5 Things to Remember When Your Child is Being So Annoying, Part 2

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We’ve been talking about when your child is being so annoying, and what to do. What should your response be? How do you stop the anger, frustration and annoyance that rises inside? First of all, I want to call attention to the fact that every parent faces this, because every child is annoying sometimes, and there is a period in a child’s development when they can be more so than others, not that you should just say, oh well, and ignore it, but that as a parent, it helps to know that we’re in this together, and it’s not just your child that’s behaving this way! Right? Sometimes, we fail to admit when we’re going through something–false pride, perhaps? or too afraid of humiliation, or we think we’re the only ones–and we fail to gain the support that God means for us to have from the Body of believers. Older women are supposed to teach the younger, Titus 2 says, how to love their children, among other things. And, in general, we’re to bear one another’s burdens. So, maybe it’s time to just admit we’re going through something, and humbly ask, not only if they have any counsel to give, but to ask others to pray.

I said that there was more to this than could be discussed in one post, so if you didn’t get a chance to read it yet, go and read Part 1, 5 Things to Remember When Your Child is Being So Annoying. And, Part 3 is coming.

Often, one of the things that’s so annoying is that our child makes extra work for us when they’re acting immaturely! And, as if we didn’t have enough to do!  Then, we react immaturely in response, out of frustration. Often they create a big mess. If what they’ve done caused a mess, or they have broken something, perhaps the best thing to do is to allow the natural consequences of their behavior to do the training. If at all possible, have your child clean up the mess. If they can’t do it all, make sure they do some. If it’s broken glass or something like that, you can clean it to make it safe, then have them either clean it again, or clean something else, and explain that because you are having to do this work, they must do the work that you couldn’t do. Keep yourself calm, and let the consequence be fitting and train them. If the item was worth replacing, and they were clearly at fault, you should have them pay for the replacement of the broken item, as well. It may mean they have to do some extra work around the house in order to earn the money and it may take time, but that lesson won’t be forgotten soon. They are building character, and learning responsibility. These are extremely important things to learn! In certain circumstances, they may need to ask forgiveness of another family member. Even if they didn’t mean to do it, they should still say, “I’m sorry.” An oft-heard excuse is, “I forgot.” Or, “I didn’t know,” or “I didn’t mean to.” Though that may be very true, they need to learn that there are still consequences for their actions, and whenever possible, let the consequences train them. And, maybe they’ll remember better next time!

The result of their immaturity may mean more work for you, but remember that you can clean up a mess in a few minutes with your hands, or you can tear down your child in a second with your words and attitude. If you feel like you’re going to lose it, give yourself some space and time to cool down before dealing with your child.  Communicate to them by your actions, words and attitude that they are more important than whatever was spilled or broken. My mom used to say, “It’s only a thing.” Even if it’s a family heirloom, try not to place more importance on it than on them by your words or actions. When you’ve calmed down, get everything cleaned up quickly, working together, (perhaps they don’t know how to clean up a mess like this one, and it can be a valuable training time), and encourage them by saying something like, “No need to cry over spilt milk,” or something of the sort. This isn’t the time to give them a lecture. If you’ve been training them up till now, they could probably recite the lecture verbatim anyway! They know! They know. Yes, they really do know. And, dear mom, they are going to turn out ok. They will eventually become responsible adults. They really won’t turn into space cadets or irresponsible slobs! Someday soon, your training will bear fruit. Don’t give up, and do not fear. Keep on patiently training.

If instruction is needed, give it later when you’re not in the middle of the crisis. Your calm, mature response now will pave the way for their receiving your instruction later, and your demeanor is a very important lesson all by itself. Actions speak louder than words. Have you ever heard the saying, “Your actions are shouting so loudly, I can’t hear a word you’re saying”? When you do sit down with them later, perhaps you could open up with a question such as, “What do you think you could have done differently in order to have a different outcome?”

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2) This is the golden moment you’ve been waiting for to train them in Godly character, by your example.

What you do now is more important than what you say. I’m writing this to help you so that next time YOU will have a different outcome:) What do you think you could do differently in order to have a different outcome the next time your child behaves so annoyingly? How will you respond the next time they have acted immaturely (for the umpteenth time). Decide now how you will act and what you will say when something is spilled all over the kitchen or is broken–because of their immaturity. When they took it a little too far, didn’t stop before someone got hurt (physically or emotionally). Or did something even smaller, but still very irritating. What you do will impact their lives more than what you say, as important as what you say is. Decide ahead of time how you’ll act. You might even picture it in your mind.

“A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.”
Proverbs 15:1

“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”
Colossians 3:21

First of all, may I suggest that you don’t wait until the behavior is driving you absolutely crazy and you react by yelling at your child. You be the mature one. When it first begins to be annoying, or you see where it’s headed, quietly suggest a different behavior, action, or activity, in a calm voice, with no sarcasm or irritation in your voice. Make eye contact. Get a “Yes, Mom,” from them.

Daily, first thing in the morning, commit your day to the Lord, and ask Him to be Lord of all that happens, giving you a calm spirit, and the ability to respond appropriately throughout the day, and bring Him glory through all you do and say. Pray with your children about the day and all your actions–yours and theirs. It will also teach them to take everything to God in prayer.

