And speaking of LYFLJ…
Parenting is hard. I make mistakes all the time. The other night Eldest lost her temper with Rachel. Part of me understood. Rachel often insists on having things her way and will fight to keep them that way. Whether it is due to autism or personality, I don’t know, but interactions with Rachel can be stressful.
As the fight progressed, Eldest called for reinforcements, “Mom!”
I had HAD IT. Instead of keeping my ego and temper in check and going to speak to them face to face, I yelled back that I was coming and I was busy and I was sick and tired of the yelling.
Eldest hid in the closet. I wanted to take a field trip to the beach by myself…but, thankfully, my brain rewound the last few minutes. I was the adult and I had modeled the behavior that was driving me crazy. Furthermore, I demanded a behavior (calm and compassion), but refused to be obedient to the same principle. In other words, I’d blown it. I needed to apologize.
When I did apologize, Eldest didn’t want to talk to me. My insides heated up. First she yells and now she rejects me when I’m trying to do the right thing? How dare she not respond to me? I am her mother! She should respect me!
And then I took another thinking break. What is one of the big principles in LYFLJ? Oh, yes. Get rid of ego…
I was a textbook case of letting my ego get in the way of love.
So, I did my best to respond in love. She still rejected me, but I was the adult, so I had to act like it. A few hours later, she came down and apologized from her heart, something that would not have occurred had I demanded it or fussed at her because she was not giving me the honor I felt I deserved.
Obedience is a matter of the heart–the parent’s heart and the child’s. In the Focus on the Family interview about LYFLJ, Phil Hodges stated, “Obedience is wanting to do that which you are required to do because of the one who asked you … That’s building a relationship with God, but it first comes from building a relationship with parents.”
The issue isn’t about forcing compliance, it is more about teaching children internal motivation toward obedience. And part of that is me modeling obedience. In everything I do, I model behavior for my children, whether good or bad. Do I tell the truth or do I lie? Do I obey speeding laws even when I am late, or do I make my own rules? If I want my children to follow God’s rules, I have to follow rules too.
Ken Blanchard added, “Obedience is not about control, it’s about a relationship.”
How about you? What kind of parenting tips do you have for drawing closer to your family?
For more, listen to the Focus on the Family radio interview with Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges, and Tricia Goyer. Click here to see the current offer to receive a copy of the LYFLJ book with any donation to Focus.