Raising kids is such a blessing.
I am amazed daily at what my children are capable of and how wonderful they are! But, like every parent, there are times that I just want to pull my hair out or just go hide under the covers in my bed.
I know parents who have multiple kids and wonder “How do they do that?” I especially admire parents of twins! Yes, I have more than one child, but they are so far apart in age that it is like having only one.
My son will be 20 at the end of this year. As soon as the year turns, my daughter turns 7. That is a really big difference!
I will be honest. Compared to my daughter, my son was easy! Even though I was a single mom most of his life, somehow he was easier to parent.
Don’t get me wrong! I love both of my children will all of my heart. While there was a short time in middle school that I felt all I did was get on to my son, I feel I spend most of my time with my daughter disciplining her and threatening to ground her!
How can two children be so drastically different?
My son just had to see on my face that I was getting angry and he would stop doing whatever it was that was upsetting me. My daughter on the other hand feels she must justify what she is doing and why she should continue to do it.
Last week, we had a day that was particularly hard. Bailey and I butted heads quite a few times both in the morning getting ready for school and again that night while doing homework and getting ready for bed.
She has a hard stubbornness about her. While I think that stubbornness can be a good thing when it comes to fostering dedication to a task or cause, when it comes to following directions and obeying and respecting authority figures that stubbornness really causes problems. I am trying to teach her how to be a responsible child and eventually a responsible adult, but I fear I will spend her teen years in a constant state of anger.
I don’t like getting angry and raising my voice – not that anyone really does.
I don’t like that she won’t listen and that the only way to get her to do what is being asked becomes my raised voice. I don’t like that when I have to raise my voice she initially becomes more stubborn. I don’t like that my yelling makes her cry. I know that I must discipline her when she is not listening, but it is so hard to see how it crushes her sometimes. I don’t know what the right balance is. I rarely spank her. Usually just me using a stern voice, not even what I would call yelling, or counting to 3 will get her to do what is asked. But there are some times when that bull in her just digs in deeper.
She really digs her heals in and smarts off or tries to justify what she was doing. I hear a lot of, “But I was just…”
What I don’t get is how she is able to control it. When we talk to her teachers at school or daycare they always rave about how good she is. We hear how she is always extremely helpful, always the first one to follow instructions, etc. If she can be respectful and listen at school, why can’t she act the same way at home?
I just keep telling myself that all the butting heads at home must be working or she would act like that at school and in public, too.
After this particularly hard day, we were laying bed reading a book and then we read her daily devotional. It was about asking for forgiveness. I asked her if there was anything she wanted to pray about. She said she was scared. I think she was afraid to admit she had not behaved well. I told her that God loves us and he shows us so much grace with our mistakes. I told her that all she needed to do was ask Him for forgiveness. I also told her that He LOVES to help us when we are struggling. I suggested she ask for help in keeping her attitude right and doing what Mom and Dad say, when they say it.
She was still not sure how to pray about it, so I offered to pray for her. I asked God to forgive her for disobeying her parents and to help her in the future. I asked that He also forgive me for being so quick to get angry and to help me have more patience with her.
The next morning, she woke up and got dressed without me having to raise my voice. I heard “Yes, ma’am” a lot that day instead of “Ugh, but…” It was so refreshing! Yesterday, we had a bit of a relapse. It is a work in progress. Prayer will continue!!
I will say this, though; my daughter is my shadow. No matter what, when the argument is over and she is finished telling me how daddy is nicer, she is right back by my side. When she has finally complied and done what was asked, we can move on and hug and smile and laugh. She rebounds quickly. Much quicker than I do.
I love my daughter dearly. She is so caring and has a soft heart. She is smart and has a little jokester inside her.
She is an amazing little girl!
I hope that when you struggle with your kids, or really with anything in life, that you reach out to God in prayer and ask for help. Our God is a loving Father who loves to help us. We just need to ask.