Last month I wrote about my newly-turned 16 year old girl's birthday with a few reflections on how God wired her (and just how blessed I am to be her Mom!). I did not go into incredible detail, but made reference to her toddler years -- as in, the not-at-all-easy toddler, preschool and early childhood years.
Today, my daughter is a wonderful, beautiful teen whose character has grown leaps and bounds. So far, she and I enjoy a relationship marked by lots of laughter and genuine companionship. We are good friends as well as mother and daughter.
But, before we ended up in this lovely place, there existed another place. One in which I would often wonder why I was debating with a three year old (or 5 year old, or...). For crying out loud, I AM the Mom!
Honestly, it wasn't a disobedience issue. It wasn't that she ignored me, refused to follow authority, or anything like that. Most importantly, it certainly wasn't solved by any typical parenting tips or tricks. In those days, I was an emotionally weary Mama.
We both laugh now as I share stories from those years, but it was FAR from funny then.
Mom, can you relate?
Perhaps you are blessed with such a child, such a brilliant and vibrant personality. Maybe you are wondering where you have gone wrong in parenting or where to go next. I wish a step-by-step plan could be be offered to you today, but I don't have that. However, I might be able to relate to your struggle and certainly can offer words of hope!
A few heart encouragements today:
Remember you will be equipped for this journey
You may not have every mothering tool necessary right now to handle the situation, but if you ask, it will be given to you. God will supply what you need, just when you need it. You are never alone.
Remember your child is a gift
Amen? Speak it, say it, believe it....because it's true.
Learn from the journey of others
We need to pray and ask God for wisdom. Often, he can use the experiences of others to give insight into our own. Read some books, talk to other trusted friends, share with your spouse. Don't sit inside your own mind!
Stay consistent (but stay open).
Your child may push and push sometimes just to test things out! Keep clear and consistent in age-appropriate expectations, but also keep open to changing the way you do things. You will likely need to!
Focus on relationship
It will be too easy to make everything a battle, a struggle, a debate of some sort with these types of children. Yes, you are the Mom. Yes, you are the boss. But this child also needs your love, not just your discipline. Be sure to focus on intentional relationship-building which fills the emotional tank of your little one. It's SO worth it!
I trust and believe God will use my daughter's feistiness for his ultimate glory if she allows him the honor. I believe the same for your children and for your mothering. Don't give in or give up Mom!
Any other thoughts to add?
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