We have all been there… the battle of the wills in parenting a child; whether it’s coming face to face with a child who decides to be completely disobedient or encountering a highly demanding or stubborn child. Like most Moms, you too may be at your wits end, stuck in this parenting role with no more solutions to get your child to change their behavior or their bad choices.
I want to be a Mom who parents with a gentle, tender, and calm spirit but I find when my child exhibits the same negative traits such as laziness, stubbornness, manipulation, and dishonesty for the 100th time (and the list could surely go on), I parent out of frustration and complete astonishment that we are revisiting the same behavior I have been correcting this child on for some time. And before I know it, my voice is raised and we both end up with defensive attitudes and the dialogue that happens becomes more about arguing and who will get the last word rather than resolving the situation.
During these moments, I can feel a wall rise up and take a strong position between us resulting with my child and I divided against each other instead of the two of us coming together and communicating with love, grace and mercy. This is not the Mom I want to be so I have to ask myself who really needs to change…. my child or me? The answer to that question is we both need to change but the truth is I, as the parent, need to change first before I expect my child to make changes. Instead of drawing from the principles and practices demonstrated in the bible on how to parent, we immediately unleash our feelings of anger and frustration which results in raising our voices, putting our foot down, demanding our children stop the behavior or else, and silencing their voices from being part of the conversation.
I truly believe our children do not personally seek to insult, disobey and disrespect us just as we don’t personally seek to parent out of anger and frustration. They, just like us, are battling their sinful nature even though they may not realize what is happening. This is why God’s perfect will is for children to have parents. We have the amazing role to love and nurture them and gently take hold of their hands to guide and teach them in the ways they should go so when they are older they will not depart from it. “God’s plan is for us to parent as He, our Father in heaven, parents us.” Without applying biblical truth to our parenting and letting Him guide us, our emotions will always take precedence creating a tug of war between what we want to do rather than what we know we should do.
I am still learning but I do know no amount of lecturing, raised voices, demanding attitudes towards our children or harsh punishments for them will result in long term changes to our children’s behavior if we don’t learn how to do the following three things:
First, model the behavior we want our children to have. Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” I cannot expect my child to exhibit Godly traits if I am not demonstrating the very traits I want my child to have.
Second, reach the heart of our children. Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Sometimes I can get so preoccupied with the negative behavior that I miss reaching the heart of my child and the reason for the negative behavior. I must make a connection between the behavior and their heart. I can do this by involving them in the conversation, helping them see the sin in the bad behavior, and see God’s truth in the right behavior.
Last, Pray. I need to pray that God will give me wisdom and continue to guide me in my parenting, teaching me to model Godly traits to my child and softening their hearts to receive biblical instruction and Godly truths. Deuteronomy 6: 1 “These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.”
Keep going, my parenting friend! It’s never too late to start modeling the behavior you want your children to have, to reach their hearts by connecting biblical truths to behavior and to pray for God’s wisdom to lead and guide you! Don’t get disheartened. I have a feeling you are doing better than you think. You are not alone in this parenting journey! Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Hello and Welcome!
Wife, Mother, Adoption Advocate, Writer
Who am I? Galatians 2:20 does a great job of summing up who I am. My life is His, the One who loves me and gave Himself for me . In return, I want to be all He wants me to be and do all He wants me to do on this side of Heaven.
Recipient of the Angels in Adoption Award 2016. A program of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington D.C.