Monday, April 8, 2013

When You Wish God Didn't Trust You Quite So Much...

there are parts of every one's lives that we like to keep quiet.
those deep seated fears, failures, and flops.
you know, the "f" words.
over the years I have tried to break out of my fear of talking about the one thing I fear judgement from more than all others,
and that's my strong-willed child.
people who do not have a strong willed child like to voice advice, and while I can appreciate their heart,
they might as well stick my head in a gas oven for all the good their advice will do me.
James Dobson says to a mom of a strong willed child ,
 "There are some families with 4 or 6 kids, and none of them have a defiant temperament like we are describing.  Such moms and dads are inclined to assume that parents who struggle to maintain control at home are just weak or ineffective.  Sometimes that is an accurate assessment, but in other cases, the difficulties result from the nature of that particular child.   Help people grasp how difficult it can be to raise a defiant youngster.  Your daughter didn't simply disobey occasionally, every child does that.  You were in a war of wills with {her} from almost the very earliest moments of life."
-The New Strong-Willed Child, By Dr. Dobson, page 15.
While I know and realize I have made many mistakes in raising my children, God is really dragging bringing me to a place of accepting that this child's strong will is not the result of my parenting style or inadequacies.
This child is a result of how his Creator formed him, with a purpose and a plan, a sin nature thrown in.
I could tell from the first moments of life that this child was...spunky.
He was born on the 4th of July and his name appropropriately means "little fire".
the signs were all there. ;).
I remember calling my mom at about 9 days old at midnight or so crying, "I thought babies slept?" 
no, not my child.
he never slept unless in my arms.
and by never, i mean never.
naps during the day?
awake all night nursing every hour or two?
bottle, paci, blankie, anything that pacified him?
no again.
only mama.
when he was about 9 months old I developed an excruciating breast infection that left me in tears with each feeding. {I never cried during labor if that gives you a clue to my pain tolerance}.
While he was old enough to wean, he was so 'uncomforted' by anything else, I pushed through 2 or 3 of the most painful weeks ever.
I nursed him til he was two and I became pregnant with my next child.
He went through awful night terrors from 2-3 yrs old.
I believe he slept through the night at 4 YEARS for the first time.
Spankings resulted in him 'yelling' at me.
Time outs required my restraining him to keep him down.
When he was 4 I turned my back while he was on time out and he ran out the front door and into the street.
And I couldn't catch him!
He ran!
I called my husband panicking that this kid truly would escape our cul-de-sac.
We did what the 'books' said.
I read the Christian parenting books by the box.
Nothing worked for my little rebel.
The harder I tried to reign him in, the harder the kid would push.
At one point I thought we had solved it.
We had changed time out to a 'quiet time' in his own room where he could just 'chill' til his timer rang.
It struck me as odd that the time of peace flew by, but hey, it was working.
Until I realized it was getting shorter and shorter.
It wasn't my imagination.
So I secretly stuck my head  in a crack of his door one day.
I saw my 3 or 4 yr old child piling his stuff, moving his bed  to reach up to the high shelf I had placed the timer on, only to reduce the time down!  He then moved everything back to where it belonged and came out with a smile and announced his time out was up!
This is what I was up against, and the next years would hold even more challenges.
My son is now 11.
Life is a battle everyday with him.
But I am determined to share my story for other young moms with similar children feeling like they are failing.
This is hard for me to share, to express the vulnerability here.
I am determined to walk this out with Jesus, trusting that this road is leading to life abundantly for this boy.
Most days I fall into bed battle worn and weary.
I wonder what moms of compliant children feel like and want to puke a little.
I am everyday laying this before the Lord,
trusting in His perfect will.
I know that the reason God gave him such a tough spirit is because it will serve a greater purpose,
and I will share a little more as we travel this tough road of raising a defiant child.
I will be doing  part 2 in When You Wish God Didn't Trust You So Much: Raising a Defiant Child soon.
 If you have a defiant child, I would love to read your story as well!  Please share!


