This week was our week of "the flood" as it shall hereafter be referred to. One of my children made a bad choice and ended up flooding a bathroom which in turn flooded into the downstairs and caused about $2,000 in damage. Surprisingly enough I stayed extremely calm through the whole thing. I didn't scream and yell, I didn't spank his bum. I am thankful for prayer because I said a prayer that I could respond appropriately. Later after the situation had calmed down, my husband and I did hand out various consequences that we felt were appropriate for him. The specific consequences need not be discussed, let's just say that he will be doing extra jobs for a while.
What was interesting to me is when I told people about it their reactions ranged from "Oh that boy should be glad he doesn't live in my house." to "I would have come unglued." to "How did you not beat his bum?"
Let me just say that in every situation all of us will respond differently. All children are different and respond differently. This blog post is not to laud my parenting choice in this situation, heaven knows it was a shining moment in many non shining moments in my 13 years of parenting, although I am certain some think I wasn't hard enough on him or harsh enough with the punishment. This post is also not intended to judge others choices as far as parenting goes.
All parents and children are unique. Individual circumstances vary and personalities are too numerous to count. You have to find what works for YOUR individual child and for your personality. I know this particular child better than anyone and I know that screaming and yelling at him would only make things worse and would breed resentment and more bad choices.
I truly believe that parenting is a huge refining process. It definitely shows us our greatest weaknesses. If we let it, it can make us into better people. It can help us become more like our Father in Heaven by having unconditional love and showing kindness even when we feel our child doesn't deserve it.
Recently, I have recently made a conscious decision that when it comes to situations with my children (this child in particular) that I do not want to react. Reacting to a situation is most often a knee jerk reaction to the situation. The definition of reaction is this:"Respond with hostility, opposition, or a contrary course of action."
This talk by Thomas S Monson is amazing, it talks about the right, responsibility and results of our actions.. It is our choice. I want to be able to act and not feel acted upon. For my children screaming and yelling and spanking don't produce desirable behavior. In fact I feel a bit out of control when I am reacting like that. I want to be in control. I don't want my children's behavior to dictate how I act. I want to choose for myself.I want to teach my children how to respond to a less than ideal situation.
I am so imperfect. My first reaction most times is to punish and scream and yell and sometimes that still comes out. But for me personally I want to do better. Yes I am raising 5 of God's most amazing spirits, but they are helping me become better and are teaching me far more about myself than I am certain I am teaching them.