Today’s post is a continuation of the Grandma’s Old Adages series. If you missed the first two, scroll down to find links.
Jody and I are big fans of teaching our kids how to advocate for themselves. When someone mistreats them (even if it’s an adult), we want our kids to value themselves and their relationship with the other person enough to express their feelings. Plus, we know that being offended gives the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:26-27). In fact, offense is one of the primary ways the devil steals, kills and destroys a person’s testimony.
Our kids have to learn how to confront a person whenever they are offended and resolve the problem.
How many adults do you know who are emotionally constipated? They are so afraid of confrontation that they refuse to deal with their offense. Eventually avoidance becomes a habit, and they are paralyzed at the first hint of a negative emotion.
Tremendous freedom awaits those who are willing to confront their offenders. But…as Grandma Rita always said…you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. The Bible says it like this: “A gentle word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
We have to teach our kids how to be assertive without being aggressive.
When they’re dealing with offense, we have our kids practice phrasing everything in “I” statements. To their teacher: “I felt scared when you raised your voice at me.” Instead of “you hurt my feelings.” To a sibling: “I was angry when you borrowed my shoes without asking and left them outside. It made me feel like you don’t value me enough to value my things.” Instead of “Who said you could borrow my shoes? And then you left them outside! Don’t touch my stuff.”
The car is a great place to roll play and have kids practice the art of gentle confrontation. With regular rehearsal, they’ll be ready when a real situation happens.
Before you head off to the rest of your day, check out the first two posts in the series: