Pick Your Battles

“Pick your battles.”  This was important advice from mom and dad while growing up.  I didn’t realize that I would need this advice more than ever as a parent.  I am learning -more and more as my kids get older – that picking your battles is an act of patience and love.

Picking Your Battles with Your Children

I have a 7-year-old daughter that is quickly growing-up and becoming independent.  I have heard for a long time that girls are scary as they get older and turn into teenagers.  I thought I had at least a few more years before my sweet little girl developed a hormonal teenager, but I have had my fair share of emotional outbursts lately that leave me with my eyebrows raised and a little speechless.

I don’t know if this is a “just me” thing – I’m guessing not – but there is a lot of trial and error as a parent.  Especially with your first child.  One thing I’ve struggled with is appropriate amount of discipline and having my kids help around the house.

I will often let the kids play with their friends before cleaning their room.  I like when I can hear my kids outside, being active, laughing and happy so I would often times rather they have a messy room than not play with their friends.  Sometimes I just don’t want to deal with the arguing and negotiating and so I don’t even make it an issue.  I am learning that this have fun now, work later philosophy is probably not the best approach.

Over the last year we have been increasingly requiring more help around the house.  We haven’t determined the best system yet (how much help is expected, when it needs to be done, incentives, etc.), but we’re starting to figure it out. The kids have been surprisingly receptive to assuming some household responsibility.  It is definitely not a “queue the music, hugs and kisses” moment, but it hasn’t been a “death and destruction, end of the world” moment either.

I have enjoyed seeing the sense of pride they have in helping to contribute.  I try to make it a “we’re all in this together” time.  When it is time to do laundry, we all sit down and work on it together.  When it is time to clean-up dinner, we all pick up our dishes and help straighten up.  By doing it together no one feels like they are carrying the burden themselves.

Picking Your Battles Shows Patience and Love

One of my goals for our family is to have less yelling and contention.  I think one way to minimize the yelling and contention is to eliminate some of the battles that are occurring.

One thing that helps me work on goals is to have reminders.  Otherwise, the goal gets lost in the shuffle of the million other things you are thinking about as a parent.  One way I like to remind myself of goals is to have inspirational quotes and thoughts displayed in key locations throughout the house.  I have been using my fridge as a reminder board of my goals with some inspirational quotes.

Right now I have a printable on our fridge that reminds me that things will work out and I need to stay strong and continue carrying forward.  The other printable I have on the fridge reminds me that time is our most valuable resource and I show love to those things which I spend my time.

I made a new printable to remind me to pick my battles.  This one is definitely going on the fridge.

Pick Your Battles – Free Printable Download


  1. JIm says

    Trial and error on my first child produced a wonderful daughter and mother. Reading posts like this makes me proud to be your dad – and i’m impressed with how great of a mother you are to your own children. I’m constantly amazed at how you handle all things family and church, as well as a demanding full time job – and a wonderful site called Makoodle!


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