The Five Day Fix for Moms!

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Need a little biblical encouragement to help you gain a fresh perspective as you raise your kids?

Join us for a 5 Day Faith Fix as we reveal the lies and refocus our eyes!!!

Sign up below and for the next five days, you will receive by email a devotion that includes reflection questions and practical ideas to help you align your thinking with God’s word.

We pray this challenge is a blessing to you, enabling you to forge ahead and raise your children with confidence.

Also? If you know a mom that could use this encouragement as well, join us in sharing this post and using the hashtag #nomorehoodwinkedmoms

Blessings,

Ruth Schwenk & Karen Ehman

nomorehoodwinkedmoms.com

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Ruth Schwenk

Ruth Schwenk is the creator of The Better Mom, and along with her husband, the creator of For the Family. She is a pastor’s wife, mom of four energetic kids, a lover of coffee, and dreamer of big dreams. She loves leading, speaking, and blogging. Ruth is the co-author of Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need to Knock It Off and two forthcoming books with Zondervan. A graduate of The Moody Bible Institute, Ruth and her husband have been in full-time local church ministry for over fifteen years.

Moms: You're Angry Because You Don't Have A Plan

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Do you have a plan? As moms we have to be flexible and ready for anything, but often times, lack of focus or strategy can leave us overwhelmed, anxious, and even angry. Here's how to plan well, and from the heart.

My anger as a mother is something I am deeply ashamed of. I'm objective enough to know that I am a good mother to these children. 

But sometimes - where does it come from? - from within me erupt these raging, explosive, barking words. I know the second the words leave my mouth that I'm sorry. That - no matter how just my cause - I have lost my temper. Again.

The scary thing to me is how uncontrollable it feels. Like an addict, I keep returning to behaviors I hate, before I even realize what's happened. For this reason, my anger is something that draws me to my knees. I know that I know that I know that I need the Lord, and that without Him intervening in my heart and mind, I am capable of truly shameful and destructive behavior.

But there’s more. I feel like God, along with His spirit, grants us his wisdom. 

I understand things today about my anger that I didn't seven years ago, before I became a mother.

One thing I have realized is that when I have unjust, destructive anger at my children, I am nearly always also angry at something else.

Of course there are the normal life stresses and worries that take a toll on my emotional strength, but it's not just that.

Usually, I am angry at myself, because I really have no clue how to deal with the discipline problems I am facing.

When my children are bouncing off the walls (again), not obeying my commands to stop, and at each other’s throats (again), the anger that wells up, if could talk, would say something like this:

“I am so frustrated, and I have no clue how to handle this. I feel confused, and discouraged. I have no plan for how to deal with these behaviors, and I’m scared they're just going to get worse.”

Without a plan, buildings fall, and mothers get angry.

I know this is true, because the times when I come into the day armed with a plan for shepherding my children’s hearts, I am calm, I am measured, and I am infinitely more patient.

Of course this is not a foolproof guarantee for no yelling if I discover that someone has written their name in Sharpee on my cabinets, but it is a drastic improvement.

Dear Mom who needs a discipline plan, I have some tips.

First, arm yourself with wise, practical counselors. Find an older friend with grown children. And read anything from Dr. James Dobson you can get your hands on.

Second, reconcile in your head that your children actually WANT you to discipline them (in the right way), and that YOU ARE THE BOSS. (Read this if you need some confidence.) Do not fear discipline, but march confidently right into it. They need this, and you've got this.

Third, narrow in a very select few behaviors to work on. The three I always go back to are obeying Mom and Dad, showing respect to Mom and Dad, and treating others kindly. Then for a while you hammer down on these specific ones, and ignore as much of the other behaviors as you can.

Finally, develop very specific consequences. When I am angry, I scream because I don't know what else to do. But the times that I have in my head the very specific consequences that my children will have, I can calmly address then during misbehaviors. In this recent parenting post, I talk about the steps we take when we're disciplining. It's helpful to remind yourself what your goal is, and the very specific steps you will take to get there!

So, what do you think? Does having a discipline plan seem to help you with your anger?

Jessica

"Smartter" Each Day

 

Jessica Smartt

Jessica Smartt used to be a librarian and an English teacher, but now she works much harder just being a mom. You can find her blogging at “Smartter” Each Day where she pokes fun at the everyday challenges of motherhood, shares all her delicious allergy-free recipes, and rejoices that God loves her no matter what phobia she’s recently developed. She is blessed to the moon and back with two energetic little boys and a husband who actually never worries.

7 Tools for Calming Angry Kids

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So your child is angry? Do you have any idea why? Understanding four basic principles that often lie at the root of anger in our children can help us to address their needs and help them heal and grow. Here are our tips to do just that.

In the past three years John and I have adopted seven children from foster care, which means we've had to deal with a lot of angry kids. 

Anger displays itself in many ways. I've had children yelling, screaming, kicking, fighting, and throwing things. I've seen looks of pure hatred directed at me. (I know the meaning of “if looks can kill”!) 

I've been told things like, “You're not my mom!” “I'm going to call my caseworker!” and “I want to leave!” Anger has been directed at me, my husband, and our other kids. 

I've learned that anger stinks, and anger doesn't make anyone feel good—even the angry kids. I've also learned that if kids are allowed to make anger a habit, it perpetuates an environment that is unhealthy for all involved.

