Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Please love my kid!

So this sweet child above (who is 3.5 y/o now) is why I don't blog so much. He is so funny and so energetic and so all-or-nothing and so smart and so cuddly. But, he's also a complete disaster right now. I mean really. And I come from a long line of first-time-obedience believers. I've tried so hard to get first time obedience from this kid.

And then, I've tried to get 10th time obedience. Because even when I am very consistent to discipline him for disobeying, it never makes him obey more. He's so extremely passionate about his naughtiness! And we could spank this kid 15 times and he'd still get out of bed at night...or hit his sister when he's mad, or run away when we call and he really wants to go somewhere else.

And I've tried spanking, ala Sheperding a Child's Heart, and I've tried timeouts ala 1-2-3 Magic, and a host of other ideas as well. I've tried Get-off-your-butt parenting and I've tried trusting my own instincts (as in "I think he's feeling this particular way and that spanking won't help here...I'll try soothing him now rather than being confrontational" etc) and I've cried. And cried and cried.

Especially when you realize that other people don't like your child. His gymnastics coach wouldn't give him a stamp after class the other day because he "wasn't listening" (he can't resist running and doing a few extra vaults when he's supposed to be crawling like a crab). And when Sam got in a fight today with a kid at school who was telling him that he would "poke his eyes out" his teachers politely told me that I should take him home now. Sunday school teachers have had it with him, friends don't ask him over that often, and I can't help but wonder if it's my fault completely. Or at least partially. Mostly I think. He's just extremely hard to "break". And then, sometimes I wonder, if I'm supposed to be "breaking" him. I'm not, I know. I'm supposed to be guiding him. Training him.

And I'm trying. And Matt's trying. But he's kinda agressive...and sneaky...and emotional...and a little obsessive-compulsive, which he gets from my side of the family. And I may not ever get it right. It may be that if I picked any one of the above parenting resources and did them perfectly for 3 years that I'd get an obedient child. Or maybe I wouldn't. And some days I die trying. I correct and spank and put in time-out, and try to speak Scripture to him. And other days, I just am so darn tired of the battle that I'm lax, or I yell, or I cry instead.

But I love him. I love him so much. Sometimes I wonder how I'm ever going to spend any time with Claire while I raise this child, but I know God's grace is sufficient for all of us, so it's definitely sufficient for my children.

And he's so cute. And precious. And he smells like a baby still sometimes...mixed with grass and sweat. So please, teachers and family and gymnastics coaches: love my son.
But if you don't, I do. And I guess that's why God gives us moms.


ramona said...

i heard someone say once that you could do everything right with your children, and there are still no guarantees. (i think they were referring to their hearts and the big picture as far as choosing to love the lord and serve him as king)likewise you could do everything wrong i suppose...but i find this encouraging as i mother my two year old daughter when things are hard or decisions are tough. i'm just getting into the guts of disciplining now. ( she is 2 after all)! there are so many methods and philosophies out there that seem to contradict one another it gets so confusing. i just want to do what's best, but each author says his way is the only way, right? i don't know. what is encouraging is what you hit on at the end of your post, that god made your son, and knows him so intimately...and then He gave him to you to mother! i'll pray that God will give your weary soul some rest and encouragement in this time.

(your son is adorable by the way!)

mimi said...

I feel your pain....I've been there! I've typed out many different things in hopes to encourage you. One thing, the Lord made each of us in the way "we should go". I've been taught that means that we are each unique creations. With that I've learned that what works for one mom/child may not work in another home. I spent a couple of yrs thinking that my son was the only one who acted that way(that is so not true!) I find that things are getting easier though we still have our rough patches. I truly remember where you are at. For us, spanking did not work(personally, I wish we never did that). Hang in there. I pray that He will give you direction in this!!

Anonymous said...

Oh sweetie - I love your kid! I have one just like your son. He's 15 now and everyone likes him. You'd never know what a handful he was when he was a little guy.

My son had an older brother and a twin. Both of those boys were pretty easy. They were active and I had to pay attention, but nothing like with this one. We tried spanking -very briefly, as it just seemed wrong to me. I tried so amny other things.

I think one thing that helped is that the boys were all so close in age. I was able to implement timeouts swiftly and consistently without disrupting our entire family life. These helped quite a bit, but they could sometimes take up a whole day. My goal was not to break this child, but to keep him safe.

Over the years I learned so many things with him. Routine is important. Being very clear, immediately before an activity (as in before I opened the car doors on our way to something) about what he could and could not do. Using as few words as possible to make my point. Speaking to him on his level, get down on your knees. Hold his cheeks gently in your hands to make sure he's looking at you. Have him say back what you just said to him. Do it every time.

There are so many things and so many reasons I did things the way I did. It was hard and it wasn't easy, but it was worth it. I'd be happy to email with you if you want specifics or other ideas. I know how hard and how heartbreaking it can be!!! (((())))

email: amy@thefoilhat.com
website: thefoilhat.com

ohio12 said...

Laura, Ellie, Jane and Ben love Sammy and seeing his pictures REALLY makes us want to see him.