I have entered uncharted waters with my boys, and they are very turbulent at times. These are the moments I don’t share on Facebook. Facebook is my place for sharing the “highlights” of my sons’ lives. The fuzzy, cuddly, Hallmark moments, such as this picture of the two of them reading together. I live for these moments, and there are a lot of them. But then I leave the room for two seconds to go pee or change out of my PJs and hear nothing but yelling and whining as soon as I am absent.
My youngest hit his older brother over the head with a light saber a few hours after this photo was taken. He also has a new habit of pulling Jaden’s hair.
My oldest recently started telling us “no” when he doesn’t want to do something we ask him to do. He also has begun making faces, rolling his eyes, and crossing his arms across his chest to show his anger toward our response.
These are issues we are working through and trying to learn the best ways to handle each situation as it comes. Time-outs and taking away privileges are punishments we already enforce, and they are usually effective. But I also need to do a better job of managing my children’s time, especially my five-year-old. And by that I don’t mean micro-managing every second so that they can’t enjoy being kids. I simply mean setting boundaries.
I am currently working on a list of daily chores for my five-year-old. Many of the ones I’ve come up with are things he already does, so it’s more about organization for me and coming up with a system. Some of the tasks include feeding the dogs, helping with laundry, picking up toys, etc. Some of the chores will just be part of living in this home. Others, he will receive a small allowance each week which will be divided into three separate jars: Give, Save, and Spend. I will keep everyone up-to-date on how these ideas progress. Putting things in writing is my way of keeping myself accountable.
My point is this. My kids are not perfect. They are far from it. As Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” My job as a parent is to train them up in the way they should go. To not check out mentally and start a game of Words with Friends create a new board on Pinterest when I don’t feel like dealing with the turmoil. To address the issues which come up on a daily basis and to discipline when needed. To explain the reason for punishment in a way my child can understand and to listen when he has an earnest question. To give positive reinforcement when appropriate.
There have been tears, and I know there will be more to come. But no one ever said being a parent was easy and if they did I’d like to know what planet they came from.
God gave me these precious gifts and entrusted them to me. I know that without His strength, I will fail. But with His help and guidance, I can advance through this unmapped area of mothering.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”