Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Being Ready For Parenting Turbulence

On a recent flight I sat next to a new, young pilot-in-training.  He even asked to sit by the window so he could see more of what was going on outside.  I asked him a couple of flying questions and he was more than eager to tell me what he knows.  As a long-time wannabe pilot I found his discussion fascinating and it made the trip go by faster, too.

However, not too long into the flight we encountered some pretty bumpy air, more than usual. I wasn't panicky (I happen to enjoy flying) but I looked over at the young man and he was as calm as a cucumber.  He said, "I don't get worried unless my head is hitting the ceiling."  I guess that's the kind of pilot everyone wants flying their plane.

Parenting can have its bumps, too, and Jackie and I found it's a good idea to prepare as much as possible for it ahead of time. While we can't ever totally know what our kids will do, our kids need to know what we'll do!  And so do we!

This is especially true for families with both mom and dad at home to together about strategies and steps they'll take when things might hit the fan.  Are there certain things you'll at least both agree to try when a child has a meltdown?  Can you agree on actions you'll avoid at all costs?  Are you willing to leave a restaurant, someone's home or wherever if things get out of hand? What are your options?

Have you decided on your limits or what you will do when a child has simply had enough and it's not wise to push them any further?

These kinds of discussions are important so that you as parents can be on the same team and provide a helpful and united response when your kids go beyond acceptable limits.  If you're a single parent then at least do some homework about what actions and words are actually doable for you and appropriate.

Take inventory of those times at your house or with your kids that are bumpier than others. For some it's time at a restaurant while for others it's bedtime. It's helpful to arm yourself with some practical strategies that you can use when the bumpy air comes along on your journey. If you need some ideas, talk with some other parents about what they do in certain situations, read some good books or even someone's blog like this one!

And then at some point you need to act. Show your kids what you will do and won't do when things get rough. Turbulence in parenting is inevitable, but it doesn't have to cause great harm or unmanageable angst if we're prepared for it.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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