My oldest daughter’s attitude this morning wasn’t pretty. Sigh. We’d had a mini-blow-up last night when I told her and her sister to pick up their room. They’d just gotten going good on a new “play idea” and had arranged everything into little rooms of a castle. Problem? It was bedtime and the room-clog needed to go! And unaccustomed to this kind of inner revolt from my children, I blithely tucked them in and didn’t think twice about it.
So, this morning (as promised to my 6 yo) I went in and helped make “the castle” all over again for resumation of their playtime enjoyment! Carry on, troops! Right?
I know all moms can identify with the frustration of having a child who just refuses to “snap out of their snit”…and this emotional teariness was SO unlike my oldest. She absolutely did not want to drop the negativity, to put it nicely. She’d already announced she wasn’t going to play, and when we ignored her and kept making the castle bigger and better, her pouting increased…not so subtly.
Have you noticed how sometimes parenting seems to be going along all sugar and spice and then suddenly some outright rebellion slaps you in the face seemingly out of nowhere? Usually, in this case, you realize you’ve been letting little things slide b/c for the most part, your kids have been trotting right along being the best kids in the universe!
So I admit to some floundering this morning when finally I confronted my 8 yo about her attitude. I waited till she was alone and reminded her that it wasn’t “the worst day in the world”…we talked about how sometimes when really bad things happen, ie–losing a loved one, we really turn to God and get strength to deal with it and help those around us. How ironic that we tend to “lose it” with the little things. We talked a bit longer; wish you could have been a fly on the wall to hear all her complaints.
I left her room and about a half hour later, she came to me. She apologized, asked my forgiveness and she started listing off all the things she was thankful for. It was genuine. How hard is it to admit to being wrong…to your parent even? Because the things she’s now thankful for, are the things she was complaining about this morning. She’d experienced God’s grace…a complete turn around.
Sometimes parenting seems like guess-work in the face of an angry, hurting child. Especially one old enough to know better. One that needs wisdom and direction. Not to mention that we parents are so afraid of failure.
I’m not advocating “preaching at” your child. This “talk” must not be reaction-spawned or a put-down of them. Encourage them with reminders of why God’s way is the only and best way. Maybe share a story of how you had to learn the hard way. Then leave the room and…