Monday, June 22, 2009

From Angels to Monsters

All children are different and some are naturally better behaved than others, but I think if you have been a mom for more than a year or two it is pretty safe to say, you have come to the realization that even your own child, that precious little cherub God has given you, can act like a monster!

I remember having a conversation with my sweet sister-in-law when her son was a few months old about the show Super Nanny. She said she couldn’t believe how terrible the kids on that show acted and that it made her cry to think her sweet baby would ever act that way. My oldest son is a year and a half older than my sister-in-law’s little boy, so I had seen the other side of the angelic infant days and knew that her day of dealing with her boy’s terrible behavior would likely come. And it did.

For my husband and I with our 3 kids and for my brother and his wife with their 2 kids, it continues to come. Those seasons when we are so frustrated with our child’s terrible behavior, and struggling with how to change it and mostly how to reach their hearts, rather than temporarily fixing the annoying attitudes, habits, etc.

With my oldest child, and most strong willed and challenging, there seems to be a pattern of a couple weeks of awfulness where I am just about literally tearing my hair out over his behavior followed by weeks of him being great! The transition between the bad and good is not obvious in that we notice immediately the change has occurred, but rather a few days will go by and suddenly I will think, “You know he has been really nice to be around lately, acting so helpful and mature, what a joy he is!”

But alas, a month or two will go by and again, I will sit down at the end of the day convinced my child may actually be either the spawn of Satan or headed for a life of incarceration because the behavior is so bad! It was during one of those periods, on a Friday night after a very rough week when I actually felt it might be better if I could send him off for someone else to raise because we obviously were not doing a good job, that I got this Email from my (then 5 year old) son’s Sunday School teacher:
“(His name was here) is an amazing little boy. He is so focused on learning and listening when we teach the lesson. It is so great to see his excitement . . . (I’m skipping a little here so this post won’t get too long). His little laugh is contagious! He truly is a joy to teach, not only for moments like that, but for his heart so open to God’s word and eagerness to learn the Bible. You guys are doing a wonderful job in raising a God loving, gentle hearted boy.”

To say I almost fell off the couch where I was reading that email would be a huge understatement!

But then I got it. God was using my son’s dear, sweet Sunday school teacher to encourage my heart to carry on with my son even though it was hard. I was (and still am) so grateful for that Email because it gives me hope that even if I don’t always see that we were getting through to him, maybe we are!

I replied to that teacher with how needed and welcome her God-given words were that day. And since then as I teach in my daughter’s Sunday school class and help with kids at swim team and other places, I try to give parents honest positive feedback when I see good in their kids, like “She was so helpful today and wiped off the table after snack without even being asked!” or “Your son was so polite, greeted me by name and thanked me for helping him find his goggles!”

Because this parenting thing is hard, and sometimes we all just need that hope that maybe we are not completely messing it up!

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers & Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.

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  1. So hard!!! I never could have imagined how hard it could be. Especially for our generation who was not taught to parent by the previous generation. It is so nice to hear encouragement from other people and I am trying to remember to be more encourageing to my children as well. Sometimes I just forget how much they need.

  2. Ohhhhh, yeah, I get it. It can be minute to minute or day to day. My three can be angels in public, we'll get many encouraging comments one day and then the next day I'm asking myself what was I thinking to be taking them out in public. Scratching my head, asking myself, "What just happened here?" Then even on the flip side, they can be angels in public and wholly terror when we get home. The joy. :)

  3. I know what you mean. My hubby and I had one biological son, and we added six through adoption. There are days that I don't think I'll make it through. Then other days when I something happens and I feel so amazingly blessed. Keep up the good work!


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