I have been having conversation after conversation lately, with moms who feel like they have no control of their kids. The kids ages vary, but typically it is kids ages 10-15. Of course there are totally different home situations, and life circumstances surrounding each family, but the feelings of complete and utter helplessness and loss of control is the same. No one likes to feel out of control, and I hope that with a few words, I can help you feel like you can get things back under control.
When I ask you the question Is it really possible to have control? The simple answer is yes. Yes it is. But the thing is, it takes work. Hard work. It is so easy to fall into the trap of not begin intentional and planning things out, especially once your kids become a little bit more independent. The basic answer to how it’s possible to have control is this: BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT EVERYTHING!
I know that seems so obvious, but I am going to give you a few examples that I hope will help you understand what you need to do and how you can keep things under control in your house.
1. Show your kids you mean business, even if you feel weak.
Here’s what I mean. There have been times when my boys have done something wrong, and they knew what the normal consequence was. I tried really hard when they were younger to be consistent, and the discipline was pretty much always the same. But then there are those days when I’m over tired, stressed, or start feeling bad. Instead of dropping the normal consequence and therefore coming across like you are being a push over, be intentional and tell your kids what you are doing. Like this: Hey, I saw that you just hit your brother. You know that normally you would get in trouble for this. I am going to show you mercy right now, just like Jesus does to me so many times and gives me good things when I don’t deserve it. I want you to apologize to your brother and work really hard to do the right thing next time.
See how that worked? It doesn’t have to look like you are just rolling your eyes and walking away from the situation. You were still taking the time to deal with it, but didn’t have to deal with it in the long hard way that discipline can normally take!
2. Show your kids that you expect the same from yourself that you expect from them.
We can not tell our kids to act one way and then act another way. They are going to see right through that. If we expect kindness from them, we have to show kindness to others. It can seem so obvious, but it’s harder than it seems! It has to start with us! It has to start with me seeing what I look like in the light of the Bible. The Bible shine light on all the things I need to work on. If I start my day that way, it makes it easier for me to work on those things throughout the day. It becomes easier to teach my kids the same. What if I have someone cut me off when I’m driving and I don’t mouth off towards them and get frustrated, but instead talk about thinking of others as better than myself? Would that impact them? Would it make it easier to teach them to be kind when someone at school treats them poorly? I think so.
3. Show them that you don’t expect them to be perfect but you expect them to be growing.
This is the way God treats us. He doesn’t expect perfection, but he expects growth. I expect a lot from my kids. A lot. I expect a good attitude, I expect them to serve, I expect them to obey. I know that they are not going to obey all the time, but they know Adam and I expect it. I don’t drag my kids to church, they come with us to church because it’s expected. I don’t yell at my kids and tell them over and over when it’s time to go to bed. They obey the first time. And when they make a mistake? We don’t make them feel horrible about themselves, but we do want them to know that we expect better next time. I love being able to put this to practice. Recently, one of the boys had a hard time with how someone spoke to him. We talked, and I brought out how he could have reacted differently and maybe the entire conversation would have ended differently than it did. The very next day, something similar happened, and I was able to just look at him and he remembered and acted the right way. Then…what a great chance to celebrate!! He made a bad choice, then he corrected it and made a good choice the next day! Again…intentionally reminding him of how he made a good choice!
It’s all about doing things on purpose. If you want control of your kids, you have to be so thoughtful, conscious, calculated, planned out. Having well behaved, controlled kids does not just happen. It takes work, love, being able to admit when you’re wrong, and asking God to give you the wisdom you need. I love talking about this, because I’ve seen it work in my own family. When you work hard when they’re young, it pays off when they’re older. Don’t think that things are just going to go right on their own. You have to work hard. You have to be intentional. You have to plan out what you are going to do when they act poorly, and what you are going to do when they obey!
Any questions about specifics? Please feel free to message me here. I always loving encouraging tired, worn out moms. You don’t have to feel that way! It is possible to have control! You can do it! Don’t forget. You are not always going to know what to do. It’s ok! Keep your eyes on the one who does.