Our 2nd born came home seemingly on a mission to annoy and bother each and every one of us. She made every verbal exchange more difficult than it needed to be, and nearly every time she came in the vicinity of someone else she found a way to disrupt or grab or trip or steal something. She didn’t do anything really over the top bad, but you could tell that she was trying to be a pest.
After getting up from the table for the umpteenth time she ran down the hall and slammed the bathroom door. (We have had enough smashed fingers in our house that door-slamming is a pretty serious offense.) So I trotted up the stairs and confronted her in the hallway.
“Bekah, I ‘m not mad at you. You’re not in trouble. I love you. But, I can tell that you have a spirit of rambunctiousness or something tonight, and I will have to drive it far from you if you aren’t able to get it under control. Do you understand me?”
Bekah looked at me with a strange look on her face and said, “Yeah, I just feel…I don’t know…I just…” Then she did a full body shake to show that she felt like she was itching to get out of her skin.
It flashed through my mind: “Wow, she knows! She is self-aware. She feels the nervous energy…the mischievous energy inside of her, but she just doesn’t know how to handle it or to channel it.”
So I gave her an understanding hug and said, “You know what we need? We need a dance party! After we do our kitchen chores we will have a MercyMe Shake dance party.”
A little grin flitted across her face and the look of pure orneriness was replaced by relief.
I’m not going to say that this was the final end of the story and the rest of the evening was perfect, but I felt like this was a moment where I was able to provide correction with kindness. I believe that she understood me and the interaction brought us closer together, rather than driving a wedge between us. And just as important, I feel that I helped her to recognize the urge that is inside of her and redirect it for good. Sometime in the future she will need to be able to handle it herself.
While parenting, it is important to listen to that still, small voice. Sometimes there is more to the situation than meets the eye, and it is up to you to be perceptive enough to figure it out.
What do you think? Do you have any examples of when you were able to uncover the issue below the issue? When you were able to truly understand your child and give them the discipline that they needed at that moment? Please share – we’d all love to hear from you.