These days I’ve been reflecting (more intently) on my ways of parenting and contemplating over my actions. I’ve been raised in not the most patient environment in my own family. Needless to say, the very thing I do not want to be, I am simply because of the years of ingrained habits inculcated during my childhood till adulthood. I am not excusing my behaviour, and am very much ashamed of this ill temper of mine.
It was until I received Christ and started having Bible Studies during my teen years that I gradually changed. Now, as a more mature christian, I’ve been experiencing God’s amazing works in helping me change. The most distinctive way of changing me was through – my Children.
I discovered that this temper of mine really played up the most in my parenting journey. I won’t go into details of how it was, just that the journey was filled with ups and bottom pit lows. During the period when my boys were 2 years and 3 years of age, and transiting to 3yrs and 4years old, those two years were the tumultuous times of my motherhood (at least till now, I can’t say about the future right? ; p ). It was a period of testing limits and tiresome tears of anger and outbursts from the boys AND me.
I was desperate enough to attend a course by Growing Kids’ God’s Way which an ex teacher of mine recommended. This course took 18weeks of commitment. It took about a good half a year to complete the course minus plus holidays. I begged my hubby to let me attend the course despite the huge commitment (it meant he had to always take care of the 2 boys and 1 baby every Sat so I can be free). I thank God for providing me this opportunity to learn and was very much encouraged. Most of all, God used this course to renew my thinking and approach to parenting.
After learning and applying the principles of Godly Parenting, I witnessed a dramatic change in my kids’ behaviour. Slowly, but surely, through daily reminders in the Bible, constant prayers and consistent application, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I was improving in my self control and it rubbed off to the kids. My hubby even remarked that it was I who have changed, and that helped the boys’ behaviour improve. I agreed and praised God for His work in us.
You would think all is well right? Me too. Bam! Out of the blue, came a tough battle of rage and physical confrontation. Not the usual tantrums. I do not wish to elaborate here for their privacy’s sake. Just that it broke me down to the core with a soaking pillow and months of sleepless prayer filled nights. I dreaded and feared each morning wishing it would not come. It was not until the Lord graciously provided much exhortation from family (especially my loving husband!) and friends that I mustered courage to continue to love and discipline my boys once again (I had been almost tempted to give up staying home and just escape to work). I don’t intend to touch on the discipline methods as yet. What suffice to share for now- God’s AMAZING Peace just overwhelmed me each time the aggressive meltdown occurred. From an ANGRY and frustrated, fearful spirit, the Lord replaced them with His gentle peace to face and hold each boy. I had to physically hug him from the back so that we will not be hurting each other. The meltdowns could last a full hour. It can take place as frequent as 5 times a day from one child or both. Throughout this period, it humbled me to experience His all sufficient grace to manage them each time the meltdowns came. I thank God that the meltdown gradually was reduced to half hour, 10minutes to a few minutes. The frequency also reduced from a daily affair to once or twice a week over the intense period of four full months. This happened last year before my blog began.
I want to share this because parenthood is a never ending journey of learning and growing. In as much as what this blog is about, I engage the kids in play and work in the hope of training them to become loving and useful citizens of the future. Nontheless, in the midst of all these seemingly ‘wonderful’ activities, we have our own good share of struggles and hardships. I don’t want this blog to just be about how creative or wonderful a parent I am, but truly, how grateful I am unto the Lord in making all these possible just because of Jesus.
I began reviewing this book on ‘Raising Godly Tomatoes’ by L. Elizabeth Krueger. Have you read it? I would love to exchange views on it. I was pretty skeptical and disapproving of certain stance she took years ago after reading it. Now, after the added years of parenting, I began to appreciate those views and working on some principles she mentioned.
I will elaborate more on a few of her principles in another post. For now, what really clicked in me was when I saw the result of addressing poor attitudes immediately. This morn, my child was upset because I had written his name on his new item we purchased. He had wanted to write his name himself. In the past, I might’ve just apologised and cajoled him out of his anger. Not a big thingy right? However, this time round, I looked at him and firmly asked him to stop his whining. After he stopped whining, I quietly asked him: ” Who bought this item for you? (His response: Mum and dad)” I got straight to the point. “We used our hard earned money to buy the item. Should you be upset over writing of your name or would you rather be grateful that you have that item? (grateful and contented for the item) What is more important? Having your way to write your name on the item or respecting mum? (respecting mum). ” Prior to this, I have been reminded by the scripture on contentment and being patient. Thus I also have been emphasizing on the need to be content with the kids. I find that when I took time to address the issue at hand, this boy snaps out of his tantrums faster. I also am learning to refrain from nagging.
So now, we are moving on from physical aggression to more of attitudes of the heart and mind. And frankly, Boy I am GLAD to progress to this stage of patient learning!
Love never gives up,
never loses faith,
is always hopeful,
and endures through every circumstances.
Restore gently and resist temptation to be angry. Galatians 6:1
Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6: 9
Thanking God for always being with us throughout our journey.