Pick your battles with care
If you try to fight all the little battles in your home, you won’t have the strength to fight the ones that really matter.
In my book, Parenting With Courage, I expand on this in the chapter called “My personal parenting toolkit”. Every parent should have a personal toolkit – a way that they parent that is particularly unique to their specific family.
In this chapter, I used our own story about my daughter cutting her hair when she was 4 years-old. Emily has always loved fashion and style. A few days before, I had been to the hair salon and cut my hair. Do you remember those days when your children wanted to be like you in every way? Well that was the stage.
We had friends around for dinner that weekend and my daughter was decidedly quiet. Now, when a young child is quiet, parents know that they are usually up to something. I walked upstairs and there stood Emily, with a very guilty look on her face, a pair of scissors in hand and chopped hair. She had the most beautiful long hair, but now, it was chopped into a scraggly bob. When I discovered what happened, I had to escape to the bathroom to suppress a giggle and then emerge with a serious tone.
You see, my husband and I, had decided previously, that hair cutting was not a life or death issue in our home. We decided that we would fight the battles in raising them around the issues of integrity, purity, honesty and character. I told Emily in a firm tone that she can cut her hair anytime she likes, but that she needed to go to a hair stylist to do it properly. We didn’t discipline her but had a firm and loving conversation – and giggles behind the door. To this day, we joke about her cutting her hair into a bob with a very short fringe.
Each family should decide on the battles of the heart that they will take a stand on. Don’t fight every little issue. If you do that, you will protect your relationship with your child and it will make your life so much easier.
How to pick the battles that matter:
- Set time aside with your partner to discuss your family values.
- Use those values as a guide to decide what are the bigger battles you will address as your children grow.
- Decide together what can you let go of or look over. Each family is different so don’t put pressure on your family to parent the same as someone else.
- Maintain a sense of humour as you consider this issue.
- Remind yourself of this as you parent your children.
Choose your battles in your home wisely. After all, life isn’t measured by how many times you fought with your child. It’s not about you winning, but about how many times you chose to look at your child and remember the bigger story. Life is too short to spend it on clashes with your children over little issues. As a mom or dad, choose to fight only the most important ones and learn to let the rest go. This is the way of love.