As a parent it is heart-wrenching when you are raising a child who sees everything in a negative light. You drag yourself to bed at night with a heavy heart and tear filled eyes. You constantly question your parenting and wonder if there is something you could have done differently to help your child through this stage of life. Surely there has to be something you did wrong, you think. I know these thoughts because I am right there with you.
As a mother, it is easy to sit down and strive to discover the answer as to why your child is so negative. Sometimes it can be a life experience that has helped shape this character trait, sometimes there can be a medical reason and sometimes it is simply because this is who God made your child. No matter the reason it is still a hard one to swallow. However, there are some ways that you can reach your child and help them through this. After all, God gave them to you for a reason.
10 Ways to Nurture a Negative Child’s Heart
Make sure to get your God time in. Seriously! You are going to battle for your child’s heart, so you are gonna need all the strength from God that you can get. This is not negotiable. In order to reach your child, you have to refuel yourself daily in prayer and with God’s Word. It is one thing when you have to deal with negativity from the world; that in itself is draining. However when you live with a source of negativity, it is a whole new ball game. Take time to lay your concerns at God’s feet. Then allow Him to use you to reach your child.
Practice active listening. When your child is speaking about why they are upset, strive to find the root of the issue. They need to know they are being heard. Yes it is time-consuming, but it is important to them in that moment, so it needs to be important to you as well. Repeat back to them key points that were frustrating to them and then together see if you can both come up with a solution. Yes, you will spend 30 mins on a topic that really at the time may not seem like a huge deal. However, in order to nurture them, teach them how to actively listen to others, and strive to validate others, we ourselves need to model that behavior through our own actions.
Check your own perceptions. Our children feed off of us and our energy. Sad but true. This means we need to watch how we react to situations because negativity is learned behavior. It is also contagious. Our children want to be like their parents – for better or worse. Therefore, it stands to reason that if we model positive behavior, eventually they will as well. (Note: this takes time and it is hard!)
Pray with your child. It is important to pray alongside your child over their struggles. In fact, it is just as important as praying for your child in private. This teaches them to pray to God over situations that frustrate them. It also teaches them you are willing to lift them up to God. This my friends, is powerful.
Incorporate character building studies into your homeschool. There are several Christian resources out there to help you in this area. Not only will this teach them what God’s Word says, but it will also help your other children in the process. We all need reminders of the character God wants us to have. It is a win/win for the whole family. Bonus points if you do it as a family devotional effort.
As parents, stay on the same page. Parenting a child who struggles with a negative spirit can spiritually and mentally drain the parent who is with them most of the time. It can also cause a strain on your marriage. However, if both parents keep an open communication and are both in agreement on the course of action, this speaks volumes – not only to the one child but to all the children in the home.
Have a cool down area. During heated moments there needs to be a safe place where the child can go to calm down. Nothing can ever be rationally discussed or broken down until they have completely calmed down. This needs to be a place where they can go to be alone without interruption and consequence. You can add books, soft animals or other calming items. After all they are not being punished, but they should know that after leaving the area there will be a discussion. If they go to the cool down area on their own, make sure to praise them for making the right choice.
Surround them with chances to be a blessing. Help them come up with ways that they can focus on finding the good in the world around them by doing good deeds. Check around in your community or at your church for ways that your child can serve. This is a humbling experience that helps remind your child how blessed they really are.
Monitor all devices. The internet, television, video games and even music can be a huge influence on the way our children act and behave. So it is important that we make sure those things to which our child is exposed to on a regular basis are wholesome and promoting great character qualities. Not those of a negative nature.
Remind yourself often that this is just a season. Just like everything else in our parenting journey, this is just for a season. It feels like it will never end, but it will. When you have a newborn, the sleepless nights feel like they will last forever and you will never get a full nights sleep again. However, for most parents, life returns to normal after a year or so and consecutive hours of sleep is once again achieved. Seasons can be long or short, but when they end, we will be able to reap the benefits of the time spent training our child and the answered prayers.
Nurturing a child’s negative heart takes a lot of time, energy and hours, even years spent on our knees in prayer. However, one day, we will look back and smile at these days, because we will be able to see how far our child has grown. I have found that keeping a notebook of my prayers and the struggles to help me see how far we’ve come on the hard days. Until then, I will be over here praying for my child and yours.
Until Next Time Just Keep Soaring 4 Him,
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