Having Caleb has brought on some different challenges to parenting. Some of you can relate to the scenario.
He is the youngest of three and his older siblings are two darling girls who love to mother him. There is four years difference between him and our middle daughter so it had been a little while having a baby around. Because of our girls being slightly older they are more interactive with him. Every one of us has been guilty of laughing at that silly boy. He is a clown! It’s different with him, he’s a typical toddler, but he has older siblings to mimic. He says and does a lot of things neither of the girls ever did, good and bad. Over the course of his two and a half years of life by our sheer amusement with him we have encouraged his desire for attention. There’s nothing wrong with liking a little attention but I’m learning, sometimes the hard way, that how and what we give attention to can be dangerous.
Beware of cuteness.
Caleb is constantly being affirmed that he is funny and cute. Yet even at his young age he is learning to use his cuteness to get away with disobedience and rebellion. Sometimes even THAT is cute, except it shouldn’t be. On plenty of occasions we have buried our faces to conceal our laughter at something he shouldn’t be doing but it’s just “so cute”. The offense being minor and he being funny begins the slow process of undermining a rule or boundary and feeds the idea in his little mind that “I can get away with…… if I act silly and cute.” He has the ability to smile and talk in such a charismatic way it is often difficult to be firm and follow through with discipline. I regret the times I’ve let him charm his way out of consequences.
One evening we had finished dinner and were winding down before bedtime. I was sitting on the couch and Caleb came to me and asked if he may have a waffle. All of my kids have a habit of wanting to eat out of boredom. I reminded him we just ate dinner and no you may not have a waffle it’s almost time for bed. That answer seemed to appease him and he walked off. Moments later Ryann announces that the freezer is wide open and then I began to hear noises from the laundry room. I knew exactly what was going on and I was honestly tempted to pretend I didn’t. I sat on the couch and contemplated if I felt like parenting lol. I credit the Holy Spirit for impressing on me big time that this most definitely needed to be addressed.
The door to the laundry room was closed which is unusual, it’s rarely closed. I open the door and not to my surprise find Caleb; Sitting in the laundry room…. in the corner behind the door….. eating a frozen waffle.
I looked at him very seriously and in a soft, calm, yet firm voice (which was definitely evidence of the Spirit!) I asked “What are you doing?” To which, in all his adorableness, he responded “Nuuuufffiiiiing” with a big grin.
The quick and easy thing to do would have been to smile and laugh at him, take the waffle away, and simply remind him that “Mommy said no waffles.” The end. I mean it was just a frozen waffle right? No harm, no foul.
But as I stood there the Holy Spirit revealed to me clearly what was taking place.
1.) He flat out disobeyed. Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death. If I don’t address his disobedience with firm discipline it will result in future disobedience. It will erode not only my authority but other authorities in his life. He must learn now in the small things to obey his parents and trust our rules because as he gets older he will need to learn to trust and obey God his Heavenly Father.
2.) He tried to hide his disobedience, which is a form of dishonesty. Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. It was very obvious that he was hiding. I needed to address this behavior and explain that we don’t hide things in this home. If you have to hide it or keep it a secret it’s more than likely not a good thing. We want our children to learn how to be honest and transparent in every circumstance.
Caleb received a few spankings after our chat. Proverbs 29:15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. As I wiped the tears from his sweet chunky face I told him that I loved him and that it was very important for him to learn to obey mommy and daddy and to be honest. Now I recognize he’s two and there was a lot said that maybe he doesn’t understand….. but he will. 🙂
I also felt in all that God reminded me of this; Caleb has two older sisters that watch and absorb everything going on around them. This lesson was not taught just to my two and a half year old there were two others that were learning through observation. We can’t forget the impact our parenting has for those watching. Doing the right thing takes a lot of effort but I trust what scriptures promise and that we will see the fruits of our labor in due time.