Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Confession Is Good For The Family

Eric and I have been attending a class at church called Parenting: The Early Years. Pastor Richie taught the classes, using a video series by doctors Less & Leslie Parrott. The class was not about "how to parent," rather it focused on character traits that parents should emulate to their kids. We learned so much during the four weeks that our heads are still spinning!

The greatest thing we've gleaned from the class, so far, came in the form of a "wake-up call" about how we were unjustly blaming Amber for (fill in the blank) every time her little sister cried or fussed. Yes, in the past Amber was the cause of many of her sister's discomforts. She used to pick on her. But it only lasted a short time and we had since become so accustomed to blaming Amber that it became a bad habit. A habit that--we learned from Pastor Richie--could in the long run cause Amber to resent us, and even worse--resent her little sister.

After watching one of the videos, we learned that we need to not only change our ways but also sit Amber down and apologize to her, explaining that we were wrong and that we were going to do things differently from now on. Ouch! It hurt just to think about that confession. Admitting you are wrong to a child is not easy. However, it is the right and godly thing to do. So we sat down with Amber Sunday and told her we were sorry. We told her that from now on we would not assume that she was causing Autumn grief, but instead we would ask Autumn why she was crying and assess what happened, etc., etc. Do you know what? It wasn't that hard to apologize to Amber. She was a sweetheart. She respectfully agreed with us and then forgave us.

That was Sunday. It is Wednesday evening. Eric and I have stuck to our plan. When Autumn cries or fusses, we ask her what is wrong, letting Amber off the hook she was never meant to be on in the first place. Not coincidentally, the past four days have been four of the best days I've had with my daughters in a long time. Amber has been overly helpful to me. She has played well with her sister and there has been a lot less drama in the house! I feel rested and blessed and full of joy. We have laughed more in the past few days than in a long time. Tonight in particular, as I was getting them ready for bed, we laughed so hard I almost couldn't change Autumn's diaper! I will not discredit the link between our confession and the change in atmosphere at the Hodge Lodge. Confession is good for the soul, but also good for the family!


frisky said...

Unfortunately/fortunately (which ever way you want to look at it) my kids are very used to me apologizing to them.
The kids learn from our example and I see them truly apologizing all the time on their own.

Anonymous said...

That's awesome Christine! Wish we could be there for that series. I also made that very conscious decision when we had Lila, that when Lila cries, I ask Abby if she knows why Lila is crying. Of course Abby usually confesses she took something from her sister but at times it is because Lila wanted some toy Abby was playing with or Lila just simply fell.
Right now my troubles are Lila's tantrums! Any suggestions for a 16 month old? ugh!

hestermom said...

I totally agree, often it is when our hearts are soft and humble that our little ones go in the same direction. It is hard sometimes though!!

Rebecca said...

I remember my parents doing that when I was little, and it made such a big impact on me. It's hard to do, though, when it's your turn to be the grown-up!