Sunday, May 4, 2008

Most Days in May?

.....Or how about Every Day in May Except Sundays ...Or
Almost Every Day in May. Nah,that might not work, because knowing me as I do, I would take that little inch and turn it into Occasional Days in May.

So even though it's practically against my religion, I'm going to consider this blog post a bonified "act of mercy" (a certified Presbyterian-OK'd use of the Sabbath) and keep my commitment to blog Every Day in May.

Yesterday, I answered the first part of the question from my friend, Mary, who has a previously-wonderful teen daughter who has started acting "disrespectful,selfish, and lazy". Mary was hoping she could blame this morph-a-festation on her semi-dd (long story) who had some character flaws that might have accidentally rubbed off on her non-semi daughter. I told Mary, in my usual loving and gentle manner, she could not get away with that kind of blame-shifting and she needed to accept the fact that our circumstances and our relationships only reveal what is already in our hearts. So somewhere deep down, Mary's daughter was already lazy, disrespectful, and selfish.
I'm sure that made Mary feel much better, dontcha know.

See yesterday's post to see how I also tried to make Mary see her own culpability (that's a big word that means "it's always somehow the mom's fault when their children do anything wrong.")

Today, I'm going to give you a few questions you can ask your children - especially, teens - that will help draw out what's in their hearts. There is usually some wrong thinking going on in there - - - some mix of the world's wisdom and their own immaturity - - - that needs correcting. These questions (and others you may think of) help get to the root of the sin (and here's the good part...)without the parent having to point out/lecture/criticize, which isn't always that effective anyway (and you can ask my four older children how I know this for a fact, Jack.)

I think these types of questions are particularly warranted in Mary's daughter's case because Mary's daughter's current behavior (don't you appreciate how I'm protecting Mary's daughter's identity even though I have to type a ton of extra letters and apostrophes in order to do it?)is new.

I got these from my good friend, Lori, and have used them with my adopted sons. My boys need help expressing their frustration with life (and with me and my dh)and with sorting through their bad attitudes. I think they appreciate the chance to share their thoughts without fear of repercussion. The questions aren't as easy to use as they first seem, but used in a non-confrontational way, with very little talking on the part of the questioner - they help reveal some heart issues.

Oh, by the way, if you've done step #1 from yesterday (and you must not have, because surely it would have taken you more than a day!) then before you ask the questions you may need to apologize to your child for anything God convicted you of, i.e., your bad example to your teen, your lack of patience, lack of properly instructing them, lack of prayer for them, lack of equipping them to deal with temptation, lack of consistent flossing...Believe me, the list will be long, fellow inperfect Moms.

The goal of your confession here is to model personal responsibility for sin, by taking responsibility for yours. Don't make excuses. Do Not Make Excuses. Make an appointment to talk to them, take a pad and pen, put some duct tape on your mouth and Ask Away.

(Let the child know you are willing to wait however long they need to answer. Some kids think their silence will make you go away.)

1.In what ways have I/we let you down? Or you might phrase it, What promises have we broken to you or in what ways has anything I've said or done let you down?

2.In what ways have I hurt you or offended you?

3.What would you change about me if you could?

4.What would you change about our home or the way we do things in our home?

Calmly write down their answers. Ask them if there’s anything else they would like to share. They will be encouraged to share as they see that you aren’t going to get upset, angry, or yell at them. As they see you calmly and patiently giving them “the floor” they will be encouraged to share more and more. You may be uprooting seeds of bitterness or resentment that might have begun to grow.

When they are done sharing with you, thank them (try to mean it...),and explain that you’ll need some time to pray over the things they’ve shared in order to seek wisdom from the Lord.

That’s it! Don’t say anything about any of what they've shared with you. If you say anything right afterwards, before you’ve had time in prayer....Your rash response may ruin any good communication you've tried to establish.

You can take the duct tape off once you are safely away from your child.

I'll tell you tomorrow, Lord willing, what to do with the answers you get.

Is May over yet?


lea said...

oh, it is so on sistah! you will be taking ME out to lunch on june 1 for sure. a blog a day in may, it isn't just a cute rhyming slogan... it is a throw down challenge!!!!

lea said...

not that i didn't post that response on sunday. it wouldn't have been an act of mercy, so i waited until monday morning...

lea said...

look three responses already today! you are ON FIRE! 52 to go and i will refer to you as baamama (wouldn't want to infringe on boomama)

Davene said...

I am really enjoying all these posts in May! I'm so glad someone challenged you to do this. :)

And I appreciate the suggestion about asking our children these questions. What do you think? Is 3 and 1/2 months old too early to start? :)

Well, maybe I'll skip asking my infant, but maybe my oldest son might have something to say in response to those!

nancy said...

Loved the questions to ask your children, along with your counsel on how to deliver them.
I plan to try this, although I must say I am feeling a bit nervous. My planks may be ready to be used in heavy construction...eek!
Thank you for your honesty and authenticity. Genuine and open communication is such a refreshing blessing from the Lord.
God bless you!