Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Overlooking an insult

Recently, one of the children's verses for the week was Proverbs 12:16, "A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult." I talked with the kids for a while about how we need to have thick skin. We need to ignore little annoyances and not be so touchy.

Later, I was contemplating the same verse. I thought about how some parenting books advocate a zero tolerance approach to back talk and disobedience. While I certainly believe in training your children to speak respectfully and obey immediately, I wonder if our haste to nip things in the bud can sometimes cause us to miss the root issue.

For example, Nate is having difficulty controlling his temper at times. He gets upset and doesn't know how to handle his emotions. He begins to get angry and has a tendency to back talk when I redirect him towards calming behaviors. Sometimes it really hacks me off when he sasses me and I'm tempted to respond with anger to his rude remarks. This can quickly escalate into a yelling match, making me feel like I have an 8 yr old teenager. I let my wounded pride and desire for respect from my children control my behavior.

I think the prudent thing for me to do is overlook the remarks (for now) and get to the root problem. He feels out of control with his emotions and needs help learning how to exercise self-control. I need to learn to not take things personally. I need to calmly and rationally help him instead of getting offended. Sometimes the punishment mentality muddies our effectiveness as parents. We are looking so closely at the behaviors we *need* to punish that we fail to see our kids as coheirs with Christ who need our help and guidance more than our snap judgements.

I think I need to pray more that God would help me see my kids' hearts and get to the root of their behaviors. I don't want to focus so much on the little stuff that I miss the big picture.


Megan said...

Wow... thanks for sharing this, Tamara. I really needed to hear these words today.

Terra said...

Good word. I tend to respond quickly too. I guess I fear if I let things slide that it will only get worse and then my "reputation" as a good parent will falter. :) I probably need to let go of a little pride and look at life a little more realistically. Thanks!

Emily said...

That is such an important thing to remember! Thanks Tamara :)