is it your fault

Is It Your Fault Your Kids Act the Way They Do?

A couple months ago, I learned a huge lesson when it comes to the behavior of my kids. I am very much responsible for their behavior…both the good and the bad. So, when my kids are acting up in public, at school, or even church, I shouldn’t be looking at them. I should be looking in the mirror.

I learned this lesson, with some help from my wife, after analyzing both my actions and our 5-year-old’s actions on two separate mornings. One particular morning, we were getting prepared for our homeschooling group to meet for class, and we were running late as usual. I had enough and morphed into Drill Sergeant Dad. I barked instructions, stormed around, and pretty much threw a 40-year-old tantrum at my wife and kids. Well, the barking, yelling, and just all around crazy behavior didn’t go unnoticed. Our 5-year-old was just not himself that day. He wouldn’t listen, he was pouty, and he was outright rebellious at some points throughout the day. I just thought it was him, that is until about a week later when we had a completely opposite experience.

On that day, our son was being baptized, and I was the one who had the honor to do it. Talk about the greatest day ever! Well, I was so proud of his decision and just overjoyed at what was to take place that I was the most patient, the most kind, the most understanding husband and father you’d ever run into. Our morning, as far as running behind, was normal. We weren’t ready to leave at the time I’d hope we would. However, I chose to look at things with a completely different perspective, and my actions followed. And our son was an angel that day. Here are three things I did differently.

I chose my words carefully.

The way I spoke to him, his siblings, and my wife was totally different. I was not Drill Sergeant Dad. Instead I was kind and careful with my words. My wife has shared how I can be more effective with my words by doing the following: Encourage the behavior you want versus discouraging the behavior you don’t want. [Tweet This]

I chose grace.

As I said we weren’t ahead of schedule, but still running a little behind. However, instead of condemning my wife and kids, I showed grace to them. This is very much related to choosing our words. When we choose grace, we choose to focus on what is good and encourage it. Grace allows for mistakes to happen without condemnation.

I chose to look at the big picture.

It didn’t matter what went wrong that day. My son had accepted the gift of salvation that comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ. No matter what happened, this was an amazing and wonderful thing. Nothing was going to change that.

I admit I didn’t consciously do those things; but now, with the knowledge of what happened, I can in the future. And so can you. So the next time your kid’s behavior is not what you like, look in the mirror first, and choose to do and say some things differently.

Sound Off

Share a time when your behavior brought out the best in your kid's behavior.

Jackie Bledsoe

Jackie Bledsoe is an author, blogger, and speaker, but first and foremost a husband and father of three, who helps men better lead and love the ones who matter most.

  • ca_jon

    This is excellent, and a great reminder. Keep up the great work!

  • Candice

    Great read Jackie!

  • Jackie so true, I coached for a long time and always said, “If you really want to see how parents are, just look at their kids”. Until I understood this life is not about me vertically or horizontally I was walking dead but understanding it it all about HIM I am alive!

  • Paul_Sp

    Good, thought provoking advice, but it’s worth mentioning that sometimes the parents are behaving well, are good role models, and the kid(s) chooses to be a jerk.
    So yes, give that look in the mirror, reflect on how you’re behaving, talking, etc, but watch for how the child is choosing things too.
    This may take some time to be certain about.

  • Valerie

    Thank you Jackie for this important reminder about how our behavior is mirrored by our children. This is so true! However our son is also extremely effected by his diet. Any type of refined sugar (HFC) or blue dyes can send our loving 4 year old into a tailspin.

  • Brian Gamberg

    Great truth here. I see myself on both sides. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Josh Abebe

    The timing on this was perfect…My wife and I had a discussion about this yesterday. Thanks for sharing. I tend to throw high-30’s temper tantrum’s often. You just put me on check.

  • Kim

    While I do agree at some level with you, I don’t believe that this blanket statement can be a fact for every family or child. Actually, it is quite an unfair thing for you to say. I have four sons and one of them has despicable behavior that breaks me heart. My husband and I (and his brothers) administer grace and love too many times a day to keep track of and he consistently comes back with abusive words and disrespect. We are baffled by his behavior and at loss for what to do. So, even though we model consistently good and kind and loving and respectable behavior, he does the opposite of all those things. So, I just want you to know that your view may hold true for some families, but not all- and especially not mine. So, please be careful to not be so judgemental of parents who have challenging children that they are trying tirelessly to train up well without satisfying results. I wish it were as easy as looking in the mirror.

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