Tag Archives: parent support

Discipline Without Exasperation

Are you often exasperated when it comes to disciplining your child?

Or have you noticed your child seems exasperated?

Either way, discipline should have a purpose. And not to exasperate anyone! In fact, exasperation hinders positive outcomes.

Let’s back up a bit and see what it means to be exasperated.

Definition: Exasperate:
“to make someone very annoyed, usually when they can do nothing to solve a problem” [from Cambridge Dictionary, dictionary.cambridge.org]

There’s been a lot of debate on how to discipline and how not to, as well as a lot of comment on what the Bible teaches. I know there are tons of strategies and such. And I’m not going to debate or strategize here.

Underneath it all, the purpose of discipline should be to arrive at a positive outcome. And whatever strategy or method used, keep in mind that positive outcomes are hindered by exasperation on either part.

The purpose of discipline should be to arrive at a positive outcome.

In Ephesians we are taught:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Personally, I get three points from the verses above:

(1) Obeying their parents is good for kids; when (2) parents’ instructions align with God’s Word; and (3) parents avoid causing them exasperation.

So what about the exasperation of the parents?! What I know is that when I’m exasperated, it’s harder to avoid exasperating my kids in the moment.

I’ve learned a few tips that help me avoid becoming exasperated and passing that on to my kids.

Tip #1

Assess for Repetition.

Take some time to think through what’s typically going on when you feel exasperated (or both you and your kids are exasperated). Notice any recurring themes or patterns?

Tip #2

Assess for Limitations.

One sure-fire way to exasperate your children is to make demands and expectations that they do something they are incapable of. Becoming aware of their limitations helps parents and other adults have more realistic expectations, too!

It’s easy to assume children and youth are capable of adult reasoning and understanding, as well as other skills that they may have not yet developed, especially if lagging skills and abilities aren’t obvious.

I like using the form from Dr. Ross Greene – the ALSUP, or Assessment of Lagging Skills & Unsolved Problems. Even if you don’t totally go by his method this is a great resource! (Check out Dr. Greene’s Collaborative Problem Solving method, the ALSUP form as well as a usage guide at https://www.livesinthebalance.org/

Tip #3

Assess for a positive purpose.

Taking time to assess my purpose can help me avoid become reactionary, impatient, selfish, etc. When I am clear on my disciplinary purpose and that it is in keeping with a positive outcome for my child, then I am less likely to exasperate them or become exasperated, myself.

I hope these tips are valuable to you and help you avoid exasperation in your family. If you have other tips that have been useful to you, please share in the comments.

Thanks for visiting with me here at Yesterday’s Orphan.

_________________________________

Hey there,

I’m Dawn and I enjoy helping parents and advocating for orphans!

I founded Yesterday’s Orphan, an outreach to support parents and caregivers, especially moms, of adopted and foster children and also step-children.

If you liked this post and it is helpful to you you might like to join the small but growing Yesterday’s Orphan Facebook group for parents and caregivers. The group is free to join but closed — members only.

Please comment and let me know if you found value in this post and feel free to share.

How to Write Your Personal Value Statement & Why

Do you ever doubt yourself? Your value as a parent, spouse, person?

Things like stress overload, overwhelm, mental/physical disability, etc. can make a parent second-guess themselves and wonder if they are really even making a positive difference in the lives of their family members. I know for myself, I have had moments of self-doubt and feelings of failure that overshadowed the positive impact and value I bring to my family and people in my life.

If you ever have similar feelings I have an activity to help you, and an example below.

Begin by asking yourself three questions.

  1. In what ways do I benefit my family?
  2. How does my family show me they
    appreciate me?
  3. In what ways could I be an even more
    beneficial presence in my home?

