Tuesday, February 5

Parenting {Out of Fear}

I am very close to being at my wits-end, particularly with dear Miss Avelyn. I feel as though I am failing her miserably as a parent, and she’s only 3. I feel as though I am constantly after her to be respectful and kind, to not be hurtful to her brothers and sister. {We have 3 simple rules: No Disrespect. No Disobedience. No Dishonesty.}

I don’t think there is a day that goes by that I have not had to somehow reprimand her at least a half-dozen times for pushing, kicking, or hitting one of her brothers or sister. {I will say, in her defense, that her actions are at least not full force and she does show some restraint}.

She has now taken to sticking out her tongue at me or blowing raspberries, when being disciplined, as well as completely ignoring anything being said to her, laughing and changing the subject. I will admit that I am not always diligent or consistent in my responses to her behavior.

This evening was hell.

The babies {I really need to think of something else to call them}, had not napped this afternoon and were very clingy and demanding, and Avelyn was feeding off of that and being very whingey and whiney herself. She kept standing on the couch, which she has been told not to do…since James then climbs up there and does the same thing, and I kept removing her {and James} and repeating that we don’t climb on the couch. For the second time today she proceeded to stick her tongue out at me, at which point I marched her in the bathroom and brushed her teeth with soap {bad mom I know*}, after she had been warned, timed-out, and otherwise disciplined {no more TV etc}. Fat-lot of good it did.

Twenty minutes later I was on the phone with my mom {exasperated}, watching the kids, Avelyn and James were again on the couch. She then proceeded to box him about his ears and then kick him in the face. At this point I about exploded. I immediately hung up, picked her up without a word and deposited her in her bedroom and shut the door. James was fine.Miss A-ttitude

After 15 minutes I had calmed down enough to get her. I {once again} explained to her that we do not blah blah blah blah blah. She was as meek as a kitten, came down to dinner, ate all of her meat, and was very quiet and polite.

She got a quick bath, the babies were put to bed, and Matt and I sat down to talk with her about her behavior and how it is not acceptable. Explaining that she must be kind and obedient, that it is what God asks of her, and how sad it makes Him, as well as us, when she is mean and rude. We informed her that she would only be getting a bible story at bedtime, and that this behavior will not be tolerated. I said her prayers with her, asking God to help her. Then I asked her for forgiveness for my disciplining her out of anger rather than love and God’s grace. And we closed in prayer.

I came downstairs utterly exhausted.

Neither Matt nor I have any idea whatsoever about what to do.

My mom had said something about Avelyn needing to submit/report to a higher authority than us, but how:
How does one make God REAL for a 3?!

How does one take the abstraction of God and make it something tangible and physical? I really would like to know the answer, because I am at a loss. An absolute loss.

We discuss God and Jesus, what their desires are for us and our life. We read the bible. We memorize verses. We pray together. We go to church. But how does all this “doing” translate to something real for a child? To something more than just memorization and stories?

I’ve so often heard that we should not DO out of fear, but sometimes I feel that is exactly what I am doing…parenting out of fear. Fear of my children become those teens that no one can tolerate. Fear of their leading selfish, malicious lives. Fear of their complete dismissal of God. Fear of their being a life long heartbreak. Fear of them turning out to be exactly like those that I do not want them to be like.

Last week I had been praying “Lord, help me to be the parent that they need me to be”. Then I thought about something, how vain of myself to think that God needs me to be the parent that they need, to be the men and women that God wants them to be. {Just reread that and think on it for a moment}. God doesn’t need me to do or be anything, BUT then I feel I’ve tossed my hands in the air and can say I have no responsibility to my children, which is utterly untrue.

I do need God to help me. I absolutely do. But I also need to trust that he will take my pitiful parenting attempts, my flaws as not only a mom, but as a human, and somehow, if I trust Him and do my utmost for His highest, He will redeem my parenting, myself, my husband, my children to Him.

Back to Avelyn.

There is something I notice in her, that scares me. She does not fear, not that I want her to fear us, but she has no fear whatsoever. She has no remorse for when she has done wrong. The only thing she has any reaction to is her own pleasures and discomforts.

Timeouts, talks, all of it mean absolutely nothing to her. Yes, she screams and cries  through them and is unhappy, but only because she is not being allowed to continue with whatever it is that she wants to do {ie. watching a show}. She does what you ask of her; apologize, reiterate what you said, etc. But there is no genuine remorse for what she did.

I have no idea if any of this is typical for a 3 year old or not. What I do know is that it scares the living bejeezers out of me, because all I can think about is the 13 year old or 23 year old who is that exact same way. AND, I already see the same defiance in Ellie {I knew there was a reason I wanted all boys …I jest, a little}.


Moms…especially moms of older kids. Please mentor me. Please tell me some pearl of wisdom. Please tell me that there is some way to get through to her. Please tell me what we should do {we are already reading lots of different parenting books}. Please tell me that God will be sufficient in our failures and she will not become the person that I fear she will. Please.

*Disclaimer: This was very hard for me to be this brutally honest with all of you, in my shortcomings and absolute failures as a parent.

No comments: