I feel like the last person on this planet who should be giving parenting advice. The amount of “oopsie daisy” moments I have had in my 6 months total of parenting have been a tad bit excessive. If I’m being completely honest, just the other day I absolutely lost it on the kids – not just yelling… I screamed. After I had calmed down, I called all of them downstairs [they were upstairs hiding], and began to apologize for setting such a poor example and being so impatient with them. My, oh so helpful, Twin # 1 looks at me, eyes wide.
“Yeah, Mom. You really scared all of us. Maybe you need therapy.”
So, like I said, I really don’t feel like I can offer great parenting advice, but I’m going to anyway. Besides, wasn’t my goal this year to be bold?
I was challenged a few weeks ago to think of the power in the words I use and to realize the living power of scripture.
Hebrews 4:12 – For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
With my parenting, I run to parenting books, online resources, and, of course, my mommy [who gives great advice, by the way]. But some things, especially with my littlest dude, haven’t been working as I had hoped. Partially because of my inconsistency and lack of patience, but I also believe that it just hasn’t been enough.
I was listening to a podcast from a lady who had a three year old that was so strong willed, defiant, and just driving her to tears daily, making her wonder what on earth she was going to do to help him.
This has been the last several months with my Little Man, so I tuned in.
She talked about how the Lord has placed in on her heart that her words had been demeaning and negative about her son rather than kind and uplifting. Not necessarily to his face, but in general.
Words have an impact. Depending on what comes out of your mouth, you can watch a child’s face light up brighter than the sun with pride or you can watch their face deflate as you realize you’ve just crushed their spirit. All with a few words.
Proverbs 12:18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Matthew 12:36 I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak,
She began to pray blessings over her son, using scripture, such as that he was fearfully and wonderfully made. That he was wanted, chosen, loved. She took the truth that scripture is alive and active and started to use that in her parenting and, within a few months, her son was a completely different kid. Coincidence? I think not.
So, inspired, and ready to try anything, I began to do the same thing. I started praying for him, out loud, as we were driving together. I had memorized some scripture before doing this and just started praying it, putting his name in there, and asking the Lord to continue healing his heart and mind from his trauma. I prayed that the Lord would help him to take his huge, wonderful, spunky personality and use it in a way that glorified God, rather than habits that made me want to rip my hair out.
I started our mornings out praying together. I would grab his little hands and we’d press our foreheads together, and we’d pray the Lord would bless our day and help us to honor Him.
Each time he was naughty and I would have originally put him in timeout, I stopped and we prayed together. We prayed that the Lord would take this and use it to teach him. And me.
Nothing happened right away. In fact, I felt attacked by Satan. As I was drawing closer to the Lord, and trying to allow the Lord into every area of our life, I felt like Little Man’s behavior grew worse and my impatience and lack of compassion was surfacing like never before.
It was during this time that I definitely had that freak out on the kids mentioned above.
Then I quit doing it. It wasn’t really a conscious decision to quit, but more of defeat. Kind of like when you diet, only lose five pounds, but you’re not skinny yet? Well, I tried “hard” and Little Man still wasn’t fixed.
Then Monday this week, Little Man greeted me in the morning and we started our daily routine of the bathroom, breakfast, etc., when Little Man stopped me.
“Mommy, you forgot to pray with me this morning.”
Conviction. Oh, the conviction.
So we stopped. I grabbed his tiny hands, we pressed our foreheads together, and we prayed. Not just me. Once I finished, my sweet little three year old asked Jesus to help him to listen and honor God in his behavior.
We have had THE best week to date. We’ve started praying together in the morning again, I’ve been praying little blessings over him throughout the day and my heart is soaring with pride of what this kiddo is doing through Christ. He’s recognizing his behaviors, he’s actively trying to change them, he’s being kinder to his siblings and the dogs, he’s listening and doing as he’s asked… And I don’t think this is coincidence. Trust me. I’ve spent the last five and a half months dealing with the same behaviors daily, some days worse than others. And this has been a full five days of a three year old TRULY trying to obey and when he [in his little human flesh] fails, he’s SO quick to apologize, and without prompting, state exactly what he is apologizing for and change his attitude immediately.
Yes, we’re going to have bad days still. No doubt.
Nevertheless, I encourage you, fellow parents of [difficult] children. Use the tool God originally gave us – His Word. Seek Him in your parenting instead of immediately jumping to harsh words and punishments. Pray with your children when they’ve disobeyed – that the Lord will mold their hearts and minds for Christ. Pray blessings over them – scripture is alive and active!
Trust me. I’m failing left and right – with this and with every other aspect of life. But thankfully, we serve a very gracious God that is here to pick us back up and keep carrying us through. You just have to allow Him to be a part of it.
Tonight, as I put Little Man in his bed, he asked me to snuggle him. Usually, I am so done momming at the end of the day that I give him a quick kiss, say our prayers, and tell him he needs to go to sleep. But this week has been so healing to our relationship and when he asked me to snuggle him, I actually wanted to spend more time with him. So I laid down next to him and, as he softly stroked my cheeks, I cuddled him to sleep. Oh my heart. ❤