Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, there can be seasons when it seems like there’s an argument brewing every time you turn around.
But you have more ability than you realize to keep peace on the home front.
As I was writing When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, I included some practical ways that we, as parents, can choose our battles wisely and diffuse some arguments so we’re not constantly in a war-zone with our children. But I realized recently, that these peace-making principles can apply to ANY relationship. That’s probably because our battles can be intensified or diffused altogether based on how we choose to react to others.
Whether you’re going head-to-head with your teenager, spouse, or anyone else, these steps can help you bring calm to an otherwise chaotic situation:
1. Don’t overreact. It’s easy to think the worst at times and overreact to a situation by jumping to a conclusion based on too little information. To react emotionally, rather than rationally and maturely, tends to escalate a discussion into a battle, no matter who is involved. This is where James 1:19 is so appropriate, especially in the heat of the battle: “But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” By slowing down to listen thoroughly, we can keep ourselves from over-reacting.
2. Don’t lose your cool. Our volume and energy level can escalate or eliminate a battle in the making. After many situations of completely blowing it in this area with my daughter when she was a teenager, I have learned to say a quick prayer in the heat of the moment: “God, help me to respond in a way that will draw a gentle and loving response from her.” When I put the emotional thermometer in my lap and make it my responsibility, it’s amazing how well that will diffuse or eliminate a battle, altogether.
3. Don’t let your pride get in the way. If you find that you are in a “fighting all the time” phase with a child, spouse, or someone else, it may be that another issue is involved. I learned early on in my marriage that if I am triggered into an argument or a defensive position, there is likely an issue of pride in my life. Unhealthy pride. The kind that says “Who are YOU to talk to ME that way?” Pride also says “I am not going to let this person think this way about me.” Pride can also rear its ugly head when we think: I’ve had it. I’m not going to take this anymore! I’m not talking about responding to issues of emotional, verbal, or physical abuse. Nor am I talking about responding to disrespect from a child. I am referring to discussions or arguments with others that go sour because our feathers get ruffled and our pride gets hurt. There are times we need to die to ourselves and depend on God to calm our hearts.
It takes an incredible amount of self control and trust in God to give up our need to defend ourselves. It is not a sign of weakness to back down from a fight. In fact, Romans 12:18 tells us: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Which step will you take to diffuse a battle that is knocking at your door?
When A Mom Inspires Her Daughter