A busy father comes home from work hoping to relax with his wife and enjoy his children. Instead, he walks into a land mine of relational issues. Children are bickering and Mom is frazzled. Even the dog has retreated to a quieter room in the house. Likewise, a mom comes home from work wanting to share a couple of interesting stories with her family only to find that, instead, everyone wants a piece of her.
When you hit those challenging moments in family life, how do you respond? You probably have certain routines you use in conflict situations or when you're stressed or upset. One mom tells us, "I call it my 'take charge mode.' I just start taking control of everything, giving orders, solving problems, and managing people. Unfortunately, I don't always do it in a gracious way. I become more interested in reestablishing my authority than in building relationships." A dad admitted, "When things get tense in my home, I retreat. I know that's not the best but it's the way I've always responded to conflict."
When things get tense in your home, step back for a moment and evaluate the patterns that have developed. One of the ways to change those patterns is to see the routines that you use when you’re under pressure. It's amazing what happens when just one person begins to change. A whole family can change a pattern, but it all starts when someone decides to relate a little differently.
We all know that children function best with routines in their schedule. They also benefit from learning good relational routines. If you will take the time to teach children how to respond well to instruction or correction and then practice those healthy routines, you will not only make family life easier but you will teach your children something they will use in relationships for the rest of their lives.