This morning during my quiet time, I was heavily burdened for two of the little people in my family who are having anger issues. They both just started school, so maybe that’s it, but the anger they are having involves their striking out at others, and I hurt for them and their parents.

I would love to give some perfect advice here, but I am/was not a perfect parent. You can, um…ask my kids. As I remember it, when the children were small, I did quite a bit of falling on my face before the Lord, asking what I should do. Doesn’t sound like that much has changed. And since I had my own experience with a meltdown recently, one which involved a busy parking lot and an almost-five-year old who was sure he could outrun me, I can still appreciate the seriousness of the issue.

I found this article, which I think offers some pretty good tips. What I particularly like about it is that it mentions ignoring bad behavior. Working in education, I would have to say that this is effective but really hard to do. It also mentions following through on consequences and focusing on what’s right with your child. Again, sometimes those are easier in theory than in practice. I guess if I had to concentrate on one of those ideas, I would say that focusing on what was right got me through.

Years ago, my older sister was in a food coop, and she invited me to help them pack. My son was very small at the time, so I was surprised when a six-foot-plus teen entered the kitchen where we were working and went, before doing anything else, to give his mom a hug.

When the teen left the room, I told his mom that I had assumed teenage boys didn’t give hugs. I mean, that’s what I had heard. This is how she answered: “I just figure that if he doesn’t get his hugs from me and his dad, he will go elsewhere to get them. Elsewhere might not be the best for him, so I am going to make sure I’m doing my part.”

She smiled. “Some days it is pretty hard to find a reason to hug him. Some days I’ve been down to complimenting him on brushing his teeth, even at this age!”

That got me thinking, long and hard. It is so easy to focus on the negative in our children, and, let’s face it–it’s there. Look who their parents are. But it’s much better to focus on the positive, and the results are infinitely better, too. At least eventually. And like I said, I wasn’t perfect at it. Nobody is.

In the case of the little people in my family, there is not much I can do besides pray. And I am. I am praying for the Lord to teach them how to handle their frustrations. I am praying for the Lord to keep them close. And I am praying for their parents, too.

I Corinthians 13:5 says love keeps no record of wrongs. Verse 7 says it “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” It is the perseverance that I pray for the parents the most.

I know the love is there.


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September 2007
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