Pay Attention, Momma!

She was busy playing with baby dolls. I was busy doing who knows what.  But suddenly, a preschooler was tapping her toes, hands on hips, saying with great conviction, “Pay attention, Momma!”

Now she’s ten … and she still cries out for my attention but it’s not always so obvious.  I have to listen a little more carefully for her cues and learn the right timing for serious talks and building our relationship as she grows up.

If you have not yet encountered the tween/teen years, you may not realize how much more difficult it gets to remain connected with your child.  I have dear friends who are homeschooling mothers of teenagers who have told me that they struggle with the same thing!  We need to recognize that’s part of the process of growing up … our children begin to develop their own identity apart from us. We need to be encouragers in that pursuit and gentle guiders as well.

So, this leads me to the next principle in Polite Parenting:

Principle 3:  Be a student of your child.
Fathers (Mothers!), do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 NIV

As I considered this idea, I thought it might be wise to know exactly what exasperate means.  So, for those who like specific definitions:

exasperate: (verb), to irritate or provoke to a high degree; annoy extremely.  (from Dictionary.com)

When I read this, I immediately felt a little guilty … because I know I irritate my daughter.  She’s ten-going-on-nineteen so I annoy her too … but that’s because of entirely different things.

How do I irritate my child?

  • By nagging her.
  • By telling stories about her without her permission.
  • By saying, “Just a minute” for an hour.

And probably a thousand other ways as well.  {In fact, she just gave me a list of several other ways because she wanted to help me with this post as much as possible.}

But see … I know that I do this.  And now I know that I’m specifically commanded not to do it. Which makes it a big deal … and one I need to take seriously – just as I would the knowledge that I was being disobedient to the Lord’s clear instruction in any other area.

So how does all this relate to the principle, “Be a student of your child”?

We need to be aware of our children’s personalities and likes and dislikes … and even how time of day and hunger and our own level of stress can affect them.  We need to pay attention!  Learn our children … and then act on what we learn.

Now that I’ve talked to my daughter about what I do that irritates her, we both know I need to work on those things … and I will be asking her how I’m doing.

So, what about you?  Do you know how you irritate your child/ren?  What are you going to do now?

Other Polite Parenting Posts:
Principle 1:  Don’t make it about you!
Principle 2:  Obedience matters because it honors God.

8 Replies to “Pay Attention, Momma!”

  1. Hmmm… I think I need to start by asking. I have "coffee" every Saturday morning with my 6 year old. We go down the street to a local coffee shop – I get a chai tea latte and she gets a vanilla cream soda!

    I know the day is going to come when I want to have serious talks with her – so I want to instill now the habit of "getting together" with just her!

    I think this next Saturday – I'm going to ask her if I irritate her and if so – how!

    Thanks for making me think today. In addition, I'm going to be on the lookout myself for moments where I might be doing this very thing!

    Have a great day Teri Lynne!

  2. Let your yes be yes, and your no be no – and your just a minute be really just a minute!

    I know I am guilty of this. Thank you for stepping on my toes with this. I'll have to talk to my daughter about it tonight and see if there are any other ways that I irritate her. And my son, too.

  3. Love this! Eph. 6:4 is one of the first verses David (my 4 yo) has memorized. Not because I've drilled him, but because when we talked about it one time he really thought through it. He misapplies it occasionally, as in "You want me to go to bed and I don't want to, you are exasperating me!" 🙂 So we really talk through what it means to exasperate. Like your example, he hates to hear "Just a minute" over and over again.

    As he and his brother grow, I will have to continue to study them so I know how to avoid exasperating them, at least on purpose!

  4. […] Don’t frustrate your children unnecessarily.   There are thousands of ways to do this … but one I see most often is placing unreasonable expectations upon them.   Your children are just that – CHILDREN!   Give them the freedom to enjoy their childhood, to be kids!   If they aren’t top of the class or on the all stars or whatever … who cares?!?  Aren’t the bigger issues giving them the opportunities to try new things, to experience both success and failure, and to learn how to take some risks? {I’ve written on this topic before … Pay Attention, Momma!} […]

  5. […] Don’t do those things that drive your kids crazy!!   Sounds simple, but really … if he hates it when you call him by a pet name in front of his peers, don’t do it. […]

  6. […] Principle 3: Be a student of your child. […]

  7. […] Don’t frustrate your children unnecessarily.   There are thousands of ways to do this … but one I see most often is placing unreasonable expectations upon them.   Your children are just that – CHILDREN!   Give them the freedom to enjoy their childhood, to be kids!   If they aren’t top of the class or on the all stars or whatever … who cares?!?  Aren’t the bigger issues giving them the opportunities to try new things, to experience both success and failure, and to learn how to take some risks? {I’ve written on this topic before … Pay Attention, Momma!} […]

  8. […] Don’t do those things that drive your kids crazy!!   Sounds simple, but really … if he hates it when you call him by a pet name in front of his peers, don’t do it. […]

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge