1. Stop Yelling. Yes, I'm a yeller. And now so are my kids. I've read so much about this topic and I know it's not a good form of communication with my children. Infact, it's not communication. It's just yelling. I even realized that the reason I yell is because I feel like I'm losing control of situation. But, I didn't see the need to change until it was staring me in the face. I heard Emmy start talking/sounding/yelling just like me. And I decided that was it. So, I've purposed to speak quietly when I'm upset instead of yell. It hasn't been easy and I've not been perfect, but when I sense the anger or out of control feeling building up, I've just prayed for help from the Holy Spirit to help me control my emotions and give me wisdom on how to handle the situation instead of yelling.
2. Encourage More. I want to be an encouraging parent. I want my kids to know that I love them and I approve of who they are and who they are becoming. I want them to know that I recognize things they do. And I want them to know that I love them, no matter what. So, I've decided I want to encourage them 5x's more than I discipline or correct. Some days this has proven to be REALLY hard. When it seems like they're just out to make me crazy or I'm in a bad mood, it forces me to look for the positives. And it's helped me to appreciate things about my girls that I haven't before.
3. Let them be kids and loosen up. Obviously, there is a time and place for everything, but at the appropriate time I just want to let my kids be kids. For so long I've worried about my children's behavior and over-corrected them when there really was no reason to. I wasn't letting them just be kids. When they aren't doing anything wrong or when they aren't hurting anyone or themselves, then just let them be. An example of this- Sunday we took the girls to a local McDonalds and let them eat and play in the play place. Emmy got up during lunch and moved to the 2 seater table next to us. Normally, I would have immediately corrected her and made her come back to our table, but I told myself she's not doing anything wrong, she's not hurting anyone, she's safe (still within a quick arms reach) and she's capable so just let her be. She was happy, I was happy she was happy, and it didn't turn into something it didn't need to be.
4. Pray for them more. I pray for my kids, but not faithfully in a earnest, praying God's will over them sort of way. Right now it's my job to lead them to the cross. It's my (ours- as in Aaron and I) job to introduce them to Jesus and teach them about who God is and what that means for their lives. We read bible stories with them, we do bible verses, we talk about God, but I'm not faithful enough to pray God's protection over their little hearts and minds.
5. Protect them. Everyone's probably like... well, of course you're supposed to protect them. I'm not talking physically protecting them- I'm talking about protecting their hearts and minds. And teaching them how to protect their own hearts and minds. I've really prayed for wisdom in this area. And the Lord has shown me that there are things that we have been doing, have been watching, have been listening to that could plant little seeds in their heart and grow into things that he doesn't want there. Most of this comes through watching TV. I've become very protective over what they are watching. We've cut way back on how much we watch and we've stopped watching things we've watched previously. They don't like it, but right now, it's what I need to do to protect their hearts.
6. Stop being a hypocrite. I'm not saying that Aaron and I lead vastly different lives in private than we do in public, because we don't. But, I do instruct my girls to do things that I don't do. Or not as quickly or as easily as I should. They have to clean up their toys when they're done playing with them so why don't I clean up the mess I make in the kitchen as soon as I'm done. I want them to make their beds in the morning but I can't remember the last time I made mine. I can't teach and train my children in Biblical principles and instruction if I'm not living out that training myself. I want to be more like Christ, and I want my kids to learn about God and becoming more like him from me and what I do, not just what I say.
Parenting has been the hardest thing I've ever done. Marriage has been exceedingly hard and parenting has surpassed that easily. It has exposed my selfishness in a way I never thought possible. God has used my children to peel back layers and expose things about myself that I didn't even know existed. But I'm so thankful for that. I want my kids to know Jesus by seeing him in my life and if that means dealing with ugly things, then that's what it means.
Are there any parenting goals you want to set for yourself or have been working on lately? I'd love to hear them!