When you’re stressed, tired, or are having a difficult day, you will be tempted to become angry. The temptation is not sin. And, this is not because of your child’s behavior. Their behavior is only revealing that you are tempted to become angry (perhaps you have an anger problem and you need to deal with it). And, if you do become angry, be an example of asking forgiveness, in that case, of your child.

If you found this helpful, would you please consider Sharing it? Thanks!
By the Grace of my Heavenly Father alone, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

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Photo credit: Copyright: tatyanagl / 123RF Stock Photo

Now It’s Really Summer, Part 2

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The first step to having a wonderful summer may be to put aside the expectation that you should have the “best summer ever.”  Click on the links, if you haven’t read Part 1 of Now It’s Really Summer and Now It’s Really Summer, Part 3.  I can so easily fall into pleasing myself, seeking my life, rather than losing it for Christ, flesh-pleasing as opposed to dying to self.  Ingratitude for the simple blessings of life that God gives.  How does that happen?  It’s the little ways of thinking, little choices, that are turned just a tiny bit in the wrong direction that spoil a life.  You will head in the direction that you are looking.  And, before you know it, the little foxes spoil the vines. Song of Solomon 2:15

Building a close, Godly family that loves the Lord and is being used of Him, that is growing in Christlikeness and bearing much fruit doesn’t come automatically from being busy.

We need to:

  • continually yield ourselves and our plans to Jesus Christ
  • train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and
  • guard against Satan’s sneaky, subversive attacks.

One of his attacks is to make it hard to read my Bible when I need it most, and when I’m busy, and to choose entertainment over time in the Word when I want to relax.  Another is to get so caught up in the outward appearance and actions of myself and my children, that I forget that the heart is most important.

It will be my example that my kids follow. It’s not only important what choices I make, but how do I make those choices?  What is in my heart and important to me? Am I selfishly thinking I deserve a little pleasure, a little me-pleasing, because I’ve worked so hard?  Do I demand my “rights” and have a list of expectations? Do I want my children to “perform” so that everyone will think highly of me? Is that what’s directing me?

Is this question even valid:  “How can you have the summer you’ve dreamed of, and the kind of summer that you and your children will remember forever?”

If you do have this kind of summer, you should thank the Lord, and treasure that, because you probably had nothing to do with it, and it came with some trials, lessons learned, and work attached!

If we need encouragement and refreshment, the Lord knows it, and He will meet our needs. May we always, no matter what the season, seek to strengthen our marriages, make brothers and sisters best friends, train children to work hard and be disciplined, and live so that we come closer to the Lord, build close family bonds and increase Christlike character.

I said in Now It’s Really Summer, Part 1, first, Pray.  Seek wisdom first.  It’s most important. Proverbs 4:5-9:

5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

I know that the Lord wants my best and wants to help me and guide me, so going to Him and asking Him what we should do is so important.

2. Plan Spiritual growth and fruitfulness first.

Plan the important, the eternal.  Put it into your life first. How will we be in the Word and study the ways of God this summer? Let’s be intentional.

I’m trying to get caught up right now on Bible-reading goals. I’ve tried, but not succeeded, in reading through the Bible in a year for several years now, and my goal was to not get behind in the first place this year, but life happens, and somehow I did.  Whenever possible this summer I’m spending extra time in His Word, knowing that, for me, beginning in the fall, busier times are ahead.

What “living books” are you planning to read as a family?  For many, summer is a time when special reading can happen.

Do you have plans for family ministry? I’m not referring necessarily to church programs.  Family ministry will look different for every family, as God uses your specific gifts, interests, and skills in your family, making you uniquely able to minister in your sphere of influence.

A shameless plug for Family-integrated churches

Churches tend to separate families by age, and rarely can the whole family be involved in the same place at the same time.  We have attended churches of many different kinds.  For the last 10 years we’ve attended a family-integrated church, and I appreciate that it encourages families to be strong, worshiping and serving Him together, which helps to accomplish the above goals.

What Can Your Children Do that Will Last a Lifetime

Are you feeding your appetites for entertainment and having fun? Will your children grow up being mighty in Spirit? What skills are your children learning and practicing that they can use for a lifetime to bless others and serve the Lord?

I heard something interesting recently.  A healthcare professional was talking to my 92-year-old mom, who has been very involved in music all her life, playing the piano and singing, and the woman said to my mom that this generation is going to find out that sports don’t contribute to a longer, healthier life–but music does–and also using your mind, doing things like crossword puzzles, and playing games that require thinking skills (probably doesn’t include electronics).

My mom has been playing piano and organ and singing from the time she was a little girl up until now.  At 92, she doesn’t play often anymore, but she still finds enjoyment and blesses others when she does!  Up until a year ago she sang in a seniors singing group, average age of 85, which presents music programs and concerts to groups at nursing homes, schools, and other places. The really unique thing is that they memorize the words to all their music!

3.  Ask your husband what he would like to do this summer.

Want your husband to lead? Here’s a good place to start!  Ask your husband what his goals are for you and your family.  You and your husband may be on different wavelengths, so communication is important.  Don’t go ahead and plan the rest of the summer without his input.

(This turned into a three-part-series, so make sure to read Part 3 of Tips for Your Family’s Best Summer Ever.)

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