Growth Spurts: Nose-to-Nose, Heart-to-Heart
Recently I had to have a difficult “nose-to-nose” conversation with my daughter. She was having a lot of trouble admitting that she was wrong about something, and Kevin and I had been noticing that this issue with her had been getting worse, rather than better, over the past several weeks.
When I first went to confront her with this issue of pride, I admit that I was reacting in anger. I was so tired of her excuses and blaming others when she was actually the one in the wrong. (Unfortunately, I recognize the same thing in myself, which is probably why it bothers me so much to see it in my daughter.) So in my best motherly voice and manner, I proceeded to tell her that she was “wrong, wrong, wrong”–utilizing repetition for emphasis, I guess. But with each proclamation of “wrong,” I could almost see her will–and her heart–literally hardening.
So I put myself in her place. I thought about the (many!) times when I have been wrong and needed correction. If the person doing the correcting of me did so in a very accusing and derogatory manner, I was immediately turned off and became defensive. But if the same correction was given in a humble and gentle manner – firm, yet loving – then I was more likely to respond in a positive way.
In this particular instance of correcting my daughter, I took a deep breath and changed my tone.I sat down next to her (on the floor, actually) instead of standing over her. I lowered my voice and spoke with more patience. I asked her questions that helped her process the situation and be able to see for herself what was going on in her heart and mind and attitude. I took my time in having the conversation with her instead of doing the quick “You’re wrong, so say you’re sorry” method that I often prefer. It’s faster and easier, for sure, but it doesn’t take the time to speak to the heart, which is the root of the issue.
It is not our job as parents merely to correct our children’s behavior or actions; we must instruct their hearts, which takes time, energy, patience, and understanding. But it is well worth it! In the weeks since my daughter and I had this conversation, I have witnessed a notable change in her words and attitude. The problem still creeps up, but I can tell that she’s aware of it and is working to make improvements.
If only I would remember to take this approach every time!
Carrie Bevell Partridge thinks that one of the best Bible verses for parents to remember is Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” She is both convicted and encouraged by this verse. Visit Carrie’s blogs: www.oncarriesmind.blogspot.com and www.stuffmamaslike.blogspot.com.