Answering these questions will give you the content to write out your own value statement to read, re-read, and remind yourself of your real value in the lives of those you love. Win the battlefield of your mind. God’s Word has a lot to say about the need to take steps to manage our minds. I’ve listed a few verses below (and in the workbook):

Colossians 3:2 directs “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

And 1 Peter 1:13 gives us the long-range view – “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Free Workbook

I designed a workbook which you can print and use to create your own Personal Value Statement. It includes these three questions plus some more content and an anonymous example of what a Personal Value Statement can look like. Of course each person’s would be unique to them. You can get the printable workbook with the button below.

Do you feel stuck and hopeless, like you have no purpose in life, or that you are helpless to fulfill it? Satan would love for you to continue in self-despair, but when you focus on the truth and God’s Word, you can break free!

John 8:32 – “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

I’d love to know how you like this post and if the activity and workbook are helpful. Comment and let me know what you think!

Emotional Alarm System

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

Sometimes parents of emotionally and behaviorally challenged children can get to a breaking point where something has to give. There is a point at which you realize you are either stuffing your feelings and you are paying the price or your emotional outbursts rival those of your child. Ouch! You must be the adult. And that means taking whatever measures you need to to ensure that your emotions are not out of control. Emotions are good indicators. We need them. But they shouldn’t be driving the car.

When your GPS gives good directions it is super helpful! A great tool. But when the directions are off for some reason, we need to be aware so we can make the needed corrections or we can end up in a completely wrong location.

Internal GPS

It’s the same with our emotions. They can be great indicators. They can inform us when we may need to take a detour. They can help us choose between options. Our GPS may show us a list of restaurants in the area and a little bit about them, so we have good information from which to make a lunch choice. Similarly, our emotions can let us know something doesn’t seem right. But it’s up to our thinking brain to take that information and do something about it.

When we feel an alarm of emotion we may not need additional information. We may know exactly what to do when a certain emotion pops up. But in other situations we do need more information. For instance if our child’s frequent sleep problems are not responsive to the measures we know and have tried, we may need to investigate further. Feeling tired and frustrated at the sleepless nights may prompt us to know something’s not right and needs to be addressed right away. But feeling tired and frustrated may also hinder us from thinking clearly if we are already stretched thin and it goes on for a while.

Think Outside the Box

My youngest adopted son screamed himself to sleep after coming home and normal soothing measures did not work. Occasionally we could get him to sleep by rubbing his back with lotion. Then we learned that melatonin supplements would help him relax. He also needed a night light and to be in the bed with someone, not alone (not even in the same room in a separate bed), because as a deaf child he needed to be able to reach out and touch someone for assurance that he wasn’t alone. Oh how I wish we had gotten him to sleeping better sooner. But my box of sleep tools did not cover his particular needs at that time.

Thinking outside the box might be needed to keep our emotions from gaining control. When emotions prompt us to action or to seek out will be effective in a given situation our feelings are great sidekicks. When we stuff our feelings though, we disable their usefulness like a broken GPS system. We also disarm our thinking brain’s ability to supervise our emotions. So they can easily get out of control.

Emotional Alarm System

What if we think of our emotions as an alarm system. Different signals can alert us to different things. When there is an distress signal we know we should take quick action. We do not just ignore the situation and turn off the alarm. The alarm is not the problem. It simply alerts us to the problem or potential problem. We can turn off the noise of the alarm but we also have to assess and address the issue that caused the alarm to sound.

Turning off the alarm or ignoring it is like stuffing our emotions and feelings. And disregarding the underlying cause. Nor do we want to overreact to the alarm and fail to notice what set if off.

Free Parent Resource: A Christian’s Guide to Reclaiming Emotional Control

I’ve compiled a Guidebook that you may have for free, “A Christian’s Guide to Reclaiming Emotional Control”, jam-packed with information and ideas for steps you can take to keep your emotional brain in the passenger seat while your thinking brain does the driving. This is a free, parent-to-parent resource for parents who may have a lot of emotional upheaval and feel a bit overwhelmed. I hope it is helpful to you. If you know anyone else who can use this resource please direct them to this blogpost to get their free copy as well. Just click the link below for your free copy.