How to Have Self Control When Your Kids are OUT of Control

Just when I think we’re in a good stage with the girls, when it seems like FINALLY, things are easier, something shifts and it’s hard again. And then, just when I feel like I’m drowning, like this is too hard and I don’t have what it takes, things shift again, and it feels like a sweet season.

I think this up-and-down is normal. And I’m learning how I have VERY little, if any, control here.

As much as we work at disciplining our kids the best we know how, I’m reminded every day that I can’t control my children (believe me, I’ve tried). But I DO have the ability to at least attempt SELF-control.

So when there are tears and tantrums and fights, when I feel myself about to lose it, I’m trying to pay attention to how I respond. I’m trying to stop and take a moment, to breathe and let out the tension mounting inside, and to not react in the moment of pressure and stress.

How can I expect my kids to learn self-control if I myself don’t have it?

I get that sometimes I’ll snap and I won’t always respond well, and there is SO much grace for that. Good thing, because I still fall so short so much of the time.

But I also want to actually make an effort to respond better.

I want to be more calm. I long for peace, both in myself and in our home, and maybe that starts with me. Instead of matching the chaos with MORE yelling and exasperation, maybe I can provide a more calming presence, even when inside, my blood is beginning to boil a bit.

It’s not about being fake or numbing. It’s not about stuffing down my feelings. It’s recognizing how I feel and giving myself permission to feel that way, but also choosing to respond differently.

Even this process of trying to grow and practice self-control is still about grace, right? It’s only by grace that I’ll have the strength to practice self-control.

Grace can do more than simply show us we’re forgiven in our weakness; it can then be the fuel for our strength, the thing that helps us grow, that allows us to do better next time. We don’t grow by effort, but by receiving grace and allowing it to do its work in us.

As I try to grow in my own self-control, the best way to become a better mom is to become a better human, to lean into the grace of Jesus that will help me grow to become more like him.

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