Have you ever noticed your child do or say something that was exactly like you? Weird isn’t it! Even when watching a newborn people will say things like, “Look, she made a face just like her dad!” or “He looks just like his mom when he does that!”
Spittin Image: Children Reflect Parents Behavior
If you were to look up the origin of the phrase “Spittin Image”, you would find lots of interesting facts. However, I think it all boils down to this: Children reflect their parent’s behavior. They are like sponges, constantly learning how to act and respond to their environment by watching us.
Our youngest son was barely talking when he picked up his first toy guitar. He would strum and play with enthusiasm, however there was just one thing wrong with his method. It looked like he was playing upside down and backwards. Then we realized it was a mirror image. Carter would sit with his guitar in front of his big brother while he was playing and reflect what he was seeing. Years later he still would strum with his left hand even though he is right handed.
Which comes first the splinter or the log?
So what is the point I am trying to make? It is much easier to see the splinter in someone else’s eye than the log in your own. If you want God to reveal and burn up the unwanted kindling in your life, then listen to and watch your kids. Their splinter will reveal your log because they are a reflection of you.
You can see yourself in your children by:
- The way they talk to each other
- How they respond in stressful situations
- How they feel about themselves
Reactions and Responses are Often Learned Behaviors
When David and I notice an unhealthy way our kids are responding, we have begun to first look at ourselves. We have agreed to, in a loving non-blaming way, examine ourselves. This task is very humbling and not so easy to do. If the behavior you are seeing is not either of you, then pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the mirror they are reflecting.
Some other mirrors your children may be reflecting are:
- A character in some sort of media they are spending time with.
Empower your children to make life style changes.
The ability to examine yourself without condemnation or pride is sort of like a superpower. Only the Holy Spirit can truly shine His light on our areas of weakness. We need to just humbly accept that no one is perfect and be thankful that God revealed to us a character trait, behavior, or habit that needs to be conformed to His image.
Here are some good things to keep in mind when helping your kids develop this skill as well.
- Discipline in Love.
- Don’t add fuel to the flame by responding in anger.
- Discuss the problem once the crisis is over. Don’t try to rationalize with an angry or over emotional child.
- Discuss what would cause someone to react that way and share a time when you did the same thing.
- Help them find a better way to deal with frustration.
- Practice “Stop and Rewind” – act out the same scenario with a different outcome.
- Changing Your Behavior
Looking for the Source
Now is the hard part and it begins with getting real honest with yourself. Where does this wrong behavior show up in your life?
- Do you play the blame game? (you blame your kids for being late for school when you were the one that wasn’t prepared.)
- Do you act out adversely (even in your thoughts) when your boss corrects something you have done or ask you to do extra?
- Do you get jealous when others receive favor?
- Do you gossip about others? (maybe disguised as a prayer request)
Pray over the list of the works of the flesh in GALATIANS 9 and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything in you that is hidden. Practice allowing Him to replace those works with the fruit of His Spirit.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.
Remember, as you change your behavior to be more like Christ, you will notice your children looking and acting more like Him too.
Blessings from our family to yours,