As a parent I try, perhaps too much, to address the root issue rather than just the symptoms.
Bad behavior and poor choices are symptoms of a hurting heart.
I have found it helpful to use word pictures, and as often as possible real objects to draw out what is in the heart of my children.
This day I only used words. We’ll likely do it again and I’ll try to get pictures.
During our devotion time, on a morning far from ideal, I led my children something like this.
Take 5 minutes and imagine you are a cup. Inside of you, your cup is everything you think and feel right now.
God is holding out his hands, cupped together. Pour your cup into his hands. Give him everything. You can talk to him, you can write it down, or draw if you want to.
After the 5 minutes I continued.
Ask God to fill your cup with himself, his Spirit, his truth, his strength for the day. Again you can write down or draw anything he shows you or tells you.
One of my children was still not on track for a better day. I asked if they had poured out their cup.
I did but some stuff stayed in there.
We talked through what it was – a hurt unforgiven and grief.
Grief seems so hard to pour out because it just comes back and you begin to wonder if you ever poured it out at all. I guess that’s why I like to write it down.
We talked about how letting it go gives more room for grace.
God can only fill the empty places. Only God can fill the empty places completely, eternally.
I shared a little different take on pouring out in previous post.