My friend, Melissa, was visiting from Alaska. She knows how to drive in the snow and is a very capable person so I had no worries when she planned to fly into Denver and drive over the two 11,000 foot high passes to get to our ranch. The rental car folks gave her a car and sent her on her way. For the next two days, she slid on the icy snow covered roads and parking lots when she carefully (and skillfully) tried to stop. My cowboy had to tow her car up a small hill in our driveway when it slid and couldn’t get a grip. My friend was STRESSED every time she drove because she did not feel safe as the thing slipped and slid all over the place.
That is how our children feel when we don’t hold the line we set. They get the same knot in their stomach of tension, fear builds up, muscles tense and they often” blow a gasket” or can’t think straight. When our fear factor goes up the learning curve goes down. Our kiddos keep doing the same dumb thing over and over spinning their wheels and need a tow truck!
When we provide solid ground for them to stand on by being consistent they feel safe and can begin the healing process. When we hold the line they know where the “safe zone” is just like the lines on the road to keep us in the lane to avoid head on collisions. What if there were no lines and cars where coming at you because they don’t know where their place is!? I would be freaking out! Our kids are freaking out and can’t get a grip.
Lay down some clear lines! I like to start with the lines of respect.
- Say yes, Mom/yes, Dad
- Make eye contact when speaking to someone
- Walk beside or behind adults
- Say “May I please” or “Would you please” and “Thank You”
- Use proper table manners
- Zero interrupting
- Zero arguing and name calling
I set the example by treating my friends and family with high standard of respect. There is a really great list of rules to live by that I love and right in the middle of the list it has “Honor your Mother and Father”. Honor is even higher standard than respect. I work hard to reach for that high standard. To set the “lines” for our children we have to set the lines for ourselves first and then lead the charge up the hill (without the tow truck!) :>)
To keep you from sliding check out my blog article “Overloaded and Biting” I hope you enjoy it.
We can make a difference, Nancy