I remember the scene so well. We were going to go head to head. I was tired. My daughter was determined. She wanted a T.V. in her room and wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I knew this wasn’t going to end peacefully. I silently begged God for wisdom and that’s when the Holy Spirit softened my heart and gave me an idea. I looked at my determined 12 year old, tiny body and big blue eyes, and my heart melted. God had plans for this one and I needed to nurture her voice. I sent her upstairs to the computer. “Write me a proposal. It has to have good paragraph structure, great sentences with capitals and periods and strong vocabulary. Come down when you have it complete and we’ll talk.” I was buying time to breathe, have a cup of coffee and pray. My negotiator headed upstairs and I sat down to pray.
Lord, thank you that you have filled my daughter with lots of ideas. I praise you that she has strong negotiating skills even though those very skills drive me nuts at times. Holy One, thank you for the wisdom you will give me. Now fill me with renewed love for my precious child.
Every family has a negotiator. Filled with ideas and passion these little ones have alternative plans for everything. As a parent you need to teach them obedience but you don’t want to squash their voice. Nurturing that strong voice that God designed is part of your role as a parent. How do you nurture their voice and at the same time teach them obedience? After raising my negotiator, I have a few ideas that might help you:
- Listen to their hearts. If your child knows that you create space every day to truly listen to them –undistracted, off facebook and instagram type listening, they’ll be more responsive.
- Give them productive ways to express their voice. Have them fill a notebook with ideas. Teach them the value of writing a strong proposal.
- Set boundaries for how and when they can negotiate. Negotiations absolutely cannot include screaming or yelling. When either of those happen, the negotiator looses the privilege to negotiate. Send the message, “I will listen but only as you talk in a respectful tone.”
- Take your negotiator on a special date. They might need some undivided attention, or they might need you to hear some hurt buried deep in their heart. Negotiators are often sensitive souls who want to feel heard.
- Teach them to seek God first in all their desires. You can start this when their young. When they want something badly, say, “Let’s pray about this together and see what God thinks.” By doing this you are sending a clear message that God is the head of your home and that they need to learn to listen for His voice.
Now I know you are wondering, did you give in and give your daughter the T.V. Yup. She spent two hours writing her proposal and it was so compelling that we gave her a T.V. But, it was an old black and white T.V. that worked on only one channel. She still laughs about it to this day.
Do you have a negotiator? If so, what have you found works? Leave a comment. Friday, I’ll be giving away one copy of The 30 Day Praise Challenge For Parents to one person who leaves a comment.