Calm Yo’ Nerves, Mama – Part 2

Hey ya’ll!

When I posted the first part of Calm Yo’ Nerves, Mama, I shared it on my personal page and the Blog Fan Page, and one thing became clear, most of us mama’s are now modeling some of the characteristics that our moms used while raising us, and some of those are good and not so good. I read several comments and received lots of feedback with moms that are also struggling with how they react when their children make them angry, and more than we are all willing to admit – the yelling, verbal threats, and voice tones – get to be way out of control. If you’ve ever automatically lashed out by saying the following or any variations of it, its time to get that initial anger management under control!

  • You’re gonna get your face slapped!
  • I will pound your face in!
  • Do it again and see what happens! *what you gone do? lol*
  • Don’t let me come in there and find out that you didn’t do what I told you to do!! You’re gonna be sorry!
  • Or maybe your initial response is more action oriented by snatching your kid up by their collar  or jacking them up against the wall with angry bulging eyes.

Most of the time we recognize when its gone too far, but as discussed in the previous post, we know that we must STOP and take a “Take 5” and then DETOUR our thoughts and respond to our children in a healthier way, thus exemplifying the type of anger management and communication we can be proud for them to model.

I USED TO THREATEN MY SON THAT HE WOULD GET HIS FACE SLAPPED

Another shameful transparency moment: I used to threaten my son that he would get his face slapped when he did things that made me angry. One day I heard him utter that same threat to his little brother, and boy was I embarrassed that he learned that from me! Although I have never slapped him in his face, threatening to do so was very hurtful to him, and one time I caught him crying after I had already mentally moved on from the situation and thought OMG! why is he crying?!

You sa-aaa-aiiid, you were gah-gah-gonna slap me!” he expressed through sobs.

I had to put my big girl pants on, drop to his level, and apologize. “Mommy is so sorry! I said that because I was angry, and I didn’t think about what I was saying. Mommy would never slap you in your face and I am going to do my best not to say that again. Please forgive me. Can I have a hug?” And we hugged it out and I embraced him and reassured him that my love for him was unchanging and that I made a mistake. Even recapping that moment for you all makes me teary. I never want to cause my children emotional pain! But the truth is we are human, we regurgitate some of the fear tactics our parents used on us, and ultimately we are flawed and imperfect people who will do and say things we regret. Just as God extends His grace to us, we have to show that same grace to not only our children, but ourselves when we know we have made mistakes. Instead of telling ourselves over and over again, “you friggin suck as a mom!”, actually take the steps to STOP and DETOUR, practice it until healthy responses to our children become second nature!

WHY DO WE GET SO MAD?!

Now that we’ve learned the steps to take control of how we respond to anger, lets discuss WHY we become angry in the first place! And thanks to the study I’m taking taught by Dr. Kevin Leman in the workbook titled, “Raising Rock-Solid Kids in a Pleasure-Driven World”, I can share it with you all!  So what do you think the reason is? On page 26 of the workbook, Dr. Leman says “the underlying message of highly angry people is ‘things oughta go my way!'” GASP! Now that I think about it, that is nothing but the truth! Think about when you first brought your baby home from the hospital, and you monitored everything your husband did with and for the baby and harped when he didn’t do it your way.

  • “No, you have to put a clean diaper underneath the dirty one so you can hurry and put it on”
  • “did you test the water temperature with a stainless steel thermometer before putting MY baby in the tub first?!”
  • “that bib doesn’t match”
  • “why are you taking so long to put the baby’s clothes on?”
  • “no you have to feed him this way, not like that. Give him here let me show you”
  • “omg, if I pull out one more dry wipe because you forgot to close the top of it I am going to lose it!”

Ha! Whew, thank God for big sisters that warned me NOT to do that with my husband because I had to rebuke myself quite a few times when I wanted to *ok, I ain’t fooling nobody, I did it too*! But basically, we drove ourselves crazy with irritation and anger that things weren’t being done how we wanted them to be done, and as a result we snap and try to take back control out of fear that if it wasn’t done OUR way, then it wasn’t done right.

