Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mom Tip: A Gentle Answer

Do you ever find yourself barking at your kids? Groaning? Sighing? Growling, even? (I never do, of course. I was just wondering if you do. Ahem...)

If you ever do find yourself getting more and more short, more and more angry, and more and more frustrated with your kids, then you know that it is a downward spiral. Your harshness stirs up their anger which results in more bad behavior which leads to intensified "Mom-Wrath". It is a bad cycle and you've got to do something drastic and intentional to break it.

Recently, God has been using a Bible verse to challenge me to think about how I communicate with my kids.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  Psalm 15:1

Whenever something makes me want to snap at one of my kids, I have a split-second decision to make: what tone will I use? Will I say it louder? Will annoyance be in my voice? Will I switch over to my authoritative "Mom-voice"? Will I nag, "How many times do I have to tell you..."?


Will I quiet my voice? Will I say it so softly it catches them off guard? Will I physically move toward them to get eye contact and then say it just loud enough for them to hear?

You may think, "Oh, that would never work with my kids." And maybe it wouldn't at first. Maybe they're so used to waiting to obey until they can see the blood vessels bulging out of your neck that the gentle approach will take some time. But if you are consistent, they will get it.

Michelle Duggar says that the quieter she gets, the more serious her kids know she is.

I can assure you of one thing, your gentle answer has the potential to rip the stronghold of anger right out of your family! You don't get to pick what type of mood your child will be in today, but you can make a choice to respond with self control. You can make a choice not to respond at all until you've mustered up some self-control. You can diffuse your child's anger by speaking gently instead of with harshness.

It makes me laugh out loud when Andy suddenly starts talking to one of our kids in hushed tones because I know he's super-annoyed but this verse just popped in his mind. I tell you what, we are a work-in-progress over here at the Wood household!

A gentle answer...picture your words being a soft caress of the forehead instead of backhand to the cheek bone. Your children will thank you! (but probably not for a long time...)

1 comment:

Renee said...

Great post Stacie!!!