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Friday, September 09, 2011

Addressing Grouchiness in Our Children

How easy it can be to allow our children to get into behavior patterns destructive to themselves and to the whole family. I've observed young moms who have trained themselves to recognize it in their children because they view it as a God-given opportunity to shine the light of God's Word into their lives in order to lovingly correct them. How do you view grouchiness in your child? As in imposition on your time? As a nuisance, an annoyance? As a "stage" they're going through? Or as a blessing from God, who is graciously making you aware of their sin so that you might address it? Amy at the Raising Arrows blog has written a helpful post with practical advice called, "Grouchy Girls" (she has daughters). Her entire post may be found here.

"Some days are just like that ... But, what do we do when our daughters seem to be having “that day” repeatedly? While the world tells us grouchiness is just part of certain growing up years, I have a different perspective [as does God!] and can often be heard telling my daughters,
What you practice now, you will become later.
If insolence and complaining are practiced in your daughter’s younger years without restraint, you can guarantee she will struggle with these same things as an adult. If finding fault and unbridled tongue-lashings often occur in her days as a youth, you better believe they will occur in her days as an adult. The brunt of her grouchiness will move from her siblings to her parents to her husband to her children.  She will feel discontent and out of sorts because no one truly wants to be like this, but because she practiced such things in her youth, her adult years will be fraught with bitterness.

As mothers, we should not accept grouchy girls as the norm.  We must continually strive to teach our daughters to glorify the Lord in all things…our attitudes included. But how do we foster a sweet spirit and attitude in our young daughters?  Here are some ideas: 

*Pray for her and over her.  This is not a time for condemnation, but rather a time to speak into her life the things you know please the Lord.  Rather than pray for her to quit yelling at her siblings, pray for her to continue to learn the art of a meek and quiet spirit.  Always give her something to strive towards.

*Praise her when you see or hear good attitudes.  Yes, you might embarrass her, but she needs to know you see the good in her and not just the bad.

*Model right behavior.  Check your attitude, mama.  Do you grouch around the house more often than you smile?  Do you laugh?  Do you enjoy the girls God has given you?  Or are you grouchy too?  Sometimes a daughter’s attitude is a direct reflection of her mother’s...

*Never allow grouchy responses.  You may have to model the correct vocal inflections or have her repeat exactly what you say and how you say it or ask her to try again many, many times, but do not allow grouchy responses.  Again, she is practicing.  Don’t let her practice the wrong thing. 

*Do a character study of the Fruit of the Spirit.  Teach your daughter about patience and kindness and self-control and what those words mean... reading through [Gal.5:22-23] and simply talking about each component.

*Realize the fruit of the Spirit is the Fruit of the Spirit and you are not the Spirit.  True fruit in your daughter’s life will only come from the Holy Spirit.  You can disciple and lead and guide and direct, but ultimately, this is God’s work." 

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