I’ve been reading a book about connecting (Amazon affiliate link – I may get money if you purchase that) with one’s child rather than yelling. Honestly, I’m a yeller. That’s not my go-to parenting move, but when I’m pushed over and over and over and over (as kinds can do), I sometimes eventually yell. Most people who meet me perceive me to be fairly mild mannered. And they’re right much of the time, but I definitely get to a point where I’ve had enough, and anger (or just grumpiness) emerges.
So I’m learning to recognize my emotions and connect in love. When Hijo pushes me to the edge (or before then) I’m trying to stop, get down on his level, make eye contact, and connect with him. One of the author’s premises is that children who feel connected to us want to obey.
Isn’t is similar with God? He pursues me in love. He gets down on my level and connects with me. At least when I’m not dense enough to ignore Him.
When I worked at a group home with abused and neglected kids, our mission was essentially to love kids in the same way God loves us. Unconditionally. With creativity. Acceptingly.
That idea challenged me then. I often wanted justice and punishment. But loving kids in that way worked. Today many of those kids (some of whom grew up with no home) consider the period of life at that group home to be their true childhood. They felt safe, accepted, and loved.
Now that I have a five year old, I struggle with those ideas. I’m back to wanting justice and punishment when Hijo disobeys. Maybe that’s purely what he needs. But always working toward connection somehow makes sense and seems to work. This doesn’t mean Hijo never receives consequences – he does. But it does mean I’m trying to think though all my interactions with him through a lense of love and connection.
I suppose time will tell how things play out. But for now my goal is to heavily pursue connecting with Hijo in love. What ways can you show love to your child when he acts out?