We are approaching the end of this mini-series on Teaching the Difficult Child.
Over the last few days, we have talked about the acronym S-T-O-P.
Here is a review:
S-Stop the sarcasm, joking, and belittling of my child
T-truth- Speak only the absolute truth from God’s Word over her.
O- Overhaul your mind to a new way of thinking and acting.
Finally, we are at P!
P-Use the Philippians 4:8 test
Philippians 4:8 says:
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
You see, of all the tips and tricks in the world, what really made the biggest difference in parenting her was the way *I* spoke, behaved, thought, and treated this daughter of mine.
I am convinced that working diligently to change my heart about her is what made the biggest difference in my home.
Look at Philippians 4:8-
If we spend as much time as possible focused on the good aspects of our child and less upon what we perceive to be their flaws or differences, our children will be all the better for it. Once you start seeing them, rightly, as a child of God who is loved just as she is, then his or her behavior will follow suit.
I would like to share with you a little story that happened in our family just a couple of years ago.
One summer, our family was going through a difficult time. My oldest daughter (then 16) just had a very extensive knee surgery, far more difficult than we expected. Our son (2) was going through a lot of behavior changes and having difficulty sleeping, obeying, responding when called, and the like. My other children were just fine, but the weeks were very long and hard. My frustration with my son was growing with each passing day.
I would wake up more exhausted than when I went to bed because he kept getting up at night. He woke several times each night screaming, crying, fussing, wandering the house, or whatever a two year old mind can think of to do when all the lights are out and everyone else is trying to sleep.
I am very consistent with the discipline of my children and I was searching and praying for answers, solutions and quick fixes.
The Lord had something else entirely in mind for me.
One night at 1:30 AM when he was up crying, rather than just sending him back to his bed, I went to his room and just rocked him and held him. As I looked in his sweet little face, I realized that I was putting my desire for a full night of sleep ahead of my precious son.
I looked him in the face and told that boy, “I will stay here and rock you all night if it helps you feel better. I love you more than I love a full night of sleep.”
I rocked him for over an hour.
As I sat and prayed about this child and my own selfish behavior, I was reminded of another home school family who just lost their own precious son to cancer. I know his mother would gladly give up her nights of sleep for every night if she had the chance to hold her son again.
I had to repent to my son and to the Lord.
The next day, when I called his name he ran the other way. Instead of being frustrated, I did the right thing. I got up and went to him and reminded him that when I call his name, he was to come to mommy right away.
As I did it, I said in my mind, “I love you more than I love sitting in my chair,” and I prayed for the Lord to make it so. He did.
That week I was visiting at another mom’s house, he ran from me in the opposite direction, and headed around the house. I had to stop my conversation to go fetch and correct him, but the whole way, I could hear the Lord saying: “You love him more than what these other mom’s think, more than you love standing here and chatting, and more than having your dream of a perfectly well behaved child.”
Every since that day, more than two years ago, when I find myself feeling selfish and run down with all the little annoyances, they fade quickly as I examine each one and remind myself that I love these four children more than I love the dream of perfectly behaved children who never interrupt adults, or make messes, or argue with siblings, or embarrass me from time to time.
Praise God, I really do love them more.
I know some of you struggle with some of the daily tasks of motherhood and home schooling. I know children can be frustrating and tiring, but I pray that my struggle will help you look at your precious children and husband, and instead of comparing them to your ideal vision, the Lord will give you a heart to say….”I love you more than this.”
If you are in need of additional resources on this topic, I have the following suggestions:
Teaching the Difficult Child MP3 – audio recording of the workshop
Teaching the Difficult Child CD – audio recording of the workshop
You may also want to read the following article on Teaching the Difficult Child – Help My Daughter is Twelve! – Reader Question