How to Support Your Child When They Have a Bad Day

Children cannot handle conflict in the same ways that adults can.  They need guidance and much encouragement to baby step through a hard day. ~Christin Slade

It seems whenever I have a really difficult day, I don’t have a hard time making it known. True, I pray for help and strength to get through whatever the obstacle might be. But the last thing I need is for someone to snap at me or push me through the day without the encouragement of some sort.

Typically what we expect from loved ones is encouragement and patience through a hard day, rather than the opposite.

But, do we do this for our children when they have difficult days? Or do we dismiss their feelings of struggle and generally expect them to handle such situations as an adult would (or should)? I will be the first to admit, the Holy Spirit smacked me in the head with this one.

This is exactly what I was expecting of my [then] 7-year old daughter, and I then wondered why I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. When she has a hard day, even for seemingly unknown reasons (even to her), I just tend to push her through it with little or no encouragement. I automatically expect her to “deal with it” or “get passed it” with little help or guidance. Looking back now it’s really quite absurd that I handled it that way!

Children cannot handle conflict in the same ways that adults can.

They need guidance and much encouragement to baby step through a hard day. That’s where we come in. We need to come alongside our children and assure them we are there for them and make it known they can count on us to guide them.

Before applying these suggestions, be sure your child isn’t having a discipline issue that needs attention. Sometimes our children go through a season of testing us to see if the rules still apply. It’s our job to make that season a short one!

Here are some constructive responses to help our children through difficult days:

1. Take a time-out to pray and explore God’s Word together

There is no better way to spend time then searching the Word for help and encouragement as well as praying for guidance and perseverance with our children. On those hard days, they may need that extra dose to carry them through. This points them to their number one Source of comfort, help, and encouragement. Seek to help them with their problem here.

2. Take time later to pray and explore God’s Word alone

This will give you an opportunity to seek God for help, wisdom, and direction in what might be the problem. God says He will give wisdom, without reservation, to all who ask. (James 1:5)

3. Reevaluate the schedule

If you recognize this type of occurrence becoming frequent, you may need to make changes to the daily schedule, such as an earlier bed time. Perhaps something needs to be removed from the schedule or a subject may need to be moved to earlier or later in the day. Still, maybe a subject is given more time then the child can handle. Observe your child and look for clues.

4. Reevaluate the method

Is the method of homeschooling I’m using really working for my child? Or do I use it simply because it’s what I like? This can be a tough one. This may require some serious observations and notes in order to capture the best way our child learns so we can better speak their language.

These are only a few suggestions to what may help some recurring bad attitudes or bad days. I can speak for myself and say that I have been guilty of not doing anything to help my child during a hard day or through a bad attitude. Our children’s “bad days” can be seen as an opportunity to teach them how to cope with stress and handle situations that are less than ideal in their eyes. These are skills they will need as adults and should be treated as important as (if not more than) academics.

I know I need to keep in mind that bad attitudes and bad days are going to happen…even when we do “all the right things.”

The important thing to remember is to guide my children to the Cross. I can use this as an opportunity to show them God’s grace and help them problem solve. After all, even I haven’t perfected how to avoid bad days and bad attitudes!

For His Glory,

Christin

Children Need Encouragment

As a mother, my default is to chastise. As an adult, I see the world differently than my children do. I have many more life experiences than my children do. Rather than lead them by encouraging them and walking with them, I am quick to tell them how they are doing it all wrong. I know, great mothering tactics, right?

Sunday night I was at my church's monthly worship night called "Encounter". My 8-year old was dancing around the sanctuary in worship {she loves ballet, and is pretty good at it}. At one point, she knelt before the alter with her hands raised to heaven, and I began weeping; sobbing, even. Because even through all my mothering failures, God is still faithful.

It was at this time that God spoke to me about changing my mothering "tactics" by becoming an encourager. Here is the irony of it my friends: my spiritual gift is encouragement. So, tell me why my own children have become an exception to having this gift offered to them? Why are they deprived of such a grace-gift?

Not only am I to encourage them, but I am not to wait for the opportunity to come knocking--I need to go seeking those opportunities out. Create them myself. Who can thrive on constant correction? With little words of affirmation?

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. -Hebrews 3:13

The days are evil, friends. We need to make the most of every opportunity. Children will struggle with sin just as much [maybe more?] than adults. They need our encouragement. They need to know who's "got their back". They need to know we still love them, even when they fail.

When we focus on implementing a positive behavior, it automatically pushes the negative behavior out. So as I encourage my children, I will also encourage them to encourage others. This will help push out negative talk and negative attitudes.

It's the building up of the body of Christ; and it begins in our own homes. :)

Question: How can you encourage your children?

New to Joyful Mothering? If you enjoyed today's post, consider subscribing? By Email?

