For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:12 NLT)
Today we had to run to a quick appointment. Before we left the house I let the girls bring a few dolls and stuffed animals to have in the car. They know that there are few places we will go to that I allow them to bring play things in with them. For example they aren’t allowed to bring toys into Walmart where there could be a similar item and mommy could be accused of shop lifting. Another reason I have boundaries with toys is with 3+ children, it’s enough to keep track of them, let alone their toys. I feel like it is easier to establish the rule that toys belong at home where we play with them versus the meltdowns of losing a toy in public ect. And to be perfectly honest I feel like children should learn to behave appropriately in certain places with out requiring some form of entertainment attached to them 24/7. I mean seriously, what has our society come to? Maybe some of you think I’m mean and depriving my kids of fun and “happiness” but I refuse to breed entitlement and attention deficit disorders because I gave into every demand and manipulation tactic. I just think our children should be able to make it through a grocery store with out a video game, I did!
Anyway, despite all my best efforts we still have our moments. Like today for example. We arrived at our destination and this time I was going to let each girl bring in 1 item. Yes I have boundaries but I’m not legalistic with them and I try to be flexible when I, the parent, deem appropriate. Micaila was not satisfied with one doll, she wanted to bring two. I explained to her that she could bring 1, that 1 would be plenty to be responsible for. She threw herself into an emotional fit. Normally I would be very impatient with this kind of unreasonable behavior. I explained to her that she had a choice, she could compose herself and take 1 doll or if she chose to continue with the attitude she had we would leave them both. At this point I had to come to terms with what I had to follow through with. Meanwhile this is all going down in a parking lot, I have all the kids out of the car and everything. And I have to admit it was so obvious to me that the Spirit was completely equipping me with all the self control (of my own emotions) the patience and the guidance. It was a miracle and once again I’m so grateful for the Lords provision. (thank you for praying for us!) I felt confident that I was approaching this parenting dilemma with a Biblical mindset. If you think giving into an emotional outburst is best for your child I think you’ll be in for a painful awakening down the road. Okay, so she’s crying, wont pull herself together, won’t agree to bringing 1 doll, so I shut the car door and very calm and collectively round everybody up. I told myself in my head “she can cry all she wants, people can think what they want, but it is not okay to give into manipulation and unreasonable demands.” At that point I was okay with not caring who thought what. I made myself ok with sacrificing my “image” and what people thought of this young woman with 4 kids, one whom is crying hysterically. “Think what you want, we’re learning valuable lessons right now and I’ll probably never see you again!” Y’all she cried the entire time we were there (and the whole ride home). And let me tell you it is not easy sitting there being subjected to the looks, the thoughts. It truly was a sacrifice. It would have been much easier for me to give her the dang dolls but tell me what would that have taught her….. “Throw a fit and get what you want.” Umm, not on my watch. And again, let me reiterate, I typically would be hyper sensitive to what everyone is thinking of the drama going down in our corner of the lobby. I can only credit God for the peace and confidence in the midst. I just knew “this is right, this is love, this is important”. She sat in the lobby and tried pulling the “daaaaadddyy” cry which I then asked her “would you like to call daddy, and explain to him what’s going on?” To which she then quit requesting him. I snuck a picture of her which I really would like posting for a laugh, but out of respect for her I won’t.
When we got home after she calmed down I had her sit down with me and talked with her about her behavior. I explained my responsibility as her mommy, that its important for her to learn that emotional manipulation is not how we get things we want, especially things that we are privileged to, like toys and entertainment. Yes, that’s a privilege in our house, not a necessity. I’ve been exposed to impoverished countries on mission trips, our kids are over privileged in some of the worst ways. But my hope is to breed gratitude and generosity, not entitlement. These are all topics Micaila and I discussed. We talked about the motive behind her reaction and the motive behind my decision to not allow her bring the dolls in. I read to her the scripture above and also this:
“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb 12:11).
I explained to her how much I pray for her and how to parent and that I love her so much that I sometimes have to make difficult decisions that aren’t fun, but truly have her best interest at heart.
We finished up our talk and she then requested to play some UNO. 🙂
Despite all that went down, all the tears, Micaila still wants to be with me. She still wants to engage with me and spend time with me. Don’t for a second think that disciplining your child will result in them not liking you. Not only will they like you but they are learning HOW to love and also respect your authority as the parent.
Once again I share this with you, especially any fellow moms or future moms, to encourage. Stand firm in truth. Especially with your kids. Don’t allow the world view to obscure what the Bible instructs us to do as parents. Don’t give in because in the moment it’s easier. It’s tempting! But it’s not going to produce “peaceful fruit of righteousness.” It will produce a demanding unpleasant manipulative child that isn’t even enjoyable to be around. I love my kids, I also like them 🙂 and like being with them. But it’s not a product of being lazy or indulgent and just giving them every little or big thing they want. Sometimes it’d be easy (initially and temporarily) to sit around read a book (or blog!) and feed my kid sweets and ignore their belligerent behavior and indulge them and myself in unhealthy activities. (physically and spiritually) it’s hard to stop whatever I’m doing and talk things over and redirect and correct but hello that’s called parenting and I will stand before God one day and I pray he smiles on me when the topic of parenting comes up. Not to mention I want my children to grow into confident, spiritually healthy, adolescence and adults.
Lets stand firm, be confident, lead, and LOVE.
We have to teach our children how to love and instill in them the fruits of the Spirit by demonstrating with our own actions, motives, and attitudes. It takes time, patience, talking and exemplifying.
Dr. Dobson is dead on, parenting isn’t for cowards.
Our example is Jesus.
Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them] (Revelation 3:19(a) AMP)