“Honey, put down the markers, we don’t color on ourselves…or the wall..or the floor…just paper. PAPER!! Is that so difficult a concept?”
“If your sister says stop, then STOP!”
“When we get in the car, we sit down and we buckle up. I shouldn’t have to say that every time we go somewhere.”
“That’s not a sword, and we don’t hit people.”
“You’re too old to run around the house naked.”
“If you don’t listen, I’ll throw away your toy. I don’t even care.”
“I don’t actually like to yell, so if you don’t want me to why don’t you listen?”
“I know I said you couldn’t watch TV [Dear God, what was I thinking?]but you could mayyyybe earn it back if you would please just follow directions now.”
“Don’t lick that!”
“I’m sorry that your leg hurts; but it didn’t seem to bother you before I asked you to clean up.”
“If you don’t listen, there will be a consequence…I don’t even know what it is yet, but you won’t like it.”
“No, you can’t have candy for breakfast. Eat what I gave you because that’s what we’re eating.”
“If I’m in the bathroom, don’t open the door!”
“Don’t worry about what your brother is doing, worry about what I asked YOU to do!”
I used to have this idea in my head that parenting is more about being with my kids and loving them than disciplining them. But somehow that’s not how it’s going for me. Honestly, from the minute my kids wake up I feel like most of what I’m doing is giving them directives: “Get UP, Get Dressed, Eat Breakfast, Pack your library book in your backpack!” When I’m not telling them what to do I’m telling them what not to do, as the list above reveals.
Occasionally, my child will speak soft, kind words, or try to tell me their whimsical thoughts. And even THEN half the time I can’t even focus on that sweet moment because one of the other two is acting out.
Is this what parenting is? Am I missing something?
I’m starting feel right now, especially with my middle child that I’m just in a never-ending battle. Maybe I’m trying to get him to leave a friends house and JUST want him to put his shoes and coat on. I like to think it’s a fair request in New England winter. Yet we drag on back and forth, me taking away treats or fun things; he pushing back with angry words and stubbornness.
By the time we get home there’s something new to argue about, assuming we even made it the whole car-ride home without a clash.
And tonight, I’m sitting there praying with the big kids at bedtime after a whole bedtime saga, and he just says “stop praying, stop praying, stop praying” and I ended up downstairs after just crying because I feel like I’m failing at this. Failing with him. Like I must have been inconsistent or faulty in something when the kid was 18 months old and we simply can’t recover.
Maybe I let him have one too many muffins one day instead of firmly saying “no”, or maybe I yelled a bit too loud once and his little brain decided that he’d start fighting anger with his own. I joke… but really…do you ever wonder if you have been parenting all wrong and you just don’t know how to get back on track? I don’t even need to be on the track…just maybe parallel to it.
I don’t want to be the mom who spends the whole day saying no. I don’t want to be the mom whose kids require twenty reminders to do one thing. I want to give my kids fun things, good things. I want to be a light-hearted Mom who creates a home of peace. But I’m not sure I’m that mom right now.
How do we let God hold our kids, yet seek Him to strengthen our own for the task He gave us as parents? How do we encourage our kids to obey without nagging, to listen because we love them- how do we motivate them with less punishment, less anger? Or maybe, how do we learn to admit that even with our mistakes, we’re really loving them better than we think?
I’m putting this out to you Moms- Dads- Grandparents- Aunts- Friends- What advice would you give to me and other struggling parents who think they might be losing it somewhere? How can we discipline as needed without creating a negative atmosphere in the home? Comment, post, text me if you must. 🙂 This mom is ready to listen.