Updated: Dec 23, 2019
This blog post coincides with this podcast episode. T.I.M.E., not Time-Out. Dealing with the HEART of Your Child. Lying (pt 2), Podcast Episode 12. Practically Speaking MOM: Intentional Mom, Strong Family.
Intentional MomFriend, I know how you’re feeling. It’s a mix of frustration, desperation, and disappointment that you are still dealing with this character issue in your child even though you feel like you’ve dealt with it a hundred times!
With heart issues in our kids, there's something you need to know- there aren't any quick fixes. Hearts require some significant time out of your day and that's pretty hard for us moms because it’s one of the many things that is in short supply. To slow down, stop everything and take the time to deal with their character seems like too much, but mom, it is worth it! Oh, my goodness, it is so worth it!
BEFORE GROWTH & BONDING (seriously, this can even be bonding)
No Room for Emotions: Even though you may feel you are ready to boil over, hold your emotions back or they will be distracted by the emotions. Or worse, your emotions may cause a wall to go up between you and your child so that their heart is less open to the lesson at hand.
MOVE for maximum attention: Moving to a different room than where the offense occurred is my child’s first indication that this is a very serious issue to me. I take them to someplace that is quiet, with little distraction. If you're in public, that might mean going to go sit in the car. Their bedroom is not usually a good option because there’s all these toys to distract them from heart change.
Sort of like Time-out Together. Tell them you’re going to be quiet for a few minutes while you pray and ask God for wisdom to handle this correctly. Tell them they also need to be praying for God to help them know what was going on in their heart and mind when they did that action and that you’ll be asking them about that in a few minutes. Seeing me pray before I respond is my child’s second indication that this is a really big deal to me.
(Especially if they’re young and not used to sitting still, they may not actually be sitting there praying the whole time or even at all, but as you are consistent in handling these situations in this way, and as you guide them gradually in a relationship with Jesus, they’ll likely eventually learn to make prayer and reflection part of their lifestyle of growth.) (If the child is older, I will sometimes pray in a different room from them as it seems with age they will pray and reflect better alone than together.)
SOS to the Expert: Do you know who is the real expert about your child? God, who designed and created your child, is the real expert to call upon. He knows her tendencies, weaknesses, past influences, and future issues. He has full understanding of all the family dynamics, unique personalities, and private interactions within your family that affects this behavior. You definitely want to reach out to God and ask Him for guidance in what to do.
PRAY & EVALUATE. Ask God for WISDOM as you:
A) EVALUATE YOU. That’s right. Prayerfully evaluate how you have influenced this behavior up until now. What role have you played in this issue in role-modeling and valuing.
* What kind of role-model have you been regarding this issue? For example, if your child keeps lying to you, evaluate if you have lied to her or to others. Or if the issue is that he keeps pestering his siblings, have you been an antagonist to him or others?
*What level of VALUE have you placed on this issue in the past? What kind of consistent response have you given to this issue up til now? Have you been inconsistent or unclear about the standard? How you deal with a behavior sends a message to your child of how important or unimportant this behavior is. If we ignore a behavior, we are saying it is no big deal. If we’ve over-reacted in the past, we’ve sent the message that we are a hypocrite – expecting good behavior and wisdom from our child, while we haven’t displayed it in ourselves.
B. EVALUATE YOUR CHILD. Ask God to help you identify the root cause for this behavior. Read this blog post about Reaching the ROOT of the problem rather than just reacting to the surface behavior.
Here’s some possible root causes:
*Outside INFLUENCES – Bad influences regarding this behavior could be coming from peers, being bullied, other family members, tv shows, electronic games, music. Shut off the bad influences and replace with good influence such as Christian radio or one of these great resources
*Kids repeat what is rewarded. You may have been rewarding them without even realizing it. Maybe you give in to what they want so they’ll stop the bad behavior, which s incentive for them to do it again. Or maybe the reward is that they are providing entertainment for themselves by seeing the reaction of the other person. If that’s the case, then look to more scheduled activity for them or hard work or exercise or to see if the other person has done something unkind to them and they are passive-agressively reacting.
*Attention-getting: Your child may be “looking for love in all the wrong places.” As they act out, they may actually be trying to speak out that they need some positive attention – attention from either you or the sibling they may be pestering, For example. Give them attention that says I love you, I see great things about you and these are the specific qualities that I see______, and attention that says, “God made you for greater things than this behavior that I’ve been seeing in you.
*Sinful pleasure. Sometimes they simply have an ornery streak. Pray for that in them. And here’s a good book to help them understand the selfishness of their actions. Big Thoughts for Little People: ABCs to Help You Grow and Wisdom and the Millers and Hive of Busy Bees and. Who is my neighbor. (affiliate links)
Now that you and your child have spent some quiet time praying and evaluating, you’re ready for interaction with your child to reach their heart and hopefully generate some true change.