Dealing with Discipline…

I think it is hard for people to relate to others who are experiencing different circumstances when it comes to parenting children.  I find it easy to be patient with my children when they are fairly obedient, meaning you might have to explain something a few times, even discipline for direct disobedience a few times, clean up some accidental spills, and watch hyper boys be silly.  It is much different though when I am dealing with these repeated situations:

1.  having a child throw a temper tantrum because you won’t give them candy they want in the store… a child who is completely out of control and is fixated on something.  i have talked with other parents of strong-willed children, and they have commented on the difference between their more compliant children from the strong-willed ones.  a really strong-willed child cannot be distracted from something easily.  they become fixated on a certain desire and emotional response and have a very difficult time unwinding from that.  for my child who is like this, i find that putting him in a room by himself until he unwinds helps.  sometimes, that creates more problems because he is so mad, he will deliberately get into stuff and create huge messes to vent his anger.  it is better than him trying to hit and yell and throw things at people though because he is so angry.

2.  having to discipline more than half a dozen separate times for deliberate disobedience and defiance (as parents we know the difference between deliberate or a child just not knowing).  you begin to get angry because you feel completely helpless or at a loss to know what to do when you cannot get your child to obey you.  remember, the strong-willed child is not easily distracted from getting their own way.  besides, the child has to at some point, learn how to obey a command — not just be distracted from disobeying.  in that case, have we really dealt with the heart issue?  it depends of course on the situation and how often, etc…

3.  having a child bite a sibling and scream hateful things in anger — not just once in a while but often (a few times a day at least)

4.  having children deliberately (again we know the difference between just being curious, an accident, and on purpose make a huge mess just to be naughty) make a huge mess: such as, dumping all your soap all over the place, emptying shampoos all over the place, unrolling whole rolls of toilet paper and paper towels and kleenex and wet wipes, destroying a plant and then smearing dirt all over the carpet and furniture, ripping pages from books, pulling decorations down and braking when able, pulling pictures off the walls and tearing the pictures and backings, playing with dirty diapers, emptying clothes drawers and then peeing on the clean clothes, emptying Desitin and then smearing it all over rocking chairs and furniture, pouring shampoo all over the washing machine and floor, etc…  just to name a few of their messes.  (this has all happened within the confines of the bathroom while they were supposed to be going potty, during nap times, or while i was taking care of laundry while they were supposed to be playing and were locked in the family room.)  in other words, it was for limited times and still within confined space that this happened, but some children will think of anything for any period of time.

5. i put my sons in their rooms for quiet time or nap time and have to keep checking on them until they’ve fallen asleep, because they are often getting into stuff that they do know they are not to get into.  they were clearly told many times and know.  their responses make that obvious when you enter the room…

I talked with a couple this past Sunday who were sharing that they had three boys who were not too bad, but then they adopted a daughter.  She doesn’t seem to understand or care about consequences.  She changed their ideas on parenting.  They thought they had the answers until she came along.  I think it is so easy for the parents to be blamed for bad behavior when it isn’t necessarily their fault.  It can just as easily be parents blaming the children solely too.  It comes down to it takes a lot more patience, grace, forgiveness, forbearance, love, etc… to deal with the strong-willed child.  The parents of such a child need extra prayers, encouragement, and support.  It is hard enough to deal with a challenging child but even harder when the parents are trying so hard to do a good job but are getting criticism or judgment from people who don’t understand.  There will be people who will think that the parents aren’t strict enough or people who will think the parents are too strict and not loving enough.  Unless, a person has walked in someone else’ shoes, they haven’t…  As a friend of mine said, and I totally agree, “I knew all about parenting until I became one.”  Our children aren’t “cookie cutter shapes.”  What works for some people and their children won’t or doesn’t work for ours necessarily. or maybe works for one child but not another of our children.  You can  have the same set of parents turn out very different children.  Does that mean the parents were a disaster in parenting, or that each child ultimately must make his or her own decisions?…

Someday, I will probably look back at these days and hardly remember how challenging they are now.  I may have people asking me how in the world, I managed and turned out such great kids.  I hope that I recall then with much humility that it was only by God’s grace and that I didn’t “turn out” anyone — only God did.  He managed to use an imperfect vessel…

Even now, when people compliment me on the kids, I feel very humbled and share that it isn’t always this way (good behavior), but that we do try to work on consistency, heart attitudes, and spending special time with the kids.  Do I have all the answers?  Absolutely not!  I am learning and trying to learn and apply more what it means to rely on God’s strength and walk in His grace for my day.  I need it so very much!  My kids have a way of “taking me to the end of my rope,” and that’s when we need to be hanging onto God (all the time).

Pray for plenty of opportunities to show love to our boys and that they will sense and know how much we love them.  Thanks for your encouragement in loving our guys.

4 thoughts on “Dealing with Discipline…

  1. For some unknown reason, the site doesn’t let me subscribe to your RSS feed. That might mean nothing to you. Probably some setting needs to be enabled or something…I don’t know.

    I will ask Jonathan. He is the expert when it comes to computer difficulties. I know that others have been able to subscribe, but I don’t know why you can’t. I will try to ask him.

  2. I can so relate. I really thought I knew how to parent, and then Lizzie came along! I try to think of it as a commentary on how God sees us, getting into trouble for whatever reason, but He loves us anyway. When Lizzie has done something awful and I’m asking, “Why, Lizzie, why?” I imagine God is shaking His head and chuckling. You know, like “Here’s a taste of your own medicine.” I’m just grateful that as much as I love my own children, God loves me so much more!

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