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Thursday, March 13, 2008

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,

Glynnis

9 comments:

Cheri said...

I sure wish I could get my childrens attention like that..without a word!
The only tip I've got for you is to pray about it.
I say that- but have yet to pray about their arguing myself.
I am sure it would work, may take awhile but surely we'd see some change!

Carol said...

I'll be checking back to see what others say because we don't have a clue!!

MrsJoeB said...

WOW. This was my morning. My two youngest girls are constantly bickering anymore. I am so frustated but your words the "heart of the matter" stuck a cord with me. My heart became cold and calous this morning when they started bickering over which side of the car to sit at. Now I am prayerfully asking God to help me dive into their hearts to understand what might be going on in their little lives. It would sure be easier if we had a remote to control their actions and attitudes, or ours for that matter...but as you have pointed out, God calls un to look at the heart. I needed that message today. Thank you.
In the past, when they have bickered, I sent them to their rooms for alone time and only when they were willing to get along with each other were they able to come out. In no way has this proven to be successful if but to give me a break...look at their hearts-that's a much better action!In His Graces~Pamela

Anonymous said...

In dealing with the heart issue: we taught our children they are a 3-part being; spirit, soul (mind, will, emotions), and body – the flesh. The spirit man has a voice as does the flesh ( usually easier to hear). It is our soul (mind, will and emotions) that chooses which side it will pick. It is the ol’ ‘2 against 1 concept’. Whoever the soul chooses that is whose side they will go to in each situation. The list of the spirit vs flesh options are listed in Gal 5: 17- 23.

We often heard in our home “are you listening to your spirit?” We knew the children had the concept when they would ask Mom and Dad if we were choosing to listen to our spirit or to our flesh! Often we had to admit, “Yes that was my flesh. I need to choose to listen to my spirit.”

External issues: Strife ‘was not allowed” (2 Tim 2: 24). I would allow them to work it out in a sweet manner. If they needed my help as a mediator I would assist them in coming to an agreement. If they continued in strife they both lost the privilege or had the discipline…since it take two to fight and they were definitely listening to their flesh!

We still had our share of conflict, but we missed the name calling and the yelling, and mom or dad ‘running to the rescue’. Our goal was children who could listen to the voice of their spirit (the real man) and live outside of “self”. (Rom 8:14)

Blessings,
Diane
diane(at)tohline.com

Charlene Kidd said...

My oldest two were at it one evening, I walked to the door that leads to the deck and opened it without saying a word. I calmly told them both to go out to on the deck. They resisted because it was raining, but the three of us went outside. I told them they were to stay out there until they could act in a civilized way towards each other. When that occurred they could return to the inside of MY house!! I returned to the dry inside and shut the door. It made a strong point, and we had a quieter evening after that.
Love the post.
Charlene

Jenny said...

One thing I TRY to get the girls to do, is recognize what their strengths are and then with grace offer to help each other.

Meghan (the oldest) is a neat FREAK! We love her, but she may have a little OCD. Anyway, every now and then she helps Katie (the complete opposite and Lauren the youngest) clean and organize their rooms.

Katie can draw like you wouldn't believe and has a quirky out look on life, so she is the one to go to for help with picture or filler for a report.

Lauren, is little Miss Sunshine, she likes to just love on you, and she does that often.

If you can kinda see, their giftedness is present. Meg ~ service, Katie ~ words, Lauren ~ touch. Using them makes them feel good and creates a warm fuzzy bond.

Now just so we are clear, they fight like crazy but this has helped them bond!

Sorry to be so long-worded!

Jo said...

Your blog is simply exquisite and the thoughts and wisdom you share are priceless! Thank you for being such an encouragment!
- Jo

Digging for Pearls said...

Glynnis,
I had a time this year when I was fed up with my boys bickering and picking at each other. I made them go outside and walk around our neighborhood together and then come back and say three nice things about their sibling. They came back with changed hearts and attitudes and their time away allowed me time to pray as well.

Praying that you and your family have a meaningful Easter.

Blessings,
Jodie
"Pearls"

P.S. Are you okay? You haven't posted in a while.

Cheri said...

Hi Glynnis,

Thought I would share this idea with you. Click on the link below
to get to it. Maybe it will help!

www.5minutesformom.com/faithlifts/2008/03/26/covering-with-prayer/

It'll only take a minute to read. :)