When you are raising sons in a toxic environment

It’s sharing Tuesday in the Facebook group I currently run for moms and guardians of boys.

Today, I will like to encourage women who are striving to raise sons in a less than an ideal situation/environment. You want to raise the perfect gentlemen who is also in love with Jesus but the main character in your story, the one who should be a good example to your sons is badly behaved. What do you do?

Depending on the seriousness of the misbehavior, you may need to do the following;

1. Pray. Ask for wisdom to handle the situation you have found yourself. Ask God for divine intervention. Pray without ceasing. Each time I read or hear this Scripture……if the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do? My answer is always the righteous can pray. Don’t watch while the foundation of your sons is being destroyed. Pray and change the situation.

2. Be wise. Know when to speak and when to keep quiet to avoid unnecessary tension at home. Sometimes, silence does more than all the noise put together. In quietness shall be your strength Isaiah 30:15. Moreover, there’s time for everything.

3. Talk about the situation with your sons not to castigate their father but to let them know that some behaviors are not acceptable. You could say something like, ‘Dad is angry and it’s okay to be angry about issues but it’s not good to…….’ Then, you can proceed to teach him how to manage his anger when he’s upset.

4. If the atmosphere is too toxic for your sons, consider leaving temporarily or permanently for their sake. Don’t say you are staying because of them and you end up damaging them in the process.

I will love to read your thoughts about what I’ve shared.

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To spank, beat, flog or not

I am not writing this as an expert. I am only going to share what I have learnt and what I am learning on this journey. I know in part…1Cor 13:9.

Some swear by spanking as the best form of discipline while some on the other hand totally condemn it. Those who are for it quote Prov 23:13-14…….if you beat him with the rod, he will not die, Prov 29:15 and the commonest one Prov 13:24 spare the rod……These verses are part of the justifications for those who believe in spanking. Interestingly, some people believe that the rod in Proverbs is referring to the Word of God. Their explanation is that we are supposed to train our children with God’s word and not the physical rod. For them, the rod connotes the Word of God

God told us to train up our children in the way of the Lord. Training involves teaching and giving instructions. I believe training should be deliberate and also something we do as the need arises. In fact, we should seize every opportunity to train, instruct and teach. It should involve planning and preparation for it to be effective. To train is to discipline. Discipline is also punishment to correct bad behaviour but we tend to focus more on punishment and that is where I have problem with spanking.

Beating or spanking is a lazy way of parenting. It is very easy to beat and more difficult to train because training takes effort and time. One thing we need to realise is that you do not have a right to punish your son for a behaviour until you have instructed him previously about the behaviour and you have also extended grace to him. It is difficult but I believe at the long run and especially in this generation, having the time to parent our sons will yield a positive result more than bringing out the rod, cane or belt to beat or flog each time they misbehave.

My position about beating is summarised below;

  1. It should be done out of love if you must and if you have to.
  2. It should be minimal and controlled.
  3. It shouldn’t be done out of anger.
  4. It should be used as the last resort when all else has failed.
  5. If you live in a country where beating is not allowed, don’t be a law breaker.

It is important that we put effort in parenting our sons. To train them up in the way they should go so they can become who God has created them to be.

Why are you shouting?

When my 1st son was much younger probably before he turned 3 years old. He used to ask his grandma – my mum anytime she raised her voice, ‘Grandma, why are you shouting?’ He used to ask the question very innocently. Rewind back to when I was much younger, I and my siblings used to tease my mum about our grandma. She could shout for Africa and we sincerely hoped my mum wouldn’t learn to shout like her mum. Your guess is as good as mine whether that hope was dashed or not.

Fast forward to decades later, I have unconsciously become a yeller – is that not what they call it now?

I once read that people shout when there is a wall separating them. Those whose hearts are knitted, with no wall standing between them only need to whisper. So, if you are shouting, does it mean there is a wall between and your children or spouse as the case may be? Wall could be your lack of understanding of how to communicate with that son. Are you really listening to him? Because by listening, you will understand your and know the best way to communicate with him. Sometimes, you may need to cast down every imaginations and every high thing in the place of prayer to be able to communicate effectively.

It’s important we mind the way we use our words on our sons and daughters because our words have tremendous power to break or make them. The people of Solomon Islands understands this. I read that to fell a great tree, they yell on the tree daily and after 30 days of cursing and yelling enough negative energy would have been generated to bring the tree down. I don’t know how true the story about Solomon Islands is but one thing is sure yelling is counter productive to you and your sons.

If you have trained them to only obey you when you have yelled, please re-train them to obey you while you are whispering. You don’t have to raise your voice to prove any point.

I am going to start a no yelling challenge with my boys. No yelling, just talking and whispering…lol. Who will join me?

 

Are you your son’s confidant?

Apart from being a mother, we have many other roles to play in our sons’ lives

One of this role or function is that of a confidant. A confidant is a trusted friend that you can talk to about personal or private things. A confidant is available, approachable and honest. This is one function that we cannot afford to handle with levity because you cannot really trust people to be honest with your children the way you will be.

As for me, I want to be able to win the trust of my son to the extent that he’s free to talk to me about his fears, struggles and victories. I want to be his first choice when he needs advice. I want to be able to guide him, counsel and pray for him. I want to be able to watch him grow to become a responsible man who is able to makes his decision without me.

Just like any other role, we need to prepare ourselves for it. I will highlight few below.
1. One way is by listening to him when he’s talking. There is a time that your son wants to tell you everything and ask all the questions. Make sure you are listening well. Give him the attention.

2. Be honest in answering his questions. If he knows you are sincere with him at all times whether in providing answers to his questions, telling him to wait till a more conducive time when you can engage in a meaningful conversation. If he knows you are not just dismissive, he will most likely keep coming to you both now and in the years ahead.

3. Understand your son. Know how he communicates. The secret to this is to listen attentively. Don’t jump into conclusion. Be patient. Be empathic.

4. Pray for him too. Pray for the right people to be in his life. Frustrate the counsel of Ahitophel in his life. Pray that he will not derailed by negative peer influence. Pray that he will not go to the wrong places for answers to life’s questions.

Don’t forget to build trust.
You need God’s wisdom too.

Are you your sons confidant? How did you get there? What worked for you? Let’s discuss so we can all learn.

Can God count on you?

Genesis 18:19

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord , to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Genesis 18:19 KJV

Yes, I’ve settled on him as the one to train his children and future family to observe God ’s way of life, live kindly and generously and fairly, so that God can complete in Abraham what he promised him.”
Genesis 18:‬19 MSG

God chose Abraham as the progenitor of faith because He knew he could count on him to train his children and household the way of the Lord.

I believe God has chosen us to be the one to raise the seeds He has put in our care.He prequalified us. We have all that it takes. His divine power has given us all that pertain to life and godliness 2 Peter 1 : 3. He is counting on me and you to perform and we can! Let His testimony about Abraham be true for you. God is counting on you!

What do you do when you feel inadequate?

1. Ask for help. Titus 2 : 3-4 talks about older women teaching the younger women to love their children. Ask God to send help to you. There is someone somewhere who has passed through what you are currently going through.

2. Ask for wisdom. God has said we should ask him if we lack it.

3. Research. Read articles. Read books.

4. Most importantly, pray. Pray when you know what to do. Pray when you don’t know what to do. Pray.

Have a blessed week!