Have you ever felt like you deal with the same child-rearing issues time and time again? I sure do, and boy does it wear me down at times. I'll never forget the morning I just about lost it.
Only one week into the new school year and mornings weren’t going smoothly. With my oldest in eighth grade, we’d been through pre-school routines for many years. Yet, that year, my children were having trouble with even the simplest tasks, such as peacefully co-existing at the breakfast table.
At that time, breakfast was at 7:30. As a perk, I allowed the kids to watch a cartoon while they ate. Since the tv isn’t completely visible from the table, the last one seated had to crane his neck a bit to see. Hence, the rush to get the best seat.
One morning, the jockeying for position started with one child rudely telling the other to scoot over. Which resulted in another rude reply and well … you get the picture.
If it was the first time, I would have responded calmly – but this had happened many times before. With frustration bubbling up inside me, I decided the cartoon was going off! I marched over to grab the remote control, whipped around to face the two arguing children, pointed the remote at them and clicked.
For a second we all froze. Two pairs of eyebrow rose high above four wide eyes, and I could almost see my children thinking, “She’s really lost it this time. Mom’s trying to turn us off!”
The humor of the situation diffused my temper, the boys repeated their requests kindly and then asked each other for forgiveness. I’ve thought about my reaction many times since that morning. My response to sibling conflict has at times been superficial; I just want it to stop. But somehow, just controlling their external behavior doesn’t have the long-term effect I’d like.
Unfortunately annoyance and exhaustion can keep me from digging deeper to deal with the true issues ... the heart issues. To dig deeper takes me getting away from the frustration, time in prayer and thinking through creative approaches to dealing with the true issues.
If you have creative solutions to dealing with sibling arguments, I'd love to hear them. Because just pointing and clicking the remote doesn't seem to work very well. :-)
In His Love,