This week’s word is…TEACHER

We are our children’s greatest teachers. A mother is a powerful influencer of what our children are learning in any given moment – most especially during the years when they live at home with us. Our children notice what we say and do, they notice how we say and do it, they notice what we fail to say and do. And they take their cues CONSTANTLY from what they are learning from us. Scary, huh?!

In my coaching circles, we often talk about “parenting for life” vs. “parenting in the moment.” Below are a few examples:

Situation 1: My child is angry or upset, is yelling at me, perhaps throws something or hits a sibling. I am annoyed and react by telling him to Settle down! and send him to his room.

What I teach, or the message my child learns is: My anger is not OK. My anger gets me into trouble. Other people don’t like me when I am angry.

What I want my child to learn: When I’m angry or upset, I am encouraged to pause, breathe, and calm down. Then I can talk through what happened and how I feel with someone I trust; I can find ways to express my needs in a healthy way.

Situation 2: My child earns poor grades on her report card and is not allowed to go to the school dance. OR I motivate my child to perform well in a soccer game by promising $5 for each goal she scores.

What I teach, or the message my child learns is:  My performance (in school, athletics, etc) will either get me a reward or a punishment.

What I want my child to learn: Performing well (to the best of my ability) feels good! I get a sense of fulfillment from giving my best effort to my task, regardless of the outcome.

Situation 3: My children are fighting (again!). I give them a few minutes to see if they’ll work it out. I hear their intensity escalating, as is mine…until I yell at them to separate and go to their rooms.

What I teach, or the message my child learns is: Heated disagreements are uncomfortable, everybody gets upset, and it’s best to withdrawal.

What I want my child to learn: When I disagree or have apparently incompatible needs & goals with someone, I can express my needs calmly. I can also ask about the other person’s needs. Fight or flight are not my only options.

Now for the tricky part –

Teaching our children healthy relationship and life skills presumes that we possess these skills ourselves. And we do. And then, well, sometimes we don’t.
Not to worry. That’s why you’re here. We’re increasing our skills together each week through these exercises. Please take advantage of all the other resources available to you here as well, such as:

6-Week Virtual Coaching Circle on Self-Support
Free Downloads
Sacred Circles

EXERCISE: Teacher in Action

Here’s a filter to try on this week. Filter your reactions and responses to your child in any given situation, by asking yourself, “what is the greater lesson for me to teach here?”

  1. Be intentional about choosing a timeframe each day, that you will press pause on your first reaction (i.e.: morning routines of getting out the door for school, homework time, Sunday afternoon family time, etc).
  2. With your first reactions paused, take a breath, and pray about the life lesson opportunity being presented in the situation. What do you want your child to learn here that will serve him or her in their life? Not just in this moment, but in their LIFE.
  3. Share your observations or awareness with your child/ren. Based on their age and ability, ask questions to help them think through what they need or want and how they might express that in a clear and healthy way

As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re willing, share your comments or learnings with the community here. We are all in this together! God bless you.

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  1. Kim says:

    These insights are invaluable. I love the quote inside the picture. Wish I knew all of this while my kids were still little, but since meeting you over 10 years ago and really since we’ve reconnected over the past three years, this is the wisdom that has been transforming the way I relate with my now adult-ish children, especially my daughter who is still at home. Thank you for all you do and for who you are. The world is a better place because of you!!

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