My Saturday Series will have a narrow focus and intended audience.* This first series is called "Let Them". There are so many things we just big, fat don't let our kids do. I'm going to meet some of those things head-on and see what happens.
Let Them Get Angry.
"But I Don't. Want. To. Wash. My. Haaaaaaaaaannnnnndssssss!!!" Each word is punctuated with stomps down the hall, followed by the sounds of angry hand-washing. Tell me you know what angry hand-washing sounds like? Water on full blast, slamming the soap down, grabbing the towel and leaving it on a heap on the floor...**
Feeling hurt by a friend on the playground and (two hours later) using unnecessary force when unloading the dishwasher.
The oh so wonderful eye-roll and huffing to the bedroom.
And I'm not just talking about me. Ba-doom, ching!
OK, but let's be candid; most of us have lost our tempers. I've slammed cabinets in frustration. I've raised my voice when I should have taken a deep breath. I've given icy glares to those I profess to love the most. I've offered lengthy lectures over piddly things. It never resolves anything, but if I'm willing to be honest, sometimes it feels satisfying to get really angry over something. The trick is not sinning in my anger.
Why would it be any different for my kids?
We have a general rule: It's fine to be angry. It's not fine to sin in our anger, and you do not need an audience. Therefore, you can be angry in your room (or the garage or backyard*** if the room is occupied at the moment). We'll reconvene once spirits are calm.
It's a timeout without a timer. Take as long as you need to gather your senses and give your initial anger over to God. Usually within five minutes the (formerly...or mostly formerly) angry party has returned to the living room and is ready to address not only their anger, but any accompanying sinful attitudes and actions (this is where I apologize for the towel-throwing and eye-rolling). We pray together and I encourage them to ask God for help. If it's me who was in self-sanctioned timeout, I treat the situation the same: I apologize for any wrong behavior(s) and pray with my kids. No one is berated for feeling angry. Ever.
God has created us with a beautiful array of emotions. We don't need to be afraid of anger. There is a function to anger (after all, righteous anger can spur us into action). If we're too busy combating the symptoms (e.g. temper tantrums), we miss the heart issue and the opportunity to help our kids navigate their emotions in a Godly fashion.
|I'd be angry if my hair was that static-y too.|
Comparing Prices of Punching Bags,
P.S. All photos were staged. No children were angered in the making of this blog post (despite Mikayla's convincingly angry expression).
*A nice way of saying "Some of you could care less, because you're in a different stage/place in life".
**Before parenting, I had no idea hand-washing could sound angry. Oh the things we learn.
***Now is not the time to suggest they do "backyard duty". Nothing good can come from angry kids handling dog poop.