Regrets and parenting seem to go hand in hand. Many of us wish we had a “do-over” button to handle it better next time. Jonathan McKee knows the feeling. Jonathan elaborates on one of the top changes he would make given the opportunity: pick your battles.
“There were so many times where there was battles fought in my house where I, like so many other parents, looked back 5-10 minutes later and went, oh man, did I really need to say that? Was I too harsh? Why did I even go down that road?”
He reminds us that so often we get caught up in the moment and lose sight of the battle we are fighting in the first place. We can even blow a situation completely out of proportion if we aren’t careful.
“We need to learn to sometimes pick our battles and for sure monitor our reactions. Sometimes the way we respond is worse than the original infraction. We make it worse than something that was just brushing teeth.”
If we find ourselves in the same battle over and over again but aren’t seeing any victory, it may be an indication that we’re fighting a battle that isn’t worth our time and energy. Jonathan shares an example,
“My friend Gary came up to me and said, ‘Jonathan, every time my daughter finishes taking a shower, she throws her towel in the corner of her room while she’s getting ready. We say, don’t forget to put the towel away, and the next day another towel will be there.’”
“He says, ‘If I don’t say anything, 12 days later there will be 12 towels in a pile! What do I do? Because I need to teach her responsibility in this moment!’
While we are in the moment, we are encouraged to pause and reflect on the bigger picture.
“Is your daughter doing her homework? Is she making good choices? Does she love God? Is she smoking pot in the living room? You’ll get the answer to these different questions and you’ll find out… she’s actually doing really good.”
“Then hand her a box of Tide and say, ‘Guess what? It’s time for you to do your own laundry, because apparently you don’t know how to put towels away,’ and then let it go, walk away, and sometimes we need to learn how to do that, especially in the moment.”
Parenting may not come with a “do-over” button, but God always offers us a fresh start. As parents, we need to be able to let go of certain situations, monitor our response, and pick our battles wisely.
Jonathan McKee has 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide. He is the author of over twenty books including If I Had a Parenting Do-Over: 7 Vital Changes I'd Make, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid, and the Amazon “Best Seller,” The Guy’s Guide to God, Girls and the Phone In Your Pocket.Strategies for effective parenting