Frayed Nerves? Give Yourself a Time-Out
No doubt about it–as the Safer at Home order is extended and one rainy day follows another, tensions mount, and family relationships are strained. This week, 5th-6th Grade Coordinator Megan Hendricks, explains the necessity of quieting ourselves before getting to the heart of our kids’ behavior issues.
A few months ago, I came across a Facebook post that stated “An escalated adult cannot deescalate an escalated child.” I considered it, agreed, and moved on. God has brought this statement to mind many times in the past six weeks. He has been working in me for 15 years to bring the truth of this into our home.
Our job as parents is to ‘train up our children in the way they may go” (Proverbs 22:6). How we train them can look very different depending on our mindset and attitude. Kids’ undesirable behaviors can come from an unmet need or an anxiety, a fear or a strong desire. In the long term, addressing those issues takes time, patience and presence. When I am stressed, I am more interested in stopping the behavior, not in getting to the heart of the situation. I get entangled in my own sin nature and make the situation worse. The times I am ‘escalated’ are not my best parenting moments.
We deal more calmly with our kids when our own anger and frustration is not rising. If we take our own ‘time out’ before reacting, we model how to defuse a situation for kids who have not yet developed these skills.
It may look like . . .
. . . leaving the room
. . . going for a walk
. . . calling a friend
. . . focused breathing
But the best way to de-escalate ourselves is to be dependent on God, praying that the Holy Spirit will guide our conversation. God will provide the wisdom and insight we need as we correct and train young hearts and minds, but only if we ask Him.
Jesus was intimately connected with the Father. When Jesus spoke with people, He saw beyond the surface to their unmet need. Before Jesus healed the paralyzed man (Mark 2:1-12), He forgave his sins. When Jesus encountered the woman at the well (John 4:4-26), he spoke of the Living Water that went beyond her daily material needs. As we parent our kids, Jesus is our best example of seeing the deeper issues. May the Holy Spirit give us the clarity and peace needed to see our kids’ needs and deal with the whys of their behavior.
Living Forever FaithMarker
Families of Kids going into K4 this Fall: “Living Forever”, our FaithMarker scheduled for May 2 will be postponed until Saturday, May 9th, and will be conducted via Zoom! Look for an invite in the mail, containing a special craft to do ahead of time. In our meeting, we’ll have a “show and share” time with these crafts, a story time, and a scavenger hunt! A Zoom invite will be sent directly to these families. For more information, please contact Dawn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Care Packages for Refugee Families
Are you looking for a way to involve your kids in serving others during this time of the Covid-19 Outbreak? Consider putting together a care package, with handwritten notes or drawings, for a refugee family on the South side. For more information, contact Laura at email@example.com.
Just for Fun
The Covid-19 pandemic will be a life-defining event for our kids. It might help them to know that what they’re experiencing is unique, but also defined by boundaries; it is an era that will pass. Time capsules are a great way for kids to view this era from a “bigger picture” perspective.
For the time capsule, you can use a plastic tub or a box that your kids decorate. Fill it with a few of the following items:
- Symbols of the pandemic: an empty hand sanitizer bottles, a toilet paper roll, or an extra facial mask
- Photos of sidewalk and window art
- A current newspaper or screenshot of the day’s headlines
- A list of movies watched, games played, or a map of walks taken
- A list of “stats”—the kids’ ages, heights, favorite colors, activities, songs
Finally, include a letter that your kids write (or dictate) to their future selves, describing what a typical day is like now, during quarantine.
Time capsules can help kids learn that their story, and the stories of how God has moved during this time, are well worth remembering and sharing. “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Deuteronomy 4:9).