questioned the wisdom and truth of the parenting practices I
had embraced.
I had to ask and answer a series of important questions:
Is there a distinction between “positive” and “negative”
emotions? Aren’t all feelings a part of being human? Why is
any kind of “negative” emotional expression immediately
deemed as disrespect and something to be squashed ASAP?
Why do I seek to control rather than lovingly teach and mold
my children’s behaviors? Why do I default to shame and fear
tactics to keep my children in line? Sure, kids who are
immediately compliant make my life easier, but isn’t there
something more profound to model and teach these precious
souls in my care?
I had hit a wall in parenting my girls. The methods that
I had used with my sons were only intensifying problematic
behaviors that were happening with our daughters. I was
clearly “out of my league.” The discipline tools I reached for
were like throwing gasoline on a fire. And we were just in the
toddler stage of life. I was well aware that there was a long road
of parenting ahead.
From a faith perspective, my questions multiplied as
well. What is inherently “Christian” about spanking and
punishment? Why did I insist that our children meet a standard
that I was unable to meet without the gifts of mercy and grace?
A major tenet of the Christian faith is that human beings have
free will. God does not force us to love, follow, or obey.
Though it seems that there are natural consequences that flow
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