“Most studies reveal the basis of anger is fear, fear of being threatened or fear of losing control. When our kids aren’t living up to our expectations, we fear what others might think of us, or we react to fear of being a failure as a parent.” (page 26)

In closing, we get angry and lose control due to the fear that things are happening out of our control. The opposite of fear is faith!

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love. Ephesians 3:16-17

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all demonstrated that we were rooted and established in God’s love in every area of our lives, even in our marital and parental relationships?  Will you join me in practicing that this week? I always admire the mom who responds to her child in that high-pitched loving tone lol. The one who says “oh no honey, lets not eat dirt ok?!” all chipper like. Let’s dig a little deeper, push ourselves and practice healthy communication for our kiddos!  Comment below some of your moments that you may not be so proud of and the steps you took to do better. Let’s be on the journey to be better together! Until next time <3

Is This Abuse?

It was a chilly night. I got into my husband’s Buick and uttered a sigh of frustration when I saw the gas light on and the meter hanging below “E”. I prayed that the car wouldn’t stop as I made my way to the gas station. When I arrived, I walked in, put $20 on pump #6, and was alarmed to hear a woman towards the back of the store yelling at small children in an abrasive manner. I watched her scoot 3 little boys, one who had tears streaming down his face, ranging from around 3 to 6 years of age, out the door and towards her car, as she continued to yell “OOOOH ya’ll get on my NERVES!” with the “nerves” being emphasized in a high-pitched rolling tone. She went ahead and pumped her gas, and then she yanked open the back passenger door to allow one of the little boys out.

“If you want something you betta go and get it now! Hurry UUUUP! Go! Get OUT!” she continued to harp. The little boy looked to be around 4 years old, he slowly got out of the car, and as he walked he dried his tears with the back of his hand.

“And you betta hurry up and I mean it!” The woman, who at this point I assumed to be the grandmother, had absolutely no modesty in how she publicly disciplined those boys. Obvious from her volume, angry and annoyed facial expressions, and the continuation of emotional outbursts, she had no shame in her game. And just when I thought I had heard enough, she turned her head to watch the little boy enter the gas station, and called after him, “CRY BABY!”

I was sadly shocked, and thought to myself, no wonder these little boys are growing into men who have forced themselves to be emotionally desensitized with little to no capability of showing genuine vulnerability, leaving their wives and significant others crying into their pillows at night wondering why their husbands can’t talk to them, can’t demonstrate loving affection without being “soft”, and thus feeling utterly alone in what should be a blissful companionship. I had to ask myself, did I just really witness a 50+ woman patronizing little kids?

The truth is, a ton of adults and a ton of children have been and are being raised by verbally, emotionally, and/or physically abusive parents. And although some of those parents aren’t intentionally abusive, they perform acts of discipline that they themselves were directly taught by their own parents, who were in turn taught by their parents, leaving many of those affected believing its no big deal and legitimate ways to raise mindful, respectful children who essentially fears them. When does this cycle end?

Do you recall NFL star Adrian Peterson’s arrest in the fall of 2014 for whipping his then 4-year-old son with a tree branch? He had no personal convictions of that method of “disciplining” his son with a tree branch because he endured the same forms of correction from his parents. Gregory McNeal, a contributor to Forbes.com, covered this story here and quoted Peterson’s lawyer as saying:

Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in East Texas.

Former NBA All Star player Charles Barkley currently stands as an analyst on TNT’s Inside the NBA and had this to say about Peterson’s alleged abuse:
 I’m from the South. I understand Boomer’s (Esiason) rage and anger … but he’s a white guy and I’m a black guy. I don’t know where he’s from, I’m from the South. Whipping — we do that all the time. Every black parent in the south is going to be in jail under those circumstances…I think the question about whether Adrian Peterson went overboard … Listen, Jim, we all grow up in different environments. Every black parent in my neighborhood in the South would be in trouble or in jail under those circumstances. 
And here is police evidence according to TMZ.com showing the scars on Peterson’s 4 year old son left by his whipping.
Source: TMZ.com
Source: TMZ.com

Regardless of Peterson’s intention, regardless of how much he loves his son, he crossed the line and was physically abusive!

