People warned me that the three’s can be a difficult age — harder than the two’s often. I didn’t know what to expect until now. I also remember seeing other people’s kids act up in stores and think, “If they were my kids, I would discipline them more, and they wouldn’t act like that. The parents must be doing something wrong for their kids to act like that. The parents probably need to be more firm or consistent.” Well, guess what? I don’t think that way anymore, unless it’s obvious that the parents aren’t handling a situation correctly.
Have you ever felt like you wanted to simply disappear into the floor? Have you ever wished that the child whining or throwing a temper tantrum was someone else’s? Have you ever watched someone else’s kid throw a temper tantrum and be glad it’s not your child? Yes. Yes. Yes.
I am starting to wonder if Helen Keller II has come to stay with us. Not a pretty picture and certainly not enjoyable or appropriate. I am finding out first hand that you can discipline a child repeatedly, and if they are determined enough to do their own thing, they will persist until you begin to wonder… How can the same child who seems to have no ability to pick up toys be the same child who has enough energy to resist any boundaries that have been established. Okay, yes it’s nice to know that my child will probably be a great leader in the future. It’s also encouraging to know that I am doing as God has commanded so requiring obedience is necessary. Yes, I also know I am not perfect so there are ways that I can improve — be more patient — even when I have had to deal with hours of disciplining the same child over repeated offenses. It’s easy to be loving and patient when you have had to deal with the same offense a couple of times. Day after day, hour after hour, sometimes minute after minute, dealing with the same sinful behaviors leaves a parent — me — exhausted, shaky, and frustrated.
This morning, I cried out to God, saying, “God, they’re your kids. You made them. You know that I am not perfect. You are going to have to help me. Because I am getting tired of dealing with these cycles of disobedience.”
One thing for sure, parenthood is a lesson in humility. When I was single, my life seemed wonderful. It was “easy” and “uneventful,” but since becoming a wife and more than that a mother, I have discovered my own imperfections and inability to control situations the way I would prefer. I think that is what frustrates me the most — the inability to control my kids to the extent that they behave at all times like miniature adults. I know, you are probably laughing… perhaps because you can relate to your own similar experiences or because you know how futile such an endeavor is with the “difficult” child. I also realize that I cannot do this on my own strength.
My prayer is for a heart change with my kid(s) and for extra grace and forbearance and love and patience… in the raising of my kids. God gave them to me — not to other parents that I might think could do a better job with my kids. Knowing that, I know that some how, some way, this too shall become something good in our lives because God is in control.
If you think of us, please pray for our boys to understand their need for a Savior and to desire to obey the Lord. Pray for my husband and I to persevere — even when we don’t see any positive results — and to love our kids unconditionally. Pray for extra grace and a good dose of patience. Pray for me to rely on God’s strength to be the parent that He wants me to be.