Today we share a post written by three moms. One mom shares a concern and two other moms respond with caring love.
Concerned Mom with Questions
My middle daughter (age 4 )has a very determined spirit. She does not care about obedience unless she gets a reward or punishment. I try to give her extra attention. I try to use different disciplining techniques. I try to grab her and hold her when I am cooking so she can just be near me. I take her on special trips just with me so she knows she is loved. I try to encourage her good behavior. She can be very sweet but often I feel like its a struggle to complete even the simplest tasks with her. Because I don’t see any change in her I feel like I’m failing. Often, she pushes me away when I try to hug her. Is this just a phase? Will this get better? How can I help her?
Response From Loving Mentor Mom
Hang in there dear mama… there is hope and his name is Jesus! He is not surprised by your daughter’s behavior and He loves both of you with an everlasting love.
When our children present attitudes and behavior that are challenging it is tempting to see them (the child) as a problem that we need to fix instead of as people that we are called to love. Children sense this and a strong-willed child will push back with all her young might. This sets up a cycle of bad behavior on her part followed by a determination by you to fix the problem with various techniques. This will only motivate her to control the situation by acting out again.
While the strategies you are using with your daughter are good parenting practices they are not solutions in and of themselves. I suggest that you pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that you are struggling with in this situation. How do you feel when she is naughty? Angry? More determined than ever to “make” her obey? What about when she pushes you away? Rejected? Hurt? Is there any feeling of wanting to punish her by withholding your affection?
As loving moms we often don’t want to admit that we have negative feelings towards our children, but believe me when I say… we all do. Taking our wounded hearts to Jesus in the midst of our feelings of failure, helplessness, and frustration, to receive His forgiveness and healing, is the best way I know of to love our children well. Only after receiving from Him can we hope to minister grace to our little ones in the midst of their childish, sinful ways.
Wendy Munsell – http://www.blessedunravelling.com/about/
Loving Response From Our Friend
Dear Sweet Mama,
I hear such sweet, loving concern in your words, the unending love of a mother for her daughter. I hear the desperate cries of wanting something, anything to work because you want what’s best for her. I know these feelings so well, as I have walked miles in your shoes with one of my 6. I know how heart wrenching it is to try and try again, only to feel like you are running backwards. Let me promise you something, you are NOT failing. You are the absolute perfect mother for this child. I know this with absolute certainty because you were handpicked by the Creator of the Universe. He knows how well suited you are for this child.
Let me share both some practical advice and some spiritual wisdom I have garnered from raising a sweet one that challenges me on every level. First, come up with a set of house expectations with consequences for following and consequences for not. The consequences can be quite simple in both areas. Post them somewhere that is visible to all. Then don’t change them for one year. Follow through with the appropriate consequence every time and be certain that everyone else involved does as well. Do not worry about whether or not she is improving; just stay the course so she can sense consistency. Sometimes parenting is more about the journey than the destination. You may not arrive at the desired place for quite some time, but you don’t want to leave the path or you may as well run backwards. Just make things clear and love her through this…and pray. Pray over her at night when she sleeps, with her after a struggle, when she is scared, when she is brave. Pray Mama. Jesus heals all.
Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Notice that the scripture says “when he is old,” not as he grows or when he is young. The raising part can be overwhelming to a mama’s heart, but the promise is for later. Stay the course, pray, raise her in His word and she will not turn from it. Take care of you too, sweet mama. You have been chosen for Kingdom work.
Trusting in Him,
Brandy Hynes – brandyhynes.com