He waited patiently…
…while his parents scolded his younger brother.
Kelsey finished her homework early while her mom argued with her brother, trying to get him to start his homework. Barry watched his parents head out to the police station to pick up his addicted sister again.
He got up from the table and loaded the dishwasher. Later, over the yelling downstairs, at bedtime, he read a page of the Bible and looked up at the ceiling… maybe tomorrow would be better.
Good kids are used to waiting to be noticed. What they really need from us are these 4 gifts…
1. Gift of Attention
Please don’t wait until your good son or daughter has to break rules or act out to be noticed. Just noticing them for what they do is probably not as good as noticing them for who they are. You will have to be intentional about doing this since they are used to being bypassed as you focus on the latest struggle with your more challenging teen.
2. Gift of Time
This is going to have to be planned. Other unplanned things like sitting outside the principal’s office, or sitting in the emergency room are more likely with your difficult child. If you plan things on their schedule doing things they love they will feel noticed and cared for.
3. Gift of Accountability
This may seem like it is coming from left field but consider this. Your good child may struggle with guilt. Their misbehaviour may not get noticed with all the commotion surrounding their brother or sister but they may have some that could grow to be a potential problem.
In my ministry I had good students confess to me all kinds of things that their parents were completely unaware of. They would never confess and break their parents hearts or shatter the image that they had worked to build. Also they felt if their parents new what they had done, they would lose all hope since they were already having so much trouble in the home.
4. Gift of Appreciation
We assume that not causing trouble comes naturally to good kids. Have you considered that their good behavior is their gift to you? They see how stressed, angry and frustrated you are with their sibling that they determine to be helpful, cooperative, and quiet. Recognize this as a gift and show appreciation in a way that really matters to them. You can give them privileges, gifts, and affection to let them know how much you value their help.
Good Kids Need to be Shown Just as Much Love
They may be patient. They may seem completely okay but they want our attention, time, appreciation, even accountability to know that they are loved. As we determine to never take their good behavior for granted there’s a greater chance that it will carry through right into their adult years.