We All Need A Lifeline

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:29

10.11.18 We All Need A Lifeline Pixabay.com

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Now a teenager, my son is following his job description to a “T.” He pushes the boundaries, and pushes, until he breaks me. Between that, my raised expectations now that he’s older, and hormones (his and mine), I seem to be yelling at him a whole lot more than ever before. There are days when the tension in my house is pretty thick.

Unknowingly, he gave me a knife to cut it with the other day.

We were talking about a friend of his from school. He said his friend truly believes his parents hate him. I could have cried for this boy.

I then asked him if he felt that way about my husband and me. He responded, “No. I know you love me. But sometimes I feel like you’re out to get me.” Stunned, I had to take a moment to stifle the need to defend myself. This conversation wasn’t about me; it was about him. So I asked him to explain.

He went on to say that he feels like we pick at him, constantly. I took a minute to absorb that to see if it were true. I had to admit to him that he was right, but he wasn’t telling the whole story.

Now that I’m giving him more independence, he’s faltering more. Consequently, I have to correct him more. I definitely see how he feels picked at.

But what he failed to mention is I also compliment him on all the things he does right. I went on to remind him of the couple of compliments I had given him just that day. His response was, “Oh yeah. I forgot about those.”

Why is it we all dwell on the negative comments more than the compliments? Sadly enough, we do. I need to find a way to offset that.

I can’t control my son’s thought process or his emotions. But I can control what I say. I’ve already established that my love is unconditional. I think he knows that and truly believes it.

Now the message I need to convey is that I believe he’s a good person, no matter what. There is a difference. The first provides a foundation full of trust. The second provides inspiration to overcome bad choices and try harder the next time.

So the new lifeline I’ll be tossing him when he’s floating around in his sea of mistakes is: “I really do think you’re amazing, no matter what.” They’ll be the final words I say to him when an issue has been resolved and we’re having our apology hug. My hope is that because they’ll be the last words I say, they’ll echo the loudest in his mind, and in his heart.

Questions for Reflection:

     * Am I having to constantly reprimand one of my kids lately?

     * Is there a phrase I can say to him/her to offset the reprimand?

6 thoughts on “We All Need A Lifeline

  1. In your honest introspection of your own flared up anger as you confronted your son’s latest “mistakes,” you’ve identified compellingly the lifeline every mom must use when in similar challenges with their teenager, and that is to be able to call up within yourself that essential energy deep within you as a mom, love and reassurance, expressed in a way your teenager can truly receive, believe, and be encouraged by to try changing, even if he/she doesn’t outwardly express that belief at the moment. A tall order for every mom… WOW! to subdue legitimate anger in the moment, in favor of love and encouragement … but one that will surely reap positive results for both mother and son/daughter later on!

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    • Oh, Jackie, you give me too much credit. How I wish I could subdue my anger in the moment!!! That is one thing I will forever battle. My anger is raw, real, and reactionary. I would love your prayers towards taming that. What I have gotten better at is apologizing for my anger and finding ways to make it up to my kids. I suppose that’s better than nothing. But what I really pray for is that ability to subdue my anger in the moment. Oh to dream…

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