Staying Loving and Constant and Firm and Supportive and…..

Being that bridge to get to the other side is vital!
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Parenting children is just the most blessed thing!
It is blessed and trying and fun and eventful all rolled into one.
For those parenting the average child, born into your home through love,
it is challenging and joyful.
For those parenting the child who comes into your home through the loving  choice of adoption,  there can at times be huge challenges, but the joys are just as huge!

When the child who comes home, having  a background drenched in trauma,
the challenges are huge, and they need us to be  very delicate , balancing acceptance, love,
correction, connection, support and  instruction.

And, with that TALL order….We parents, are frail humans who are fraught with error.
We can be all the things our kids DON’T  need us to be fairly easily!
To be the parents they NEED us to be, it takes HARD WORK, a life devoted to prayer,
and a humbling of ourselves to learn new ways to parent and gain new insight not only about our children, but about ourselves!

Our children don’t need us to fake things, trying appear calm or patient   and  NOT dealing with the behaviors before us.
Calm and patient does not mean we don’t address what needs to be addressed in our children’s lives.
An example might be, if our child is being disrespectful,  we need to correct that disrespect while connecting in relationship with our child.
Kind, yes.  Loving, Yes.  FIRM, YES…… respectful, yes.  Tender, yes!

Can Tender and Firm happen at the same time?  YES!

Tender, firm instruction corrects and connects.
We should never let snottiness go.
“Whoa! Let’s try that again sweetie!”

Said firmly, with respect, this kind of correction lets our kids know that they cannot walk all over us with angry words or take their trauma out on US.
They may try, but it must not be allowed.

To let disrespect go, without addressing it, is to give permission.

That does NOT mean the problem will be solved right away.  It will happen and it will happen on more than one occasion.
It means that you have given notice that certain behaviors are not ok
within a family setting.
Remember, the kids are LEARNING about family. Many of them have NO IDEA how to function in a family, and that is where tenderness and compassion come in.
You can let them know without blowing your top or acting all offended.

Avoiding instructing our children is not doing them any favors, nor is it kind. They need to know and to learn!
It is hard to instruct, especially if you know the reaction of your child will make things get worse before they get better.
Sometimes they are so very fragile and insecure, that gentle correction can set them off.
That is ok.  Be prepared to be  a steady rock and a  tender, firm , gentle, breeze into their souls.

It is also important not to FORCE.  Work through things, but do it without force.
Here are two scenarios :

“If you don’t apologize RIGHT NOW…”  and then you start to mention consequences….
1. You’ll lose TV
2. You’ll lose computer time (I’m guilty of this one)
3. You will be grounded
4. You’ll have to go to your room.
etc. etc. etc.
and your child stares you down and refuses…..
The problem with this is you have to keep your word.
And your words are not being helpful or instructive.
They are punitive.   There is no instruction going on.
And they won’t learn.
This kind of parenting can embitter instead of build relationship.
vs.
“Sweetie, it is not ok to talk to mama like that.”
“Let’s try that again!”
and your child stares you down and refuses….
(even saying things well, does not mean you will have 100% success 100% of the time)

There are many things you can do to work around that digging in because
you are in control of your own emotions.
Creative connection  happens when we are secure in ourselves.
We don’t need our children’s approval or affirmation.
We are the adult!  And being calm puts YOU in control of the situation.

So, you can offer
“Honey, I know you are dysregulated,
Let’s use our tools to help us get through this together.

You can pray for your child and yourself on the spot.
(I have never had a child refuse to be prayed with.)
You can ask your child to join you at the rocking chair.
You can ask your child if they need a safe place to calm themselves
and you can sit nearby reassuring them that they are safe.
You can go for a drive, or go for a walk.
So many, MANY things you can do when you are in control of your emotions.

THEN…. as your child calms and you change the scenery of the moment,
instruction can happen.
Your child calms, you talk about things you see on your walk, or in the rocking chair, you can tell your child how much you love them and how beautiful you find them to be and how thankful you are for them to be with you in your family;
and that wall comes down, the window of tolerance opens back up, and
the balm of healing instruction begins.

“Sweetie,  there are many ways you can talk to mama about how you are feeling without being disrespectful. ”
You can mention some ways, (instruction)
to give ideas to them, because MANY of our kids have NO CLUE what to do.
They have learned one way to act, and they act that way.
Telling them it isn’t ok  is fine, but we have to also instruct them in what IS ok!
Many of them honestly have no clue!

“Mom, I WILL NOT EAT THAT!”
vs.
“Mom, may I skip that?”

The difference is huge!  One is respectful and one isn’t.
One will get a HIGH FIVE! Good using your words!
The other won’t.

“Mom! I want to go outside NOW!”
vs.
“Mom, May I go outside?”

Mom, buy me this NOW!
vs.
Mom, would it be ok to get these pants today?

ROLE Play these differences with ideas of your own.
Ask your child to pick the right one, then reverse it and make it funny and ask
them to pick the wrong one!
They LOVE doing this!
In the process they are learning proper communication.
And you are bonding together in Love.

I am happy to say, that even with our most traumatized children, they have made it across that bridge!  Your children can too!
Be Encouraged!

Happy Parenting! 🙂

Comments warmly welcomed!

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