Last week in Broad Shoulders, I wrote about how frustrating I was finding my daughter as she is very frustrated and angry and directing most of it at me.
The feedback that I have had- while not very much, has been very helpful. A friend suggested that I speak to her when she is calm and explain to her that I am not going to tolerate the angry way that she is dealing with us, and that she can go to her room until she has calmed down. My sister reminded me to ensure that I am in a good place ie that my ‘exasperating factors’ are not in play, so I have more patience. Church is about to run a series by Chip Ingram about ‘Emotions that Hinder’ especially focusing on anger and a recent devotion on Proverbs 31 Ministries, really challenged me to be more like the father of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. Do have a read read of the devotion as, it is very interesting.
Loving Shoulders. That is the amazing example my mother, her sister and my gran have modeled to me in my life. My aunt has a son, who as a child had a dreadful temper, yet she always responded in a calm, loving way. Something that I try my utmost to do, but fail often. Someone forgot to mention just how hard this parenting thing is. When I dreamed of becoming a Mum, I never expected it to be this challenging!
So what steps am I going to take?
1: Put boundaries in place.
Having explained that taking her anger and frustrations out on people is unacceptable, that it is disrespectful. (Even if the person ‘deserved’ it.) Explain the consequences and provide her with a place where she can calm down.
2: Ensure the ‘exasperating factors’ are removed.
When I pick her up from school, ensure that I have a healthy, filling snack to boost her blood sugar levels as her mood is linked to them. Ensure she gets enough sleep at night and provide her with some down time when we get home- tv or reading or computer game. She is so much better after 30 minutes of ‘vegging out’.
3: Keep her love tank filled
Let her know that no matter how unpleasant she is around us, we love her anyway. Work out her love language, and speak it while teaching her to speak and understand the other languages too.
4: Spend time with just her.
Develop our relationship, so she feels that she can trust me, that she is loved and that when she does have a problem she can come and vent. She turned 9 this week, so I only have 4 years before she becomes a teenager, I need to improve the bond we have so she has a leaning post in her teenage years.
5: Ditto Me
I need to ensure that I do the same for me.
I need to put boundaries on my own anger and frustration, so that no matter how much she pushes my buttons, none of them cause me to explode. I need to be more like my aunt and gran.
I need to ensure that I have removed my own ‘exasperating factors’- make the routines become habits so my mornings and evenings flow better, get enough sleep, eat healthily and exercise so have loads of energy.
Keep my love tank filled- ensure I have a quiet time regularly, prayer time, regular dates with hubby etc.
Spend time with me- in other words that rare thing for mothers ‘Me Time’. Time where I am doing something for me- be it having my hair cut, doing my hobbies, watching a movie, coffee with a friend.
These five things are all doable, but they need to be encircled by the most powerful thing of all: Prayer. With prayer they will become achievable.
So please keep us in your prayers as I journey along this road with my precious daughter.