Refocusing My Energy From Keeping House to Keeping Hearts

I've been thinking lately and I realize something. While keeping house is important, I put way more focus and energy into it than I should. Don't take that wrong. It is very important we keep our homes running smoothly. But I have put more focus on doing that than I have nurturing my children. All my "good" energy has been focused on the wrong thing; on things that are seen. the heavens 4 by marsha, on Pix-O-Sphere

Just as a profession outside the home has priorities of work/tasks, so it is inside the home as a mother and homemaker. Mother comes first [after child of God and wife]. Mother comes before cleaning. The duties of cleaning never end. I mean never. You work hard and long at scrubbing and wiping and folding and dusting. The next day it comes back again. Cleaning can be very discouraging work, indeed.

But children? Our efforts to keep their hearts and wipe their tears, and dust their knees....it builds upon itself. It builds relationship.  To hold our anger and push aside (not bury) our negative emotions for the sake of training our children; to lead by example, that is what is lasting. That is where I want to put the majority of my energy.  Not in perfecting the appearance of my house, but in building the love of Christ in my children.

Automatically I default to wanting to do those things which others [including myself] can tangibly see---right now.

There are days when my 2-year old follows me around, raising her hands for me to pick her up. She just wants to snuggle and be near, and I shoo her off with the excuse that I'm busy and there is work to be done. And then I feel a check in my spirit. No amount of work can be more important than filling up the [love] tank of my needy child. Her needs go far beyond the physical. She needs me to be present. All my children do.

If you notice why I do not write on this blog everyday, [even though there are days I want to], this is why. My children need me and they get precedence over my blog. It is often a challenge to put up a quality post. Most of the time? I write a post a paragraph at a time, rather than sitting down and producing the whole thing at once.

I share things like this with you to give you a glimpse into my not-so-perfect life. :) My heart desires many things, but I am in a battle for all of it. Sometimes blogging serves more as a distraction than a ministry, so I must be very careful. I cannot have a ministry without first having my home (God, husband, children, homeschooling, and cleaning) in order.

No, I am not quitting blogging. I am merely giving you a peek inside my heart, at some of my struggles and real life experiences. Everyday I wake up and everyday I battle to do what's right; what's lasting. Mothering and homemaking do not come without a battle.

The question is, are we fighting for it?

Linked with:

Raising Homemakers

3 Steps for Making Goals

Today I just want to share with you a few quick steps to help you create goals which will be effective for your life. You've heard the phrase less is more. You don't know just how true those words are!!

When we are putting our attention on too much at one time, little gets accomplished. We spread ourselves too thin to be able to work at anything effectively. We believe that everything needs to change right now, and we try to make that happen. But in the end what we end up with is a lot of frustration and feelings of failure because we didn't accomplish anything.

Here's a good example:

My goals for the coming year involve several areas of my life, including spiritual, marriage, mothering, home keeping, and blogging. Under each of these areas, I have listed several goals. If I begin the year trying to tackle all of them at once, I am going to find myself in a frenzy and getting nothing accomplished.

Let's talk about that map again. If you stick to focusing on one or two areas, you'll remain on the road that's aimed at your destination.

Alabama Road Trip by goose, on Pix-O-Sphere

However, if you take a multitude of different roads, --or try to tackle many goals-- they can actually lead you away (far away) from your destination.

So here are some simple steps to narrow down those most important priorities and goals:

1.  Create a mission statement.

Kat over at Inspired to Action has a wonderful, FREE e-book on how to create your own mission statement. It's called Mission Statements for Moms. This will really help with the goal making process! I have gone through this process and my mission statement is

To be lost in God, devoted to serve, and a recipient of grace & joy. To be a joyful help meet who is supportive and ambitious; to be intentional about making our home a peaceful haven. To be a joy-filled mother who graces her children in word & action; to be attentive, consistent, & diligent in teaching and training. To be a passionate writer for God, using my messy life as a testimony for His glory.

When I share my goals in a later post, you will see how they line up with this mission statement.

2. Know your priorities

Creating your mission statement should have had you list your priorities. So, once you complete step number 1, step number two will fall into place. But, for the sake of this post, I wanted to draw it out for you so you can be thinking about it. This is where your goals will stem from and how you will determine which ones are most important.

3. List up to 3 goals under each priority.

Don't go crazy listing every tiny detail of each priority that you want to accomplish. Pick up to three goals per priority. Ideally, one or two would be best. For example, listed under my spiritual walk (priority), my goals are

  • a quiet, peaceful heart
  • morning prayer & evening Bible reading

That's it. Once those goals have become habits, I can move on to making new goals, or move to a different priority in my life such as my marriage or mothering.

--

Thursday I am going to share my one word for the year 2011. The one thing that will blanket all my priorities. I encourage you to share yours as well and link up with Ann of A Holy Experience.

--

Series:

Part 1: Why Set Goals? 3 Reasons

__

Don't miss the remainder of this series on goal making. Subscribe here. :)