Behaving Inappropriately

My children mis-behave. All 6 of them.

They run in Walmart. They wrestle in Target. They fight with each other. They give me attitude.

Yes, we are loud as we pass through life. Yes, not everyone is using their indoor voice. Yes, that was my son who just tried to vault over the counter top.

And, yes, you saw me ignore it.

The thing is, I have a reason for this.

Before we completed our adoption, we were required to take 25 hours of online parenting classes. And read approximately 752 books on parenting theories. And watch videos of interactions between a PhD and the adopted children she works with.

No, we do not know what we are doing! In fact, most days, I question myself over and over again. Am I ruining my children? Am I teaching them the life skills that they need to learn? Am I choosing the right behaviors to fix and the right ones to ignore?

But, we do have a reason behind the parenting decisions we make.

Reason #1 – We need to build a connection with our children.

Think, for a minute, about your relationship with God. Why do you strive to obey Him? Is it because you are afraid of His punishment? Or is it because you love Him and want to do what is right?

I want my children to obey me because they love me. I want them to obey because they know it is right.

And so I start with love.

I build connections. 100 different ways. 1,000 times over. Again and again and again. I have to teach them how to love me. I have to teach them how to accept my love.

And I have to teach the reasons behind their obedience. I don’t want them to obey because they are afraid of the coming punishment. I want the obedience to be rooted in their heart change.

“When we shift our perspective from the outward to the inward, from rules to relationships, our parenting will change.” ~ Leslie Fields, Parenting Is Your Highest Calling and Eight Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt

Reason #2 – There are SO MANY bad behaviors, I can’t correct all of them.

This sounds horrible. But it is so true.

If I corrected every single bad behavior that my children exhibited, there would be no room for love to flourish.

So, instead, I pick my battles. And I pray that I am picking the right ones.

Reason #3 – My focus is on heart change, not on the appearance of good behavior.

This is a hard one. I know I am often guilty of parenting my children in public based on the idea in my head that Someone is watching me. Someone expects me to address this behavior. I am so embarrassed that Someone is seeing my child act like this!

But – Someone can’t see into my child’s heart. Only God can. And my goal is to create a fertile landscape where seeds of everlasting truth can take root and grow to fruition.

Our family is in a season of transition. Maybe even a lifetime of it. And this transition is messy and loud and oh-so-un-perfect. I know that I need grace over and over again. Grace from my God. Grace from my children. Grace from my husband. And grace from all of you.

I am sorry if my children act inappropriately. I am sorry if I act inappropriately.

Please know that we are all doing the very best we can.



4 thoughts on “Behaving Inappropriately

  1. Kiera

    Natalie, know this one thing, you.are.amazing! AWE.inspiring!
    If someone even dared to judge your parenting they just have no idea! Your wisdom is so filled with God’s love! ~Kiera

  2. Merri Mattly

    I love this! 5 of my 7 are adopted and I can totally relate to this. It actually gave me a big sigh of relief aand a big smile on my face that I’m not the only one 🙂

  3. Lisa

    🙂 I love to hear the ways that God is guiding you. 🙂 It is an inspiration.
    I’d be curious to know which parenting book is your fav.

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