Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday Talk: Grace

Grace.  Are you good at giving grace to your children when they act out, don't listen when you ask them to do something or when they don't do the things you expect them to do?  I felt super convicted after reading this quote from the Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond Facebook page on Sunday:

"So often children are punished for being human... None of us are perfect, and we must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves."  Rebecca Eanes

Here's the passage that follows this quote from The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting by Rebecca Eanes for some context

"Of course I'm not saying to always "let them by with it" just because they're human. Teach them better! Teach them it's not okay to project a bad mood on those around you. Teach them how to handle frustration, anger, fear, sadness, and disappointment. Teach them that it's not acceptable to be rude to people. Hold them to a high standard! But please, hold yourself to one, too. Don't project your bad moods. Learn how to handle your frustration, anger, fear, sadness, and disappointment. Don't be rude to them. We all need high standards, and do you know what else we all need?

A little grace.

You know better, but sometimes you have a bad day and you say something that isn't nice, or you slam a door, or you yell at your kids. We aren't robots. Sometimes life is just plain hard, and we need a break, not a lecture. We need a hug, not a scornful look. We know we did wrong, but we're having a hard time. We just need grace.  The same goes for our children."

 I'm guilty of overreacting when...

Olive undresses for the tenth time in one day.
she's sassy back to me when I ask her to do something.
she does something she knows better than to do.
when she won't say sorry for something she's done.
She finds the water table on our way out the door and ends up soaking herself.
Olive throws a fit in the store over something little
or when she won't cooperate with a simple request.

I get mad or annoyed and then give her a consequence.  She's upset at me and I'm upset at her. I haven't really heard her out or taught her anything, definitely haven't given her any grace for the situation and am not sure why she's reacting the way she is.  We're both "strustrated" as Olive likes to say.

I feel like this idea of giving grace applies more to my toddler than to my baby.  Sure, I get frustrated when he won't fall asleep when I know he's tired or when he's pulling hair or when he gets fussy for no apparent reason.  I just seem to give him more grace because he's a BABY and I feel like he's supposed to be needier than his sister.  Knowing this makes me want to focus extra hard on giving grace to Olive in her toddler years and beyond.

I rarely take into account her having a bad day or bad moment, her feeling anxious about something new, how much she loves routines and how much she'd appreciate me talking through situations before they happen.  I love routines, too.  I love knowing what to expect for the day and I think she would agree.  I could definitely do a better job of talking through things with her, taking a moment to ask her why she's throwing such a big fit about wearing the dress she'd picked out moments earlier and give her more grace.  I know we'd both end up feeling less frustrated if we did more communicating.

I am guilty of being a perfectionist and wanting things to go perfect all the time.  I've spent good chunks of time working hard to make things perfect and to do things as close to perfect as possible.  It's not my favorite characteristic about myself and I certainly don't want to teach Olive that she needs to try to be perfect.  It's a completely unreasonable notion and silly for me to have that expectation of myself and my family.  Things are never going to be perfect so I am getting better just going with things as they happen and making the best of things.  

Parenting has helped teach me that lesson.  Just because one thing goes wrong or just because everyone is crying at that moment doesn't mean that the whole day is ruined.  Give it 30 minutes and everything will likely be better.  Don't let one event or one huge fit ruin a fun time.  Give everyone time to cool off with a big helping of grace and then move forward with your day.

I want to be known as the mom who loves her kids no matter what.  Who has high expectations for her kids, but also realizes that kids aren't supposed to be perfect.  I want to teach them the right way to do things and to behave and then be able to give them grace for the times that they act differently than expected.  I want my kids to be sweet, polite, respectful little people and I know that doesn't happen overnight.  I don't want to raise robots who just do what I say when I'm around and then don't know what to do with themselves when they are on their own.  I want to raise kids who have learned all kinds of life skills that will serve them well when they grow up.

Are you good at giving grace to your kids?
Giving grace to yourself?

It's something I'm working hard on and would love to improve on as my family grows up together.

It's time to link up with my favorite ladies for Tuesday Talk
Join us with your best post of the week:

Polka-Dotty Place


  1. Love this post! Made me tear up because it rings true for me too!!

  2. I think we all could be better about giving ourselves grace. And then definitely to kids as well. It's easy to let the everyday struggles and stresses overwhelm us and overshadow the important stuff.

  3. Beautifully said, Whitney. That idea of grace toward our children is something that I'm learning as well. Letting go of perfection is something I'm working on too. Some days are better than others, but I like to think I'm making progress with it. Thanks for providing us with such a great start to our Tuesday!

  4. Yes to all of this Whitney. So often in those times that I get so angry or upset with my girls God reveals to me that my behavior towards him is so similar. He uses our kids to sanctify us and teach us. Love your thoughts on grace. I'll be praying you grow in grace friend.

  5. It's funny that you wrote this post because I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately. There are days where I have so much grace to give and others (when I'm sleepy, tired, hungry, frustrated) where I yell instead of teach or go for the quick solution instead of taking the time to let him figure it out. It is so hard not to project my mood into a situation. I want to work at being more intentional about giving myself reminders before entering into stressful situations.

  6. This is a great lesson, for us who don't have children yet, or who have nieces and nephews around. Yes, we get frustrated when they don't follow our commands, but they are little and aren't able to express what their going through. A great thing to keep in mind for the future!!

  7. This is one of my biggest causes at this point in my life. I didn't give enough grace when my kids were young so I'm seeking to do better with my grandkids, as well as help other moms do it too! Such a sweet post!

  8. WOW this is convicting, in a good way. My husband is always reminding me to show mercy. Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. ha! That's Bible right there. and it's true! If I want mercy when I act out, I better show mercy (even if it is my 5 year old toddler.) GREAT post!


  9. Whitney! This is a wonderful post...and definitely something I am ALWAYS working on as well....I hold myself to a pretty high standard...and in turn...expect a lot from my children...except they aren't an ADULT. They are such smart, awesome people that I sometimes forget they are just KIDS! :) Being a parent is SO sanctifying!!

  10. You are speaking to my heart girlfriend. I've been finding little tidbits like this lately to try to grind it into my head and heart that Lawter doesn't mean to be a stinky two year old- she's just being an imperfect person, same as me. It's especially good reminder as you are correct in that my tot sees me giving more grace to baby brother, and she deserves the same. Beautiful and wise words. THanks friend!

  11. Great post with lots to think about! I have the same perfectionist tendencies which means I often don't give myself or my toddler enough grace. I need to keep reminding myself. <3

  12. Oh girl God bless you........the eternal fight with our children! Some days I handle it amazingly and others not so much. I guess we have to remember we are only human too. I try to always remember that I am the example and to act as I expect them to act. Although sometimes it's more like "Do as I say not as I do" :) Hang in there you are doing great! :) BTW that picture of both kids in the shopping cart is priceless!

  13. Grace is what makes parenting so beautiful. Days can be long. Moments can seem like they last forever while it's just been 3 minutes. It's hard, this motherhood gig but you are doing such an amazing job with Olive and Fletcher. Hugs Momma!


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Smiles, Whitney