Staying Off the Rollercoaster — Have you ever felt that trying to keep up with your child’s moods and behaviors is like riding on a rollercoaster? I remember the old-time rollercoaster. Slowly the car would climb to the top of the first peak. Even though it was slow, we knew the inevitable plunge was coming, that mind-numbing, scream-inducing plunge. But first there was this slow ticking as if we were being cranked slowly into place.
- When we respond out of the trauma we see, we often escalate it.
- Be curious (not furious) as to what we are seeing.
- There is usually a need driving a behavior. All behavior is communication. There is usually more to the story. Ask God to give us insight into the situation since often our children don’t even understand themselves in the moment. Sometimes the misbehavior is a time when our children are testing us, trying to see if we will be a firm anchor for them.
- God designed us to be anchors for our children. But anchors must be “set”, able to grab hold to keep a boat still against a current. In each situation, seek to be anchored in God and let the Holy Spirit be in charge. During the times when you are not with your children, take time to get anchored in the Word; anchored in your own relationship with the Lord Jesus.
- Like Jesus, we are to be WITH our children. At the start of two gospels, this characteristic of Jesus was highlighted — He is nicknamed Emmanuel, God with us, in Matthew 1:23. And we are told that He dwelt among us (John 1:14); that He came and set up His tent with us.
At times all this means is that we just sit with a child while he or she works through feelings. One speaker at the conference suggested to say, “Boy, there’s a lot going on. Let’s just breathe together while we collect ourselves.” Then just take 4-10 deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth slowly.