By Monica Irvine, Convention Speaker for CHEA’s 35th Annual Homeschool Convention,
Parents, you are not perfect. You will not always parent perfectly. Of course the Lord knew this, yet He still believed that the very best people to raise His children were you and I.
There will be times when you will worry that you have done irrevocable damage because you overreacted, or perhaps you didn’t react strongly enough, or you simply were wrong because your information was wrong, and the list goes on.
We Love Our Children
Would you agree that the act of correcting is an act of love? I hope so. Why do we correct? Ponder that for a moment. We correct because we love our children, and we want them to learn to make good choices, so they will have peace and happiness in their lives, despite their circumstances.
Do our children feel this great love we have for them, while they’re being corrected? Is it possible? Let me answer for you…YES! It is absolutely possible and absolutely critical.
Now, I’m not suggesting that every single time you have to correct your children, they are going to say to themselves, “Boy, mom sure loves me so very much,” when you are sending them to time out. However, I want you to know that they might if you handle it the way I believe the Lord intended us to handle correction. Let me give you an example. Amazing parents raised me. They were, and are, such good people, and I knew I was so loved. However, the truth is, and they would agree, they were a little short tempered. My memory of being corrected by my parents was usually a bad memory, with images of loud scary voices, perhaps being jerked by the arm, or an angry face while being told what I was doing wrong. I’m sure some threats were going on as well.
In my parent’s defense, let me assure you, I was not abused in any way and, although I felt scared of both my mom and dad, neither one did anything that would be considered out of the realm of parenting. On the other hand, I had a grandmother with whom I spent a lot of time. Granted, her personality was generally calmer and quieter than either of my parents; she still corrected and she still expected. If I ever did misbehave at her house, which was normally arguing with my older brother or perhaps being ugly to my sister, my grandmother would do something like this.
She would take me by the hand, walk me into a bedroom, sit me down on the bed and calmly say, “Monica, you are much too kind, much too lovely and too thoughtful, to ever treat your brother/sister the way I just saw you treat them. It hurts me to see you act in a way that is opposite of who you really are. I love you too much to allow you to behave in this way. What are your thoughts about your behavior?”
Special and Wonderful
Did you hear that? Did you hear how she reminded me of how special and wonderful I was? Did you hear how she reminded me of how much she loved me? Did you hear how she knew I could behave better than that and that I was better than that? Did you hear how she allowed me to express my feelings? Who do you think I grew up wanting to please the most? Her! I wanted to prove to my Grandmother that I was the wonderful person that she made me feel like I was. I wanted to be that girl whom she believed I was. Parents, can you see why this kind of correcting is so powerful? Can you see that honoring your children, while correcting, allows them to understand why you are correcting?
When we correct in anger and do things like yell, speak in a condescending tone, or any other action that shows our anger, then we are simply releasing anger and not really correcting. How can we be correcting in order to change our children’s behavior, when we are angry? Sure, you and I can intimidate our children through our voices, heavy hand, threats of punishment, etc., and we may have some success in stopping a certain behavior or deterring other behavior. But what’s our goal here? Is our goal to have our children behave in a certain way based on fear, or would we rather our children behave in a certain way based on their love and respect for us, as well as themselves, along with their desire to please God? I’ll take the latter.
Every time we correct in a way that demeans and humiliates, in my opinion, we take a piece of our child’s heart and stomp on it. Slowly, but surely, we start to lose their respect. Once we completely lose their respect, then AMEN to our ability to parent successfully.
I once had a dad raise his hand in one of my workshops and tell me why he disagreed with me. He said, “Well, I personally believe that humiliation works wonderfully in parenting.”
I said, “With all due respect sir, may I give you a warning because I love you and your children. If you continue parenting using humiliation to correct, you will lose your children.”
Why do adults continue to believe that children operate by some different set of rules of the heart? They DON’T. They hurt and get embarrassed and feel rejected by the same sources that we do.
Just because we are a parent or adult, does not give us any license to be cruel, to yell or scream, to demean or do anything else that demoralizes a child, God’s child. If you have been doing this, STOP IT NOW! You can. It’s never too late. NEVER! God wants us to know that we can be different and parent differently when we ask him to help us. We can decide today to begin anew. We can seek forgiveness from our children, if we need to. When we learn better, we do better; shame on us if we don’t.
I hope you will come and visit my booth, the Etiquette Factory, and my workshops during the show this year. I would love for you to hear our wonderful lessons on parenting with love.
Monica Irvine, President and creator of The Etiquette Factory, LLC, is a master motivator and dedicated instructor who loves to help children and adults see the benefits and rewards of having proper etiquette, mastering professionalism, and excelling in social skills. As a Certified Etiquette Instructor and working in the hospitality industry for 27 years, Mrs. Irvine specializes in etiquette and professional instruction to help ensure the success of each individual both personally and professionally.
CHEA’s 35th Annual Homeschool Convention June 28-30, 2018 at the Pasadena Convention Center.
See Monica’s workshops and syllabus pages