My children and I are not at war
“Well, duh!” you say, “Of course not!”
Of course not?
Then why do we talk and act as if we were?
Haven’t we all said and heard these kinds of things:
“I can’t believe he did _________after I told him not to!”
(Believe it. He’s a kid and he’s busy testing the rules of the universe. It’s not personal.)
“My house was clean and then my kids woke up!”
(What did I/you expect? Children don’t think about the mess they are making, they think about what they are trying to do or pretend.)
“Don’t you realize you just made more work for Mommy? What were you thinking?”
(They weren’t thinking about you or the results of splashing in the puddles. They were thinking about splashing in the puddles!)
My children are children- they are learning about the world, gathering knowledge but they haven’t yet learned the discernment that turns knowledge into wisdom.
They haven’t yet learned the discernment?
Yup! And that’s why we need to remember to act as if we really believe we are not at war with our children. We’re supposed to be teaching them discernment to go with their knowledge as they develop into wise adults, and we can’t teach someone we treat like an enemy. We are modeling wisdom when we interact with their exploits. When we react calmly and model the reasoning that should have taken place they are learning to apply knowledge. And when we give consequences that are reasonable to the lack of discernment shown we are teaching them how to react when other people’s actions impact them. They can’t learn from our example if they feel like we are down on them.
So those conversations about them and with need to be seasoned with grace and appropriate to who they are and what wisdom they have.