I’ve heard myself telling my kids over and over lately, “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” A sing-song mantra that as parents we use all the time. Once I start it, they often join me in saying it, with an eyeroll voice, if you can hear/visualize that, than you’re a fly on the wall in my house last week.
Dealing with sibling relationships overwhelms me at times. In moments of overwhelm, I sometimes lose my patience and say or do things I immediately regret, like raising my voice into the already clamorous noise, joining the chaos. As soon as I allow myself to pass that threshold, I immediately regret it, my stomach turns and I feel sick. I am not a yeller by nature, and it physically hurts me when I get to that point in conflict. In the past month, I’ve found myself yelling a few times, an explosion of “I just can’t take it anymore,” frustration.
I am a homeschooling mother of four, that’s 24/7 with these kids, I have to find a way to not go there. I loathe myself when I yell at my kids. So, what’s the remedy?
Here’s what I did last week and it’s working.
I started leaning hard on, “If you don’t have something nice to say….” First, to myself. Walk away, take a deep breath, diffuse yourself. Let. It. Go. They are children. If you don’t like the atmosphere in your home, then change it. Change it.
At this point, I obviously realize my song is not working with them and I need help. Singing to my children is not changing their behavior. I bow my heart to the only One that can actually help me. The only One that will give the eyes of my heart sight. The only One and the only thing I know that will work to change this mess. In repentance, I kneel my heart before the Lord and ask for wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask… James 1:5
I was reminded first, that we are all created in the image of God. This is important to remember. God designed my child, He knows him inside and out. Not only that, but because my child is created in God’s image, I need to respect him as the beautiful creation he is. It is my job as a parent to nurture him, and to help him grow into his potential. Getting the right perspective is the first step to creating change in our home.
Stepping out of the frustration and fixing zone, I see the big picture and can clearly see the root of our problem. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I am creatively infusing my children with confidence to walk out their God given abilities, leaving behind all that does not serve them or their purpose in life. Conflict resolution is the character quality we need to work on here. With clarity in the situation, I am better able to focus on the changes we need to make. And so we begin.
Here’s my plan for this week:
The Lord started reminding me of verses that teach us this very thing. Conflict is a part of living on this earth. My children need to know how to deal with conflict in a healthy way, we all do actually, the voice echoing in my head shining a glaringly bright light on me. Thank God for grace. And as He so generously gives to me, I hope to give grace to my children.
I started putting verses on their bathroom mirror, sticky notes for their souls.
This week we will start sticking these words into our hearts, memorizing and talking about them. And the power of these words, the Living Word will take root in each of us. When conflict arises, we will water the seeds of these Living Words by reminding ourselves, fixing our mind, we will fix our words, we will change our steps, and we will dance, be a joyous orchestra of grace.
I know this works. I’ve done it before. These are the last four of my nine kids at home. I think it’s fair to say I’ve been around the block a few times. But life. And humanity. I am thankful we can learn God’s lessons over and over, until we get them, with no condemnation, only grace.
You are wrapped in
Morgan Harper Nichols
How have you dealt with conflict in your home? I would love to hear your experience and words of insight. I am notorious for avoiding conflict at just about all costs, which is I’m sure why I let the situation in my home get so out of hand. Iron sharpens iron! If you have wisdom to add to this conversation, please leave a comment! I hope this helps you rise above the mire and walk the high road of parenting today. I know I can use all the tools I can get for my parenting toolbox, but my God inspired tools always work the best.
All my love, always,