Yesterday I wrote about the importance of paying attention to our kids and being curious about them. But paying attention is not enough. We need to practice discernment about what we see in them.
So I am learning to evaluate my kids’ attitudes and responses throughout the week and trying to figure out what they need. I am asking questions like:
**Is this simply a sinful response? Is there suffering at the root of this response? What role would compassion play as I deal with it?
**Are there real physical and personality limitations at the core of this meltdown? How do I help my child deal with these limitations in a way that honors the Lord while at the same time not shame them for being human?
**Are their nervous systems overloaded by input? Have they had enough time to recharge?
**Is this a form of grief?
**Have they had enough time in the sun and fresh air recently? How much physical activity have they had?
**Have I given them long hugs? Have we laughed together?
**Have they done things recently that bring them life?
**Is there a balance between the things that sap their energy and the things that help them destress?
**Have they eaten anything recently that may be contributing to this struggle? (Some foods actually set up the brain to feel more anxiety, despondency and depression).
**What is at the heart of this outburst of anger? Is it anxiety? Grief? What is triggering it?
**Who is God relevant to this struggle? What does he promise? How does he speak into it? How can I, like God, draw near my child and speak life into him/her? (**adapted this question from a @ccef self counseling project).
Thankful for the generous promise of the Lord to give us wisdom without reproach when we face our kids’ suffering (which also becomes ours) (James 1:5).
May we parent on our knees – assured of his heart to give us the discernment we need.