Last week I wrapped up the summer pilot of a mom-to-mom coaching program called The Cranky Mom Fix. Twenty-seven women joined me on an exploration of Bible-based solutions for taming the momster within. Our group spanned ages, stages, time zones and even continents, yet one thing we all had in common?
Our kids drive us nuts.
Oh, we love them, of course. And we moms take full responsibility for our own grouchiness. Yet certain triggers can more easily conjure the crank, and we discovered that for all of us, bickering topped the list.
So how can we manage bickering and whining in a way that honors God (i.e., without blowing up)? Well, like the Bible says—with scripture.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
Here are three creative ways of using Scripture to quell the bickering, courtesy of my Cranky Mom Fix participants:
1. WWJS—When a sibling makes a nasty remark, ask him or her: “Would Jesus say that about you?” Or “Would Jesus say that about your sister/brother?” Of course the answer is usually “no.” Then follow up with, “Well, what would He say”? This gives the kids a chance to reinforce their worth in Christ, such as, “He would say I’m beautiful and special and I do not smell like poop.”
2. Misquote—As a family, memorize Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is always there to help you.” When the children act unkind to each other, misquote the verse on purpose. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is always there to hit you.” Right? Then allow the kids to correct you, which will lead them to acknowledge their misbehavior.
3. Complaining Jar—Philippians 2:14 says, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” So implement a complaining jar! Every time a child persists in complaining, he must put a coin of his own money into the jar. At the end of the month, give the money to church or charity. If you’re brave, make it a family jar. Mom and Dad ought to cough up the change when necessary, too. Imagine how this could impact your household!
Above all, be sure never to make Jesus a killjoy. These may be just a few examples of how we can use Scripture to teach and correct, but be sure to use it daily to praise and celebrate, too.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16, ESV).