Welcome to week 4 of The Gentleness Challenge, which was originally started by Courtney from Women Living Well.
In her post, Courtney talks about what a good “Gentle Mother” role model Michelle Duggar is. I have to say, I agree! If Michelle can keep from raising her voice in anger or frustration with 19 children, surely I can manage when I only have 3, right?
One of Michelle’s parenting tips from their old website is:
Ask God to help you conquer anger because it can destroy your relationship with your children. Praise them ten times more than you correct them.
My kids deserve the best of me and showing my anger is definitely not the best of me. It is also my responsibility to show my kids how to handle different situations, including upsetting situations, in a Godly manner. Showing my anger does not accomplish that. I want my kids to feel safe with me all the time. I want them to feel safe with me when they’ve made mistakes. If they fear my reaction they won’t feel secure in coming to me when they’ve made a mistake or are facing a touch decision.
I also try really hard to remember to praise my kids much more than I correct them. I found this a bit difficult some days when I first started trying to make sure I was speaking more positive words than negative words, but now it’s a lot easier. Even on the bad days!
My kids don’t always have to be doing something big or new; a lot of the time I just randomly tell them how happy I am that they’re playing nicely and quietly together or sharing, or telling them how nice it is that they use good manners. If we’re at church and they’ve been sitting quietly for several minutes, I periodically whisper to them that I know it’s hard to stay quiet for a long time but that they’re doing a great job.
If the kids are having a hard day and acting up more, I make sure to praise them more often than usual. Sometimes I’ll praise them for playing nicely every few minutes. I’ve found that being consistent with praising my kids and encouraging them more than I correct them almost always improves the mood at home, even on cranky days.
This week’s challenge is to speak more words of praise to our children, especially Christlike qualities that they show.
If you want to download a copy of the chart of Christlike character qualities that the Duggars use, you can find it here.
Have you missed the first few weeks of the Gentleness Challenge? You can find them here: