Remind them who they are.

Sometimes we have to remind our kids who they are.  

Children test boundaries like it's their job - and it is. They push buttons and make selfish decisions until they learn better. It's how we humans mature.

Just a thought when it comes to parenting - I've learned that it helps to remind our kids (and myself) exactly who we are when behaviour is out-of-line. We are all a work in process, and so we have to remind each other of who we were created to be and intend to be. There's stuff that's unique to my little tribe that would look different for yours, but as families we are growing together and belong to each other. 

An example - We happen to be a family of "church rats" and we're proud of it. I'm a pastor's kid raising a couple pastor's kids and our children are as involved in church life as Rod and I are. I'm hyper aware of the pressure and the privilege attached to the role. It's part of our DNA. It's a unique kind of life with unique sacrifices, and I think we all kind of love that about it (including our teenagers - thank God). When I noticed one of my kids hanging in the church foyer with some friends rather than in the service on the weekend, I reminded him (privately) how we Doells do. We are the kind of people who engage at church. We lead by example. When we show up we are all in. That's us.  My kid listened to my little pep talk and nodded and hustled back into the service. He knows who he is.  What is ridiculous to others is our normal. 

My hope is that our kids will feel pride in belonging to our family, easy or not, and that as they grow they'll continue to develop the character that it takes to live this life we've all been called to. 

Our family looks for ways to serve.  

Our family is faithful and committed. 

We keep our word.  

And the list goes on. We'll just keep telling ourselves over and over until we get it.   

Your child is not his or her bad behaviour. He isn't bad or selfish. She may make wrong choices, but that's because she is working out who she really is. As a parent, we have the responsibility and privilege of reminding our children. 

And let me remind you - you're doing great work. You really are.