I have posted an article previously that discussed showing yourself grace. Today I want to talk about the concept of showing your children grace. Honestly, this does not come naturally to me, but I am working on doing this more.
We Are Shown Grace
We have been shown grace by the Lord when he died on the cross for us. I mess up every day and God is always willing to forgive me and show me grace every time. Why then if we are shown grace is it hard to extend to others?
We Set Unrealistic Goals
As a mom, I have realized and learned that I set unrealistic and unattainable goals for my children. Society puts pressure on moms through social media, television, and so many moms that fake it that our children should be doing things perfectly. This starts even when our children are babies. For instance, you see the Facebook post that your friend’s child is achieving things like sitting up on their own and your baby can barely hold their head up. Or you see that your friend’s child got a full ride to a college that your child might not have been accepted into. We have a distorted view of what are children should be doing and we need a reset.
Children Will Make Mistakes
Children will make mistakes, just like we make mistakes. We cannot expect our two year old to be perfect when we have kept them up hours after their bedtime. Or expect the three year old to be perfect while waiting on the doctor for over an hour. Things that as adults are easily done are not easily done for children. I say all this to tell you that I have gotten angry at my child for pitching a fit in a waiting room at a doctors office or when I have kept them up late. I do not get this right, but I am learning.
Children as they age will make bigger mistakes than just spilling the milk or breaking something. They will begin to make life choices and sometimes those choices will be poor and there will be consequences. What better environment for them to make poor choices than in our home, in a safety net. If we always expect perfection from our children or swoop in too early to prevent them from making a mistake, then we prevent them from learning and growing how to make the big choices in life.
I have heard it said raising children is like a caterpillar in the process of becoming a butterfly. If we cut open the cocoon so the butterfly does not struggle or go through the pain of breaking free of their cocoon, we prevent the butterfly from being strong enough to fly. We do not want that of our children.
What Does This Look Like in Real Life?
What does extending grace to your children look like? First, it starts with asking God for wisdom and direction on how to do this. Like I said it does not come natural. Next, think about how old your children are and remember they are children, they are learning and testing all the time the environment in which they live.
For me, I have to constantly remind myself to take a breath before I react. So when my child spills their drink, I take a deep breath and remember that it was an accident and I smile and say oops. Have you ever noticed when an accident happens like this, your child looks to your face for your reaction. They look to you to see if they will receive an angry reaction, disapproving reaction, or a loving grace-filled reaction.
When my child does something wrong and chooses to make a mistake, I again take a deep breath and I honestly try to not speak to them when I am angry. I do get angry with my children and in those moments I try to keep my mouth shut. When I am angry, I tend to say things irrationally that are not uplifting. I try to send them to their rooms or another place to sit so I can take a deep breath and think about what would make the situation better. Asking God in these moments for wisdom is key.
The best resource is the Bible and getting to know God’s Word and His wisdom. The more I know Jesus and spend time with Him, the more gentle my responses become, the less angry I get, and I am able to show my children more grace.
A phenomenal book that has helped me so much is called Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. (This is an affiliate link to Amazon where I can earn a small commissions on your purchase)
Have you ever struggled with getting frustrated with your children only to realize it was to unattainable expectations? I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to email me Lindsay@naturalnursemama.com and subscribe below. Please feel free to share with the links below!