“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” C. S. Lewis
I wish I had written down all of the things that I used to believe about parenting so that after having 3 kids I could have something humorous to laugh about when things get a little crazy up in here. Isn’t it true that we believe some pretty ridiculous ideas concerning how to parent a child? Most of these ideas start with…
“I would never do _____.”
“I can’t believe anyone would _____.”
“I am certain I would _____.”
Like I said, ridiculous.
For one, it reeks of judgment. And secondly, these statements are spoken in ignorance.
I used to think that because I worked with children before I had kids, I would have an upper hand on what to do as a parent. Sorry, Charlie, it doesn’t work that way.
After having my first child, I learned quickly certain “techniques” worked well and others … not so much. I subscribed to the “do what you need to do to survive” theory for a LOT of my son’s first year. He was colicky, and he was THE FIRST CHILD. You know what I mean! We’re all a little crazy with the first one, but we learn and they survive, and we become a little less crazy after the second one is born. I did whatever worked for my son and for me, and he seems to be turning out okay. 😉
Now I knew that I had some ridiculous ideas about what parenting a child would look like, and I knew that every child would be different, but I wasn’t prepared for the reality that I may have to parent my two children in two separate ways. I’m still trying to figure this out, so if you’ve come to read some inspirational and new technique for parenting your kids, I must apologize. I do believe that knowing is half the battle! I know that my 3 sons all have different personalities, and one of them most definitely has a different personality from my own!
So here’s what has helped me:
- Am I parenting from my own personality and trying to force my way onto a child with a different personality (when his way may be fine)? Is it worth the battle?
- Example: I want you to clean your room. Here are the boxes. Cars go here. Trains go here. Dinosaurs go here. Clothes go here. (MY WAY)
- (HIS WAY) I will clean but I don’t care about your boxes. At least I’m picking up, right?
- Am I learning to appreciate my child’s differences from me rather than being frustrated that he’s different?
- He is passionate and wears his emotions on his sleeve and this is good because he can learn to be passionate about something that truly matters.
- Am I casting a vision for my child, seeing the positive side of his personality rather than being fixated on the negative?
- Positive: knows what he wants, has a strong will thus a strong leadership capability, doesn’t back down easily
- Negative: stubborn, strong-willed, argumentative
- Am I intentionally speaking truth into his life rather than taking the easy road and ordering him to obey?
- When he yells “no, I’m not going to listen to you!” for the 15th time while in line at Target, I may respond quietly and then let the teachable moment happen later when I talk to him about how God is going to do great things in his life but having that kind of attitude is not respectful to me or beneficial to him.
- Or I might just threaten him with a spanking and argue back that he’s being rude and to stop interrupting me (which usually just escalates the yelling).
- Have I realized that I can’t do everything perfectly and still need help? Am I praying for my child’s heart and not just his behavior? Could it be that there is a spiritual battle going on and what I really need to do is ask for God’s protection over him and for God to work in his life?
What I know for certain is that I am a different person than who I was before I had children. They are not setbacks or inconveniences in my life. God has used them to refine me more than I’d like to admit! They are a blessing from the Lord. A heritage.
And I’m going to keep reminding myself of this every time it feels less than peaceful in my home.