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January 6, 2016

Loving Enough to Confront

shutterstock_311647667“It is not giving children more that spoils them; it is giving them more in order to avoid confrontation.”

(John Gray, Children Are From Heaven)

We don’t like to admit it, but let’s try: Each of us has often gone to extreme lengths to avoid confrontation with our children. Sometimes we don’t like to disappoint them. Sometimes we don’t have confidence in our own authority, or in our ability to come up with an appropriate consequence. Sometimes, it’s just plain easier in the moment.

But whenever we walk on eggshells with our children, we are treading on dangerous ground. Kids of all ages need to know that we are strong enough to confront them, and mature enough to withstand their tantrums or tirades. It paradoxically makes them feel safe if they can’t blow us over, or make us blow up.

So, when your child bumps up against you or the consequences you’ve set for her, don’t tighten up and brace for the worse. Change your perspective and see it as a chance for growth—both for you and for her. For you, it’s a chance to flex your ScreamFree muscle and stay calm and connected in the situation. For her, it’s a chance to learn about the law of sowing and reaping, and about how her parents love her so much that they are willing to confront her.

Conflict is a necessary (and wonderful) part of life, and we want to equip our children to handle it. By showing her that you’re not afraid of it, and you’re willing to approach it with quiet strength and understanding, you are giving a gift that is certain not to spoil.

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