The last couple weeks my kids have been crankier than usual. They have been bickering and treating each other rudely. So, I thought we should start listening to Christian music while we get ready for school, maybe change our Bible study to focus on some verses about treating each other kindly, or maybe my kids needed to lose some privileges. I had some ideas I was going to try that's for sure.
So imagine my surprise when I was reading a book about anger in children and I discovered that my attitude can affect my children's attitudes. Well, of course I knew that, but I certainly didn't think that my attitude could be responsible for the level of misbehavior that I was seeing in my children. I admit that I have one child who picks up on all the negative energy and really acts out when I am cranky, but all of my children were acting unkindly.
So this week I decided that instead of being snappy or having that irritated mom voice I would say things to my children like, "When you do that I don't feel respected," or "that behavior is dishonoring to me." I actually thought that my children might find this a little silly to have their mom talk like that, but I was surprised by how effective this was. I resolved to not be snappy or cranky and to do my best to speak to my children in a way that didn't sound like I was always scolding them.
The results? Well my kids were better behaved and there was less bickering this week. The challenge was when my kids were rude or disrespectful to not respond to them in that manner, guess I still need to work on that one. Overall though it was a very convicting exercise for me to realize that my attitude really sets the attitudes of others around here. On the one hand I could be upset about that because it seems like I can never have a bad day, but on the other hand if a good attitude makes my children's attitudes better, then that would also make me have a better day, and I'm in control of that. What power and responsibility, but in the end there is a payoff for me as well. I'll try to remember that in the future.