I struggled to write this post. How could I? I’ve turned into one of those parents. You know which ones I’m talking about. The parent with the child who throws a fit in the cereal aisle of the grocery store. The one who is struggling to convince him to get in the car. The one who silently screams when her child tells her no and runs away. The one who tries to keep it together while others are watching, yet feels helpless inside to stop it.
Yeah. That’s me. While I’ve hit a parenting phase worth blogging about, I haven’t changed my parenting style and I think that’s the problem. I can’t parent THIS child the way I parented the OTHER children. My 4-yr-old is strong willed, which will be an asset when he’s older, but for now? It’s tearing our family apart.
At a very young age, this child voiced what he wanted. He kept us up every night, screaming his discomfort in his crib, or in his pajamas, or because he was hungry. Nothing I did, made him happy as a baby. I understand the “up all night” the first few months, but this happened far beyond the baby years.
It got to the point where I’d rather give him what he wanted, instead of hearing him scream. I was exhausted. I was spent. I was fit to quit.
There is a vivid memory in my head where he threw himself in such a fit, that he couldn’t make himself stop crying if he wanted to. This left him and I BOTH crying in my bed and me praying for some answers. He was too old for colic. I pushed that memory aside, but it all came sweeping back to me when I found myself, just this last week, crying in the hallway after an incident with my youngest son.
It was bedtime.
I sweetly walked in the room to tell him.
That’s when he lost it.
Pounded his fists against the wall.
Then he came at me, hitting, kicking.
What would you do? My child is a very “solid” child. He’s strong for his age so when his fist hit my chest, it knocked the breath out of me. I pinned his arms against the carpet and said, “Honey. Stop hitting and kicking me and I will let you go.”
“I’m NEVER going to do that!!” *Spits in my face*
I had to win this one. I had to. Nobody could rescue me. Nobody could talk me through it. I had to win this one. If I didn’t? He’d walk over me for the rest of our life.
With my heart silently breaking, I held this child down until he stopped kicking and promised to stop hitting me. It lasted 45 minutes. When it was over I hugged him. I told him I loved him and stated how sad he is making me. Then, I asked him to apologize.
“I’m NEVER going to apologize.”
Never, in my parenting, have I experienced complete and utter defiance. Never. I was angry. I was heartbroken. I was helpless. I was frustrated that this child doesn’t see how much I love him and how I’m trying to guide him.
WHY CAN’T HE JUST OBEY!?
Then it hit me. This is how God feels when I, as His child, disobeys OVER and OVER again. He has guided me into this life as a parent. He has given me a manual for living, through His word, yet I disobey constantly. I’m sure through His tears he screams, “WHY CAN’T SHE JUST OBEY!?”
So, as I struggle the next few months with changing the way I parent my youngest, I’m going to look at all the things I’m doing in disobedience. I have to change MYSELF before my child can change. I have to be obedient to His word before my child can be obedient to mine. I have to be faithful that He can guide me in the direction of parenting this strong willed child.
Have you ever raised a child who was strong willed? Did you ever face complete and utter defiance from your children? How did you get through it?
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