Choose relationship first!
#parenting I had a lovely WhatsApp from a parent this morning that was a perfect example of choosing relationship over issue, problem or disagreement with their adolescent.
Communicating with our children is another one which relates to this maxim. Children are finding boundaries, they are working out how to communicate, if control, bullying, judgement, blackmail, blame shifting etc,. work. They are figuring out how to get what they want, and also how to cope with feelings of guilt when they have done wrong.
Many times as a foster carer I can feel like I'm reaching boiling point and I've had to check myself as I'm going down a communication path with one of my children or teens that I won't be happy with and I've had to do an about turn and say 'Time out! I'm sorry I won't communicate in this way, but I'm happy to talk within relationship first boundaries of non-judgement and generosity, let me know if you would like to do that.'
This gives us the freedom to stay in forgiveness and grace.
It helps us as the parent not become bitter in communication with our adolescent or child and we will not need to chop our child's head off to make us look taller in conflict situations.
We may need to call a time out, give a boundary and hold space while our adolescent or child reacts and pushes for us to fight or argue the way they want (generally dramatically), but it keeps the door open for the future and our hearts stay full rather than shrink.
Parents and teachers can use this principle when working with or caring for children or teens.