On the other hand, abuse does not always leave physical scars. Over the past week, I’ve seen a clip from The Dr Phil Show that originally aired over 4 years ago,  going viral on my Facebook timeline with friends and friends of friends debating on whether or not the measures of discipline this mom uses in the video below are abusive. Warning: this video may be hard to watch.

 

If you actually made it through all of the video, I did not, what do you believe? Is this abusive? Is this good old “tough love” discipline? Do you believe her methods are ok but just went a little too far? If you believe this is not abuse, Jessica Beagley, a 36 year old Alaskan mother of six, was actually convicted of child abuse by a jury of 3 men and 3 women.

Facebook comments in support of this mom’s tactics:

Betty S.: Not Abuse. My mom would [have beat] my tail and explained later.. That’s what’s wrong now days. Everybody think everything abuse..

Trey L. : Too many people worry too much about how people raise their own children. Great job MOM. There are too many kids in this world now a days that have NO RESPECT for their parents. Parents now a days are such push overs for fear of getting “In Trouble” for trying to correct their kids. If you do something wrong then you should face the consequences. There is no physical harm to this kid. The only thing hurt was his pride and that’s exactly what it was meant to hurt. Worry about raising your own children into push overs while the real parents out there teach their kids respect.

These comments are highlighted above because they represent adults who seem to believe that discipline and punishment mean the same thing, that if you don’t agree with harsh correction then you are raising “soft” and disrespectful children, and that the methods used by Beagley represent strong parenting.

JUST BECAUSE YOUR PARENTS DID IT DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT….

  • JUST BECAUSE YOU TURNED OUT “OK” BY RECEIVING WHIPPINGS WITH TREE BRANCHES DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.
  • JUST BECAUSE YOU GOT YELLED AT FOR EVERYTHING VS BEING TALKED TO, DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.
  • JUST BECAUSE YOUR PARENTS WASHED YOUR MOUTH OUT WITH SOAP DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.
  • JUST BECAUSE YOU WERE FORCED TO HOLD “HOT SAUCE” IN YOUR MOUTH FOR A PERIOD OF TIME DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.
  • JUST BECAUSE YOU WERE INSTRUCTED TO STRIP YOUR CLOTHES AS A 4 YEAR OLD CHILD AND STAND IN THE SHOWER WHILE COLD WATER BLASTS ALL OVER YOUR FRAIL BODY DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.
  • JUST BECAUSE YOUR PARENTS DID NOT HESITATE TO SOCK/POP/SLAP YOU IN YOUR FACE OR “BEAT YOU DOWN WITH NO EXPLANATION” DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.

There are SO many adults walking around here with parts of their mind, body, and soul still broken from their child rearing. Adults who in turn lash out at their loved ones when their temper is hot because they were never shown how to take some time and calm down. Teens and young adults resorting to verbal assaults, their fists, and weapons to make people pay for offending them. Adults paralyzed from fear of letting someone in because they are afraid of getting hurt because their parents, the ones who are supposed to demonstrate unconditional love rejected them, ignored them, patronized them, and isolated them during times they weren’t the perfect child. Parents…how you treat, discipline, and show that you love (or don’t love) your child will stay with them for the rest of their lives!

Don’t you see that children are GOD ’s best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭127:3-5‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Stop telling your children that they are dumb, stupid, not good enough, can’t measure up to, or just like their dead beat daddy. Stop negatively comparing them to their siblings or other children. Stop feeding them poisonous words that will take root in their spirit.

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit- you choose. 
Proverbs 18:21 MSG
Fathers, don’t exasperate [provoke] your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.
Proverbs 6:4 MSG

Parenting is challenging! We all, including myself, lose our temper. Most of us all yell way more than necessary. Some of us need to take a personal time out to cool down before spanking our children to avoid lashing out in anger and crossing the line. Some of us need  to remember that raising our children up in the ways of the Lord, teaching them the word of God, taking them to church so they can learn amongst their peers in a fun and age appropriate manner, is what is commanded of us by the Lord.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 

 Until next time <3