Here are four things I've learned about anger, and seven ways to combat it:

1. Kids get angry outwardly because they feel out of control inwardly. Venting anger—or raging—may feel good for a short time, but deep inside a child often feels bad about his words and action. To feel better about himself, a child may justify his anger, believing he had no choice but to be angry. Soon he may believe that's who he is: an angry person.

2. Children who get angry do so because they are missing basic skills. “Coping skills” should be learned and developed from a young age, but sometimes they aren't. For a typical 2-year-old, when a toy is taken and anger arises, there is a parent nearby who teaches things like sharing, taking turns, and how to settle down. Children a little older are taught to put themselves in another person's shoes. If a child doesn't learn these skills, they instead respond in anger.

3. Kids who get angry often blame others for their problems. (And sometimes—such as in the case of kids being in foster care—there are many people to point a finger at.) These children have a hard time seeing they have problems, too. They don't take responsibility for their actions, which means they're quick to repeat them.

4. Internal anger is just as damaging as external anger. Instead of exploding, some kids just hold everything inside. Bottled up, this anger it eats away at them, giving them a darkened view of everything, not just the one thing they were originally angry at.

How I've learned to deal with angry kids:

1. Spend one-on-one, quality time together. As we've heard it said before, “Prevention is better than a cure.” Kids are often quick to get angry because it gets our attention. To kids, even negative attention is better than no attention at all. When dealing with angry kids, our therapist has instructed me to spend 5-15 minutes A DAY of uninterrupted time with the child. This includes playing what the child wants, focusing on his words (and repeating them back), and praising the child for positive behaviors. Not only does this give the child much-needed attention, but it also builds the relationship between parent and child in positive ways.

2. Understand that a moment of anger is only a moment of anger. A moment is not a lifetime sentence, even though our mind is quick to take us there. “We continually need to stay in touch with our fears of the future in order to stay fully in the present with our children—in a place of love,” says Heather Forbes, author of Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control. “When we start creating fearful stories of our children as dangerous teenagers or adult criminals, we put our children in an unfair and unsafe spotlight.” Instead of allowing myself to allow a moment of anger to fill me with fears for the future, I've learned to see it for what it is: one out-of-control moment.

3. Do not escalate with your child. The best way to deal with an angry kid is to stay calm—no matter how hard it is. When you get angry, your child becomes a victim to your anger and is then able to justify her own anger. When you escalate, your child often goes “up” in anger to exceed yours, and soon no one is in control. Sometimes parental anger is learned from our growing-up years (which was my case), and we have to learn our own coping skills to deal with it. Other times we just want to win the fight. (Who doesn't want to win?) But parents win when they stay calm. Not only does this allow the child to calm more quickly, but parents can also maintain control.

4. Ignore anger. As hard as is, sometimes the best way to help a child to overcome anger is simply to ignore it. Anger can become an unhealthy cycle. A child gets angry and lashes out. They run into their room, slam the door, and say all types of unhealthy things. (Or for those who hold it in, they think all types of unhealthy things.) Often parents are quick to try to “fix” the problem. We go to the child and either try to discipline the child or calm him, but in doing so we give the child a lot of attention. Kids like this attention! Better is to give no attention to the anger but A LOT of attention to a well-behaved child. As soon as the anger is done and the child makes one good choice, pour on a lot of praise. What gets notices is what gets repeated.

5. Don't lecture, discipline, or try to fix things in an angry moment. When a child is angry he is unable to think rationally. Emotional arousal makes it impossible to listen to what the other person is saying. A parent's words are literally “going in one ear and out the other.” If you have advice or want to create a “teaching moment,” save it. Your words will not be heard. Save the consequences for when your child calms down and don't believe that your “fixes” will help anything. The best thing to say is, “I love you. I know you're angry, and I'll be here for you. We will talk about this when you calm down.” This will help both you and your child.

6. Realize that sometimes anger is about minor things, rather than big ones. Sometimes my kids are angry because they are hungry or tired. Sometimes they're disappointed in something completely different, and it comes out the wrong way. Giving a child a snack or giving him time to rest and think is sometimes the best fix.

7. Prayer works. Tools to help calm kids is important, but prayer should top your list. When dealing with angry kids I've sent urgent text messages to friends, asking them to pray. I've also plopped down right in the middle of a room and started praying quietly to myself. While there are many ways to deal with emotional or physical problems, prayer battles the spiritual ones. Prayer pleads with Jesus to join us, help us, and calm us. Prayer works—I've seen it work with both me and my child!

All these methods have helped our family, and I'm happy to say that the anger we see these days is much less intense and much more spread out. There is no chance of eliminating anger completely from any home, but these tools will help ensure this unwelcome friend visits less often and stays a lot less time when he does!

Blessings,
Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of ten, grandmother of two, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has published fifty books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. To connect with Tricia go to TriciaGoyer.com or www.Facebook.com/AuthorTriciaGoyer.

3 Factors that Kindle (or Calm) Anger

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This morning our six year old made herself some toast, buttered it, cut it into tiny squares with kitchen scissors, dolloped it with maple syrup and then poured herself a large glass of milk... that she accidentally knocked into the corner of the table as she carried it over and everything proceeded to splatter onto the floor in a sticky, soggy mess.

Now, often, this would have been an internal battle for me not to get angry.  My first response is not always one of calm and reassurance when a mess is created...

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