If you are a mom you have heard it: the “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!” chant. My husband thinks I have a secret power of blocking it out. He, on the other hand, hears it just fine, and it drives him crazy. Way too often we tell our children to go play, hush them, fuss at them, or push them away. We become frustrated with the constant pulling and chanting of our name. How do you think our irritation and rejection makes our children feel? Rejected, hurt, with broken heart strings.
I remember hearing one little boy about 6 years old discussing his new stepfather. The child said, “Yeah, he just pretends I am not there so that way I don’t make him mad.” That is so sad, and I am sure that child has a crushed spirit. But us mamas would never do that, right?
To not hear is to ignore. We have ignored our children’s plea to be heard. Hey, I have done it, so no judgment here. But WOW, this is a wake-up call! Are we not supposed to train them to have patience and say “excuse me” and be happy and thankful? We can’t just let them demand to be heard at any and all times. So where is the balance?
CHILDREN NEED support just like we adults do. They need somewhere to focus all that beautiful energy. Yesterday as I sat at the creek chatting with two ladies, we were surrounded by ten little kids under 10, most of them 4- to 6-year-old boys. The little ones kept coming over to their mom asking for food or to go home or to be played with. The “Mom, Mom, Mom” chant was heard all across the creek. Calling the boys over I told them, “I have a job for you. All you boys build me a rock house together as a team and be helpful to each other, and when we get home you will each get a treat.” They got all excited and for the next hour they all worked together to build and create a rock house. I could hear them working and talking among themselves about what a cool house they were building and all the work that they were doing together. They helped each other pick up big rocks, and when they were finished they came to get my approval. They had a purpose and a place to focus their energy. Without even realizing it, they were cultivating leadership, relationship, communication skills, and so much more.
Having a purpose or doing something that matters is as important to a child as it is to you. There are endless ways for us parents to give our children purpose. It could be as simple as a bowl and spoon with a little water in it so your 12-month-old thinks she is helping cook; she feels a part and has purpose. Or as you fold clothes, have your baby there folding with you. I remember when Janelle was around 3 months old and was sitting on the bed supported by pillows, I would talk to her about what a big helper she was. She took on that identity and today she is a beautiful 17-year-old powerhouse of a worker. She lives with purpose and is highly self-motivated. She does not waver to the left or right. When you give your child a purpose you are removing frustration and whining and crying and anger. You go from being frustrated at them to being proud of them. They feel that pride and they want to do more for you. You tie heart strings instead of breaking them, and these strings are what get both of you through the teen years!
If you find yourself dealing with angry children who seem frustrated and fight with their siblings and are often moody, ask yourself, “Do they have a purpose worth being proud of?” If you’re constantly disciplining them for their actions yet do not address the heart and the reason behind the behavior, you may feel like you’re grinding in endless circles. Address the heart and experience the joy of child training. Child training starts in the heart.