1. Be slow to speak at your children and quick to listen to them. (James 1:19) We all need to be heard. From the youngest child to the oldest adult there is an innate need to be heard. One cause of conflict in parent and child relationships is that children often feel like their parents are not hearing them. Ask yourself this question: When I get into conflicts and arguments with my child/children am I guilty of not hearing them and identifying their needs before I rush into ‘speaking’ at them? Try to lecture less, and listen more.
2. Remember that it is a fool who gives full vent to his anger. (Proverbs 29:11) Parents often have a sense of righteous indignation and reasons for being upset with their children, whether they have broken a trust or a valuable item or hurt someone. How we as adults and molders of our children’s sense of self-worth and emotional well-being must remain responsible and conscious of how we respond as opposed to react to our children’s errors. We must not over react like a volcano exploding molten lava on our children burning them and turning them into harden stones.
3. Let nothing “unwholesome” come out of your mouth but only that which is useful to build up and edify your children. (Ephesians 4:29) I often think of the gruesome experience I had way back in kindergarten in the early 70’s. Every day the milk lady would bring a tray of milk into the class room and place it on top of the heater at about 9:00 AM and after lunch at about 11:30 the teacher would hand out 1 pint size carton of milk with the word “Wholesome” written on it. One day the milk turned sour and you can just imagine the unwholesome rain of vomit that came out of our little mouths all over that stuffy kindergarten classroom. When using words with our children such as: calling them a name, comparing them to someone or something else or using profanity to express our feelings of disapproval with them it will increase the hostility that may exist and decrease any chance of cooperation. The most powerful thing we have for good is our words, which can be wholesome and build up our children, when a parent uses vile and wicked words they tend to leave destructive emotional scars in our children’s minds that destroy them over a span of a life time. So, let nothing unwholesome come from your mouth but only that which is useful to build up and edify your children.
4. Apply the following phrase to all of your requests when there is any form of resistance and let this phrase become a natural and positive way of redirecting your children: When you _________ then you can__________.
a. When you clean your room then you can play video games.
b. When you eat (age of child i.e. 5) 5 bites of each item of food then you can have dessert.
Apply this phrase to your own situation and see this powerful phrase work for you. Here are some important rules to follow: Don’t yell the phrase instead say it with a calm yet stern voice. Don’t say it without expectation of completion; instead hold out your expectation of compliance to your well stated expectations that also takes into consideration what your child’s wants, desires or interests are. Be firm, be consistent and be reasonable in what you expect of your children based on their age, ability and skills. Last, give your child time to complete the task without allowing the positive reward or any other change of activity until the task is followed through as you stated it. This could mean that if the stated phrase is: “when you finish all of your homework you can play;” then your child may take as long as they need to finish their homework, but until it is done they are not allowed to play: this should include go outside, skateboard, ride bikes, play on a phone or other video or electronic devices. If they delay completing their homework, they alone are keeping themselves from the reward. You do not need to add a punishment, yell at them, or do anything else. Just remind them to help motivate them every (age of the child in minutes).