I have found myself the past few weeks correcting Jett and how he responds to me. “Remember who I am,” I’ve told him. “You are not allowed to talk to me like that,” I’ve told him. This has not been his normal tone with me. It’s been frustrating. And, then, he had his clipped moved twice the other day for lacking self-control. I mean, that’s easy for Jett, especially if he’s excited. But, moving it twice in one day doesn’t happen very often.
I zoned in on his behavior. I talked to Kris about the most effective way to discipline and correct it.
But, I didn’t zone in on his heart.
Tuesday morning, I was gathering all of the things I gather to load three children and take them to school. Jett was focused on his legos and asked if I would help him find a certain one.
“I’m busy right now. We are getting ready to leave.”
His response should have hit me in the gut then, but it didn’t until later that night:
“Parents never want to help.”
I hardly gave that comment a thought other than my flippant response back, “Jett! That is ugly.”
I went about my day as usual. The noises of the day drowned out a seven year old’s feelings. Until the noises stopped, and I was alone and silent.
OH. MY. HEAVENS.
“Parents never want to help.”
Was this true for me as a parent? The answer really didn’t matter. What mattered was Jett had internalized this as a belief system in his young heart. Sometimes, it’s easy to justify or overcome comments from our children by elevating ourselves thinking we know more. Or we don’t validate the comments, because we “know our intentions.”
I decided to get quiet, and let the Spirit reveal whatever needed to be revealed. Like always, it did. I immediately texted Kris the story of our morning and Jett’s comment. And, then I shared what the Spirit revealed: “There’s an underlying belief system there we have contributed to. I need to create some time with him where I do something HE wants me to do with him. Not just something I orchestrate for us to do together.”
These are not just in the big things like a child wanting to go the movies with you or go get ice-cream. It could be in the little things where they simply want us to help find something. I work hard to create time with Jett. But, I’m usually the orchestrator and the director. Sometimes. he wants to be that, too. It’s his way of saying, “This matters to me. Would you let it matter to you, too?”
The next day, I meditated on these thoughts. I gave energy to Jett’s truth, and I gave energy to addressing me. And, not Jett’s behavior.
Friends, I immediately saw and felt a difference. This is the power of spirit and energy. Last night as he was getting ready for bed, he climbed to his top bunk and said, “This is a mess. I’m going to straighten this up, so I can sleep up here tonight.”
“I will help you, bud.”
As I helped him and engaged in a task HE orchestrated, he says to me, “You’re the best mom ever.”
It was the simplest thing to engage him in. And, he felt heard. He felt valued. Because, that top bunk suddenly mattered to me because it mattered to him. And, God knows I hate trying to make up a top bunk. But, I love making Jett feel valued more than I hate making up a top bunk.
Sometimes, the smallest tweaks in our parenting make the biggest difference.
When your children make comments that sting, don’t allow your own ego to dismiss them. And, don’t see them as a parenting failure. Instead, see them as indicators that something is correcting itself. And, let it do its job and correct itself by getting quiet, listening to Spirit, and flowing in something new and better. Parenting doesn’t have to be hard. It just has to be intentional work. But, it’s the best work.