Parenting is tough. I think I need this printed on a notecard and posted to my mirror!
1. Keep as close to a schedule as feasible. Tired and hungry are two of the biggest contributors to grumpy and irritable. (For parents and children alike)
2. Give your children as much notice as possible in regard to schedule changes. Mention these changes more than once, so they never have the feeling that life is “out of control”.
3. Be consistent with both rules and consequences. Kids appreciate structure and predictability.
4. Redirect instead of criticizing whenever possible. For instance the other day I told my youngest son something the effect of, “Move over! Your sister doesn’t like you staring over her shoulder like that! People don’t like it when you do that. You need to be on your side of the backseat.” (By now you’ve definitely decided to look elsewhere for advice.) My dad, on the other hand, preferred the approach, “What is that out the window over there!”
5. Ask God for the discernment to choose your battles but not neglect to discipline your children. Remember the Bible says “Do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
6. Never fight your battles alone. Pray constantly for your children.
7. Seek out positive role models for your children and plan for them to spend time around those individuals. It never fails to amaze me that another adult can offer the exact same advice to my children that I have been saying for years. The only difference – when they give the advice it’s acknowledged, appreciated and accepted.
Taking a consistent, proactive approach to discipline is not an easy task and I’m certain I fail as often as I succeed. However, with each failure I grow and learn a valuable lesson. (And who knows by the time my youngest turns eighteen I might be qualified to offer advice to someone other than myself.)