God. She's been going to the preschool program at church and has come home talking to us about how God loves her no matter what and how He made everything. We are able to talk about how God teaches us and says things about how to treat people or how to live and that is how mommy and daddy learn how to treat her. 

So here is what we are trying: James 1:19 says "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."

So now when she seems to be escalating, I try to get close to her, on her level and say something like this, "Isis, I can tell you're getting upset. God says 'You  must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.' So let's take a breath." 

It works best when I have caught it before it really escalates to a full tantrum. If it escalates, I wait until her tantrum is over or until she is done with time out and then we talk about it. We always try to have a little debrief with her after she gets in trouble, just telling her that we love her and we do time out so that she learns to make good choices even when she is feeling mad. If we catch it before the tantrum, then the debrief is after she's had time to calm down and we can talk about how it feels better to take a breath and calm down rather than to throw or hit something.

It's not perfect, but it seems to be working well and I love that she is integrating scripture into her life now. I also love that it helps me to remember as well to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry with her.

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