I have many things to be grateful for and of the lot, is the triumph that I raised three children; a daughter and twin sons. They are now grown with lives of their own, in which they are doing quite well. From the bounty of their relationships, I also cherish a son in law and grandson!
As all parents know, raising children is a challenge and I am most convinced God gives us children to grow US up. We fumble and muddle through life’s lessons WITH our children, not ahead of them. After all, who has ever raised a child before when they come into our lives? Even when I had more than one, I was still growing with them. Even though I thought I knew better than them, sadly, most of the time, I knew nothing.
I don’t say that to wound myself. I say it because it was true. The only true sight we have is hind sight, don’t you think? Unless, of course, God opens our eyes in the moments of life. Although I have experienced that many times, in the area of raising my children, I have had to learn the hard way.
Now, if my children are reading this, don’t take it the wrong way, the greatest joy of my life was in raising you! There is a point to all this and that is, we must not be so hard on ourselves as parents as I was on myself as a young mother. Perfectionism, high expectations and failures turned inward to the condemnation of myself as a human being! These things should not be so, but they were for me. Only in watching my children grow to be wonderful, caring human beings did I realize what a waste of energy and soul all that condemnation was. A terrible waste.
But I share this in hopes that you won’t make the same mistakes I did, although we all must, I suppose, make some. I want to give a piece of advise to those parents out there who are struggling in their parenting with a child who doesn’t seem to be doing so well. Whether socially, academically or in any other sphere. The “problem” child. Which we should never label them that, because at the end of the day, they are a valuable human being worthy of love and nurturing no matter what they have done or do. They are a child, in a problem. However, I do realize the toll these situations can take, not only on the parent, but the family. And even more so if the family unit is not a strong one to begin with.
My advise, in these situations is, don’t impose more “do’s” and “don’ts” or rules. Instead, impose your love and time upon that child. Wrap your arms around them and let them know their value and give them yourself! Intrinsically, our first course of action, when we are dealing with a difficult child is to impose more rules and discipline. Only when warranted should we do that, but first we must step away from the problem and the child long enough to think and access the situation. Without, I strongly urge, the opinions of outsiders or others. In my experience, talking with others to get their take only brings more confusion into an already difficult situation.
Children are human beings too and most of the time we don’t see them as that, but little lives we must manage and ultimately bring to a place of success. So many times we look at a child having a difficult time in life as some kind of failure on our part as parents, and so we get about making them “right”. They are not “wrong” in the first place, just hitting a bump in the road and simply having a rough time. Don’t go about, during this time, to solidify your good reputation as a parent by scolding and condescending to the child. You only bring more trouble on yourself when you seek to bolster your reputation while the child suffers. This will damage the relationship to the core and they will lose trust in you. And trust, my friend, is the very foundational building block of relationships.
It is imperative that we make the relationship with the child the priority and not their being molded in the situation. Let God take care of that part, you just support and affirm your love and acceptance of the child. This is, perhaps, the most crucial course of action. When we “freak out” the kids do too!
Even when they are teenagers, they may push you away and resist any attempt of yours to love and nurture them, but don’t stop. Love never fails. They need your steadfast love and acceptance to undergird them. Give them firm direction with boundaries, if necessary, but don’t relax your hold on them with your heart. Sometimes all it takes is a deep breath and a prayer to get a hold of yourself during these times. Oh…..and a LOT of perspective, that, I’m sad to report, usually doesn’t come until they are grown and gone. THEN you know exactly what to do! 🙂
Let Christ be glorified in all!