Sunday, August 25, 2013

Parenting Your Spirited Child: My Child is Helping Change me for the Better




I completely believe that I have learned more in these first three years of being a Mama then I ever learned in the thirty something years before our children's arrival. And this is not just learning about parenting, this is learning about who I am and who God is shaping me to be as His daughter as well as the mother of these precious children and a wife to my dear husband. Having children has changed me. Having a spirited child has definitely changed me. And that is a good thing. Why you ask? Because in changing as a person, I am also changing for the better as a parent and as a wife to my husband. This doesn't mean it's easy. It's hard. Really hard. But amidst hard work of it all there is so much to be thankful for.

So I am thankful for the things parenting a spirited child is teaching me:

Patience ~ Someone once said to me 'Never pray for patience, because the only way you can receive patience is through trials'. I think there is some truth in that. But I am also learning that God has a lot to teach me about patience. Love is patient...and kind...1 Corinthians 13:4a God chose to describe agape love with the word patient. Agape love is the way God loves us. Unconditionally. Even though I mess up and lose my patience a lot I am getting better and when it comes down to it, I love my children unconditionally and am getting better at this patience bit of the deal. Day by day. Minute by minute and sometimes second by second.

Selflessness ~ I got married when I was in my early thirties and independence was something I had gotten used to out of necessity. Although we love each other and love being married, that first year was a bit of a challenge having someone around all.the.time. But we figured it out. When Mikail came along we learned a whole new realm of selflessness and that just multiplied after Olivia was born. Mikail is content having time on his own a couple of times a day. In fact he needs it and chooses it. Olivia is more outgoing and doesn't need any alone time (or so she thinks-ha). As a spirited child she is much more intense and this has meant a whole new level of selflessness on my part. Being a person who 'needs' her alone time, I have found this to be a challenge for me, but I'm learning that I have to die to myself and put my children's needs ahead of my own. God is teaching me and I am learning: Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4. I am also very aware that for me to be a good Mama to our kids, I do better if I take some of that time away from the kids. And that's okay.

Uniqueness of Individuals ~ I love looking at my two children and seeing how different they are from each other. Night and day. I love that. It makes my heart swell with pride. God created Olivia's strong personality for a reason. He has a plan for her and I can't wait to see it unfold. God created Mikail's 'gentle giant' personality for a reason. He has a plan for him and I can't wait to see it unfold as well.

Empathy ~ Before we had children I thought I had all the answers. Yup. I was that person. I was a little bit judgmental of some parent's parenting decisions when their children misbehaved. I thought I had all the answers. Now I know that day in and day out this parenting thing is more challenging than I would have ever dreamed of and am much more understanding of other parents.

Care less of what people think of me ~ I am still working on this, but some things take longer than others, right? I am an overly perceptive person, so I am always trying to figure out what other people think of my way of interacting with my children and I die a little bit inside when comments are made about my clingy child, or my shy child, or my screaming child or my child that doesn't speak a lot. I am learning that I shouldn't care what other people think or say. God is teaching me to let go of my pride and the need of approval of others. Posting these blog entries this past week has really stretched me in this matter. Putting it out there makes me feel ueber vulnerable.

To become more outgoing ~ Oh how I love my alone time. I am a home body to the core. I love to travel, but I also love, love, love staying home. I am finding that my children are social butterflies. They both love to go out and explore the world and be with their friends. I am learning that I benefit from a more social outgoing life as well.

Communication with my husband. Consistency is so important for all children, but I am finding that our spirited Olivia needs consistency more than ever. We are blessed to be parenting these children together (I have such a high respect for single parents out there. You ROCK!), but it takes a lot of communication between each other to keep on the same page and be consistent with both of our children.

Reliance on God as He is the ultimate parent. There are a zillion and one books on parenting out there. Many hold a lot of great advice and encouragement and are wonderful tools to have, but when it comes down to it, God is our Father. He is the One to go to for wisdom on parenting decisions.

Parenting a spirited child is difficult at times with all the demands this entails. Yet, I am finding that there are far more blessings in this journey. One of my favourite verses of all time is Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works 
for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose.

Isn't that just amazing? God is working for the good of me and you and our children, whatever their personalities and whatever challenges and triumphs you faced together today.

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2 comments:

  1. It's always amazing to me how my four can all be SO different from each other. I have one very strong willed child, he is a redhead through and through. He and I both like to be right, so we butt heads quite a bit. I appreciate what you shared here. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by and reading. Your comment means a lot to me. Thank you. Blessings to you as you raise four wonderfully different children and extra patience and grace with the strong willed one. ;)

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