K Lackey said...

Love ya Mandy! I know four little blessings that have a pretty spectacular momma!!

Anonymous said...

This is so beautifully transparent! Thank you so much for allowing us all to see your pain and struggles so honestly because they are our pain and struggles, too. I've raised several strong willed, defiant children and have always felt the hot stares of condemnation. It hurts. It just hurts.

If I ever say anything about my oldest's personality now though that she's 27, people nearly chastise me and tell me what a wonderful woman she is. I know she is, but raising that wonderful woman dang near killed me! And, I was frequently chastised when she was a child because of her personality. Ironic.

Anyway, thank you for this wonderful post! xoxo

thetwistedruffle said...

my dear sweet friend, well, you know i feel for you. since we talked, it's gotten worse for us. i'm glad you posted on this. i just don't think i could--

wishing i could just ride down on the train to visit! i'm sure we could both use a little "fun" time.

i'm always praying for you; especially when it gets bad here, i'm always hoping you are doing better than us!!

hang in there, you are not alone!

Jacqueline@ said...

My heart goes out to you, dear Mama. I can't say I have answers, but our Lord does! I am assuming you have been constantly prayerful; I just encourage you to constantly ask for wisdom and leading from the Holy Spirit. Also pray that the Lord would rebuke the evil one and Lord, keep us from evil. these are not formula prayers, but sincere pleas that He would surround you with safety and keep Satan at bay. Pray over your child at night with quiet tears. I know you already know this, but I am coming alongside you to encourage you. No judgement. Be gentle...never raise your voice and model what you wish to extinquish. I don't remember seeing his age, but I didn't start sanking until our oldest was almost 5 and regretted it so. It took almost 2 years of being totally consistent to gain his heart and so that he knew he wasn't going to win. I also asked forgiveness for not knowing how to discipline him to give him a way to govern himself one day. I repented and asked forgiveness because I cared that he not have to face a life of living in chaos. Use scripture as it applies directly to his sin: Here is a good place to find helpful scriptures. I am praying for you, dear one. Stand firm and do not faint for fear. Love, Jacqueline

Julia C. said...

Mandy, you are so good to share your heart! I have a strong willed one, too, and the only thing that has truly worked is to find his gifts and keep him BUSY. No real down time. He thrives on that!

Your son is so LUCKY to have wonderful parents who care enough to mold him into the best person he can be. God will bless you....and your son! My brother was VERY similar and my parents never gave up, either. Today, he is sooo successful and has a beautiful family!

Many prayers and blessings to you!


PS: Thank you for your sweet comment on my blog!

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Anonymous said...

I think of opposing characteristics (and other things) to be on opposite sides of the same coin. Used in a wrong/selfish/immature way, that characteristic diminishes us, causes unnecessary suffering, etc. used in the best way, all kinds of good can happen.

I tell my 15 yr old strong willed one to use her stubbornness to benefit her. Then we call it perseverance. I pray often that God will hone that character trait into something strong for His purposes...that she'll stubbornly stand against the bad in this world, that her resistance to me will turn into resistance of the enemy and her own selfishness and immaturity.

Think how many kids these days are born with these kinds if difficulties...there's got to be a reason. We just can't see it yet. John piper has a section on his website on conferences. They did one last winter on special needs parenting. It's so - real. He also has a sermon about the awful beauty of being a mother. Those of us who have surrendered our lives to His service will be used to shape children who will serve Him and it's painful. It's not sweet, smiley, hugs and kisses, gentle pats on the cheek kind of kids that he's going to use in some specific way where fierce strength and determination will be needed. True commitment to Him. Besides the physical wearing out, I think what's most draining is not being really sure we're doing what is needed. We need affirmation, sometimes consolation, and always to believe His promises and gain strength and our own resolve through His word. He chose you so you ARE doing as you need. Just. Keep. Standing.

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