How to control your temper as a parent
Being a real and authentic mom means admitting my mistakes. Because if you don't learn from your mistakes, I tell myself, how can you change for the better?
We were on a seven-hour flight for the first time with all of our kids. I was cleaning up milk vomit before take off, consoling Calea, and trying to keep Ethan’s voice down with all his questions while hoping that the passengers would be ever so kind.
It’s chaotic moments like this that make me realize that the greatest challenge a mother goes through is to control her temper. Ideally, we would all want to be Mary Poppins and respond to each situation with a song, but I must admit that it doesn’t happen as often as I want to.
My emotions have been so heightened for the past two years and I honestly feel that my mistakes outweigh my victories in parenting. There was even a time when I told Jay Jay my husband that I wanted to give up. I didn’t know what to do about Ethan’s behavior, especially when he would challenge instructions because “he doesn’t want to” or by simply saying, “No, I will not do it!”
I am also guilty of comparing my kids: a two-year-old girl who loves to please and is happy to sit to learn, and a four-year-old boy who questions every instruction and is always on-the-move.
I know I said that I wanted to give up but being at ground zero—when our firstborn Catie passed away and it felt like everything was lost and we needed to rebuild—encouraged me to start all over again.
He will equip you with everything good for doing His will, and He may work in us what us pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.—Hebrews 12:21
Mistakes aren’t bad at all, but if you don't learn from your mistakes, then you'll continue to make the same mistake over and over. If you do, then you are not learning. So process the situation, learn, and start all over again.
I had to choose my battles for each day and my goal was to win that battle for the day. Having a strong-willed child isn’t a bad thing, nor should I try to change him to be a compliant one. Instead, I have learned that his temperament must be polished or its excesses will destroy him.
The first step was to accept that I couldn’t change my child. My goal was to train him, but the changing was God’s department.
Everything that is not eternal is worthless in eternity—CS LEWIS
On our recent family trip, we visited the aquarium and I was consumed with the busyness of parenting until suddenly on my right I saw a light coming through the dark water. I looked over and saw that a fish was staring at me. It wasn’t moving at all!
At that very moment, I knew God wanted me to “Be Still.” He was reminding me to be confident in Him that He who began good work will carry it on and bring it to completion.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.—Ephesians 4:29
I often say this phrase to Ethan whenever I start to feel that my blood is about to boil over. I continue to tell him, "We make mistakes, and we need to put our trust in Jesus to learn and change us. I need your help, I can’t do this alone.“
In a way telling Ethan this puts my mind into perspective about our situation. And both of us would slowly soften up.
Being a real and authentic mom means I have to admit my mistakes. I needed Ethan to trust our unchanging God rather than me.
It took me a lot of tears and staring blankly toward my husband, but it was all actually good. And I am grateful! Because of my failures and the challenges of parenting, I have made it a habit to pray, be still, and listen to the Lord and not only on my past experiences to make parenting work.
A “winning” day is when I stop feeling disappointed in myself, my circumstances, and my child. Instead I turn to focus on loving God through my actions, my speech, as well as my thoughts and feelings toward my son. When I do, I no longer just change but the change becomes an act of worship.
Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.—Mathew 22:37
I am fully supporting the wonderful campaign Baby Dove upholds to celebrate that being a real mom is one of the best legacies we can pass on to our children. Authentic parenting builds up our children to be secured in their identity in Christ.