This is a BIG one for me. If I’m the one who tells my kids when to sit, stand, eat, sleep and think for their entire life I am creating an idol out of my children. I’m also telling them they can’t be trusted to make these decisions on their own and need me. YIKES!
The day our children decide they are done being told what to do is the day we see drama raise its ugly head.
Don’t get me wrong, in many situations young children need us to tell them what to do – but there are a hundred little moments throughout the day when we could release some of our decision-making power and share with our kids.
Little things like, “Would you like to drink from the red cup or blue cup?”, “Should we hop or walk backwards?”, “Would you like for me to whisper or yell what we’re having for dinner?”
I know these phrases sound a bit goofy, but when we share the decision-making power with our kids during the “small” moments, they’re more likely to follow our lead when BIG decisions come up.
Empowering our kids to make decisions doesn’t mean we’re making them our equal. We are still the parent and the authority figure. But when our children feel empowered they realize that we might be in charge but we’re BOTH on the same team.
Drama sneaks into situations when children feel they have to fight to get some power back. Let’s give power away when we can and when the outcome will still be in our favor. I mean honestly, what’s more important – the child eating or whether he sits or stands at the table? Eating of course! We can make sure the standing doesn’t bother anyone else at the table – but by releasing our control over their physical position we put the focus back on the big picture: eating dinner together as a family.
Let’s stop focusing on showing how powerful we can be and start focusing on how we can empower our children to make good choices, to feel confident in their abilities and to learn how to work with us instead of against us.
1 Peter 5:2-4…
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—
not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be;
not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you,
but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears,
you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.