3 Reasons I Say NO to My Kids

When Jacob was little he always wanted to know the plan for the day. So, I would rundown each day's schedule on our way to preschool. Unfortunately, if I didn't complete all of my tasks before I picked him up from preschool, I'd have to adjust our day's schedule and Jacob would have a meltdown.

As he got older, he stopped asking what our plans were and started putting in requests: Can I play with friends at the park? Can they spend the night? Can we go camping? When are we going to Disney World? When can I travel out of the country like you and Daddy? My kid knew what he wanted and he wasn't afraid to ask for it..which is a good thing, but it didn't feel good. I felt pressured to say yes. I needed to say no. But I ended up saying maybe because NO felt mean.

Maybe was a terrible answer because in my mind, it was my way to say no. In Jacob's mind, since maybe wasn't NO, it became YES.

 

But Mama, you said I could...

No I didn't!

Yes you did!

Why am I arguing with my 5 year old? UGH!

 

I can't tell you how long we miscommunicated until I realized I needed to be more forceful and direct with my answers. When he started asking me questions, my answer soon became, "I am not saying Yes, and I am not saying NO. I am saying maybe because I need time to make this decision. If you keep pushing me, It's a definite NO. If you give me time to think, it might be a YES."

Honestly, I have a hard time saying no to my kids because I don't want to disappoint them. I don't like disappointing people in general. I hope you have a bigger backbone than I do! But, in case you don't, here are three reasons I was able to start saying no.

 

 

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  1. It's my job to show my kids their sin.

    Our kids won’t know why they misbehave unless we teach them about sin. They need to know why they feel broken sometimes; why they feel angry or selfish, and why they sometimes fight with their brothers, sisters. We need to teach them Proverbs 22:15, ”Foolishness is bound to the heart of a youth; a rod of discipline will separate it from him.” I need to state for the record and for Child Services I never used a rod on my children. But, I do believe children need us to discipline them if they are to know how to overcome their sin nature.
  2. It's my job to train them to overcome it.

    Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start a youth out on his way; even when he grows old he will not depart from it” ‭(CSB‬‬). There will be days you feel like your kids are “departing.” There will be days you will feel like a failure. On these days, stay the course and give your kids to Jesus over and over, and over and over again. He loves them more than you do (even if that’s hard to believe). Trust that your work and the Word will bring them back into God’s presence soon.
  3. It's my job to show them how to find joy in their trials.

    James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." One of my favorite parenting books, Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Hubbard says, "If we could view all of their sinful behaviors as precious opportunities to teach them then we would be far more righteous in our training. We would be joyful and eager all the time rather than angry and frustrated." If you're like me, you want to roll your eyes right now. I get it. You're probably thinking, "Sharie. Really! Find joy in their trials?” I know. I get it. I really do, but think about it. If we are constantly aggravated by the task of training our kids, they will constantly be frustrated by our discipline.

 

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Here’s the truth. Disciplining your kids is hard work, but it is worth it! It may not feel like it now friend, but it will one day. Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your child, and it will bring you peace of mind and give you delight” (CSB). As we close, I’d love to help you move forward in your faith by praying for you this week. Please leave a comment and let me know how I can pray for you!

-Sharie

Balancing Parenting

Balancing Parenting

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Sometimes Love Looks Different

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I'm cooking dinner when Joseph walks sad-faced into the kitchen. He'd been playing basketball with his brother who is 3 years older and about a foot and a half taller. As he slumps on the stool beside our island, I'm trying to think of the best way to give him permission to open up to me. After a few seconds, I give up on being super creative or revolutionary in my parenting and simply ask, "What's wrong." And because he was frustrated and felt safe, he opened up to me.

I don't want to leave you in suspense, but I also want to respect my son's privacy, so I feel comfortable revealing that he was struggling with younger child syndrome. It's that disease kids catch when they're smaller, shorter, and simply still too young to beat their older sibling who has grown three feet in a month. Joseph was discouraged because he wanted to compete, but he didn't enjoy being dominated. I'm not sure anyone of us likes those kinds of odds. So I listened, gave him every bit of compassion I could muster, and then waited. I waited to see if he could handle a little bit of advice; was he content with me being a caretaker or could he absorb a little coaching?

His eyes seemed to want me to help him, so I said, "Hey buddy, I know you're frustrated, but you will grow one day. For now, though, you're going to have to decide if you can take being beaten to become a better player, or if you want to ask your brother to make some concessions to give you a fair chance. I'm sure he would be willing to institute some handicaps on himself, but you're going to have to be okay with knowing he is taking it a little easier on you. You're going to have to ask for what you want and be okay with the way it plays out." We talked back and forth a little more trying to decide which scenario would make him feel more comfortable, and then he went to his room for a shower.

Something happened inside me when I gave birth to my kids. I became obsessed with keeping peace among them. I wanted to make them stop yelling, stop hitting, stop picking at each other, stop throwing things at one another, stop, stop, stop. But controversy and tension among them happened every day and nothing I did or said took it away.

And then, on the radio one day, I heard this quote from Focus on the Family. "If your boys are fighting, they are bonding. Studies show that brothers who are willing to fight through things end up being closer than those who ignore and isolate themselves from one another."

My thinking paused and my breathing stopped as my furrowed eyebrows tried to digest the statement running through my mind. Brothers who fight are bonding and end up becoming closer adults? I didn't know if I believed it, but this moment caused me to make a shift in my parenting. Instead of keeping my boys from fighting, I was going to help them try to understand one another so they could fight well. I wanted to teach them how to disagree, how to express their frustrations, and when to simply learn to get over it. I realized that controlling their behavior so I could have a moment's peace wasn't doing anything but putting a cork in a pressurized bottle. Eventually it would blow. Instead, I needed to ask them if they wanted to get along, if they wanted to learn how to disagree and if they wanted to love each other well. They did, they have, and I pray they will continue to love each other well. 

I'm so proud of my kids for their effort to learn, change and grow. I believe Jesus is proud when we love each other well, too, so I want to leave you with my favorite verses on learning to love one another well:

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Romans 12:9-18 says, Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

I can't look into your eyes to see if you want any coaching this week, but if you do, I challenge you to choose a different section of this verse for each day this week and live it out. Maybe Monday you outdo someone by showing them honor. Tuesday you seek out someone who is poor and give them a meal. Wednesday you write an encouraging letter to someone you know has a grudge against you...and so on. Be creative, and I'd love to know how God uses this challenge in your life.

I pray you keep moving forward in your faith until next time!

Sharie

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Fear's Place in Leadership

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