I’m confident that when Matt and I are 78 and 79 we will say:
” We are still trying to figure out this parenting thing.”
But you know what, he gives us the grace we need for each situation . Do you have a child that you are having a difficult time relating to? Ah, me too.
Can I just say one thing… It’s not YOUR fault that you are having a hard time with a particular child. It’s just like any relationship, you have to work at it. You both equally need to feel loved. People have this misconception that as soon as your beautiful , screaming newborn child is born you will automatically feel this bond. Sometimes this isn’t the case. Sometimes you have to work at it.
And that’s ok.
When Asher was born I didn’t get to hold him or touch him for the first few minutes of his life. In fact he didn’t cry or move . He was blue from the cord being wrapped around his middle. After what seemed like eternity he cried and I was able to hold him. I knew nothing about breast feeding or the importance of skin to skin. I was newly 20 years young and exhausted and afraid. It took a long time to get him to nurse.
The first night at home in our tiny apartment with him I couldn’t get him to stop crying. He wouldn’t nurse, he wouldn’t let me console him. Sitting there in a heap on my sofa I wept. I held my first screaming baby up and literally said aloud :
” Well, what do I do with you?”
I remember this overwhelming feeling of responsibility. His life was in my hands and it was my job to FEED him? But Lord, I have bleeding boobs and my crotch is on fire. It’s my job to take care of his every need, and THEN make sure he grows up to love you? Just then , at at least 2 am my sweet babe walks in the living room, takes the wailing child from my hands and tells me to go to bed.
Don’t worry, I eventually figured out this being a mother thing and Asher and I bonded. He had a beautiful babyhood. Always nursing and eventually weighed more than his Mother . 😉
I thought having babies was hard, then Asher turned five. This whole new realm of parenting has begun and I’m kinda in over my head. I’m at the place right now during our everyday activities that I want him to see the consequences of bopping his sister in the head with his sword, or lying to me about not putting the toilet seat up when he pees.
Yesterday Rhema was doing so well with potty training after 17 years of us trying to get her to go. I decided after much prayer to bribe the child to go. Jk , I had been trying to bribe her for at least a year. Finally she went and I had to keep my end of the bargain. Target is always a favorite of my kids because I let them choose a dollar section toy in order to keep them entertained long enough for me to pick through the clearance section. It’s an art.
Right before we left I saw Asher push Rhema down to get to a toy before first. Of course Rhema comes running and crying her story. Asher has just now started to be dishonest and I’m learning how to deal with it as I go.
“Asher, did you push your sister?”
“Ok, you’re lying to me. ”
“No! I’m not! ”
“Ok, it makes me really sad when you lie. Your punishment is no slushie at Target.”
If you were watching from afar you would have probably thought the boy had fire ants in his pants. Or I was trying to castrate him. He started running around the mini van screaming how mad he was at me. I stood there with my arms crossed and told him I was waiting until he was finished with his fit, then we would go. This lasted at least five minutes. When he acts Iike this I always ask the Holy Spirit how to respond.
::You’re showing him consequences for his actions.::
Yeah, I know but can you put a mute button on his mouth?
::Ok now show him grace for his mistake.::
I grabbed him kicking and screaming and sat on the ground with him. I explained why lying is a big deal and why it makes Jesus sad. Things he already has learned but it’s hard to remember when you’re five and feeling very dominant in your manhood when your baby sister messes up your fort.
I explained again that Jesus died on the cross for us , he knew we would lie sometimes and he knew he would forgive us every time.
“Asher, I forgive you for lying to me.”
” So I can get a slushie?”
Now before you stone me , hear me out. There are several occasions where I stick to my guns . I go through with the punishment I threatened and the kids aren’t happy about it. But in this case, and with Asher’s attitude lately he needed to see grace for his actions. It’s hard being an older brother with a dominant personality with two younger sometimes antagonizing sisters.
That’s why it’s always important to ask The Lord how we should handle our children’s disobedience. He will tell us.
We do spank. We do use time out. We do take away activities.
But we are trying to effectively discipline . Get to the root of their disobedience instead of masking it with a spanking.
Heck I wish my consequence for sinning as an adult was a spanking.
It’s over in 3 seconds. But our consequences as an adult aren’t that simple. That’s why I want our children to understand that our choices are huge in the arena of our lives.
But most importantly that he can redeem our bad choices because he wants to.