The Best Way To Manage Irresponsible Kids

Wouldn't it be lovely to know that our kids did everything they were asked and were never irresponsible? I agree. But, let's get to that more in a moment.....

Today, each of us woke up with a specific spirit or attitude that will set the tone for our lives, our homes, and even our relationships with the Lord. 

What mood did you greet today with when you first woke up? Dread? Fear? Anxiety? Optimism? Joy? Weariness? Refreshment? Irritation?

This morning, as I made way to the bathroom sink, I saw what you see in the photo below. As you may have guessed, that's toothpaste stuck to the inside of the sink bowl.

I have talked many times to my kids about rinsing the sink out if they leave toothpaste there when they brush their teeth. But guess what? They still walk away leaving the sink like this at times!

I could, in this moment, let my eyes narrow, march down the hallway, and chastise my son for his mess. I could, perhaps, put on an attitude of resentment and wonder why no one EVER listens to me and ask them if I am their maid, throwing in a tone of self-pity and martyrdom. I could just clean it up myself allowing all the little things of the day get to me until I explode later.

Or, I could smile. I could see the toothpaste in the sink, not as an act of defiance but as evidence that my kids are obeying me in the greater thing--they are BRUSHING THEIR TEETH WITHOUT ME EVER ASKING! Hallelujah!!

I could think to myself that perhaps, in their immaturity, they need a gentle reminder about cleaning the sink out while they are at it. I could walk down the hallway and say:

"Son, I want you to know how much I appreciate that you brush your teeth every morning without me asking. I'm SO thankful for you and how responsible you are!" And later, when we both happen to be near the bathroom, I could kindly point out the toothpaste in the sink and I could smile lovingly and say, "Buddy, you know how much I love that you brush your teeth, but let's work on wiping the sink out too. Okay?"

The Bible affirms this idea:

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22)

It's all about the spirit in which we choose to see the everyday triggers around us. Are they moments and situations that cause us to sin in unrighteous or inappropriate anger, or are they OPPORTUNITIES as Wendy Speake and I talk about in our book, Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses, for us to grow in our own Fruit of the Spirit first--like being gentle, patient, and kind?

For me, I'm loving this dirty sink today! I'm SO thankful for clean teeth and my sweet boys who still have some training to do. I get to be the one to keep "coaching them along" on their path toward becoming the responsible and godly men God desires them to be. What a joy!!

 It's all in how we look at it. We can be triggered or we can be triumphant!

Let's put on a spirit that reflects the Fruit of the Spirit today. Let's search for and root out the good in our circumstances, knowing that God's plans for us are for our good, to prosper us and not to harm us. Let's allow that truth to put a spring in our step, and breathe life into our children!

Let's thank God for dirty sinks and clean teeth!

YOUR TURN! What's the tone of your day today? How can you make it a day you can rejoice in? What situation came up that you may need to rethink or approach differently next time so that you are living out the Fruit of the Spirit in your life and as a mom? What are you thankful for today?


Amber Lia

A former high school English teacher, Amber is a work-at-home mom of 4 little boys under the age of 10. She is the best-selling author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, say Something New. She and her husband Guy own Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach, or searching for Nerf darts all over her house, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at Mother of Knights (