Am I the only one with kids who argue seemingly ALL OF THE TIME? I can’t be the only Mamma out there who wants to bash her head into a brick wall because I’ve said… “STOP THE FIGHTING!” too many times in one day! Is it a wonder my gray hair is starting to show? It can be crazier than a circus around here at times. My four children swing wildly from getting along perfectly to screaming at each other over the most trivial things, to ANTAGONIZING one another just to get a reaction. Sometimes there isn’t enough Tylenol in the world to curb my headaches after referring yet another ridiculous fallout.
I’ve tried many tactics… separating them (and me), timeout, explaining, ignoring them to let them sort things out themselves and in my desperate moments even begging and pleading with them to KNOCK IT OFF! While we are blessed with occasional week long seasons of calm and togetherness, nothing genuinely seemed to stick for the long haul.
Where was I going wrong? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks! I was asking my children to stop what is truly a natural, though unhelpful behavior, all on their own with just their strength and willpower. One lesson that I have learned is that changing yourself in that way rarely works… especially if you are still a child. We needed help! Thankfully God provides.
I gathered my children, and we opened our Child Training Bible to see what God has to say about all of this quarreling. First, we talked about the quarreling and how it made us all feel. My kids confessed that they don’t like to fight and it makes them pretty sad. Then we prayed to God and asked Him to help us figure out how to stop the madness! Finally, we turned to the scriptures. As I read each one I stopped and asked them to help me understand what God was trying to tell us and I did my best to provide our real life examples of where we are going wrong according to that scripture. We brainstormed better ways to deal with the situation, and we even acted them out with one another to practice. Most humbling of all I shared examples with them of times that I get into quarrels with their Daddy or others. I’m far from perfect. I struggle with things like this much as they do. I believe this makes them feel less condemned and more understood. I wasn’t aiming to punish them.
At last, we hit upon the scripture that spoke to us all the most.
Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 2 Timothy 2:23-24 (NIV)
They all agreed most of the arguments are foolish and stupid. Their eyes popped when they learned the Lord says that we must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone. I know it was so simple but it was an AH-HA moment for them and Mommy too. We prayed together and asked God to send his helper the Holy Spirit to help us when quarrels erupt. We declared 2 Timothy 2:23-24 our memory verse for the week. We copied it down on paper every day and recited it whenever we thought too.
Whenever it seems we need a reminder, we come back to this topic… reread our scriptures and discuss how things are going… where we succeed and where we fall short. Now, when quarrels flare up I just asked them if this is a foolish argument and inevitably they agree that it is. Then I ask them what we could do to handle this better. That is usually the end of it. The level of arguing in our house has decreased significantly. There is a new peace and calmness that I think everyone enjoys. I know I certainly do.
I am reminded of Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. My children need God’s help to change as much as I do. It is my job to point them to Him.