Why is it that disobedient kids are so much cuter when they’re two? My two-year-old gets away with way too much because she’s just so dang cute. My older kids get away with too much simply because I’m lazy. And because it’s miserable to administer discipline.
I’ve been seeing a pattern developing with my oldest that I’ve tried to address with lectures, heart-to-hearts, taking away privileges, and my personal favorite – ignorance (feigned ignorance, that is – meaning I’m basically too lazy to deal with it so I pretend not to notice. Parenting at its finest!)
The other day when we were at a friend’s house, it happened again, and I knew something had to be done. I prayed for wisdom and dreaded the confrontation. When we got home, I dealt with it as I felt necessary. We hugged and prayed and cried just a little. It was hard, but I know I did the right thing.
I feel like we’re on the brink of… what, I’m not entirely sure. But it’s a new world out there. Time marches on, and as the kids get bigger, so do the problems. I’m terrified of raising a child who chooses to rebel and turn against me, or worse, God.
Right now I’m still able to connect, to get through to him when I need to. But I’m afraid the time is coming when a wall will go up, and I won’t be able to penetrate it. I’m probably borrowing trouble, but the teenage years are looming. They are taunting me, and I am living in fear.
When I was pregnant with my first, my sister-in-law told me that having children is the most joyful and most painful experience in the world. I think I’m getting just a taste of what she meant.
Since that afternoon, I have noticed a different attitude around the house. (My son’s, not mine.) I can see the seeds I’m sowing starting to grow and flourish. I know that discipline pays off, and that ignoring disobedience and disrespect will only avoid pain in the short term. The long-term pain it may produce would be much worse. It’s encouraging to see that already, our confrontation is having positive results.
This morning I took some time to sit outside on my deck, cup of coffee in one hand and small pink leather-bound Bible in the other. I read Psalm 92 and then just sat there, talking to God, soaking in His goodness as the warmth of the sun beat down on my skin. I prayed for wisdom and discernment and grace and mercy in my interactions with my children. It’s all right there, just for the asking. How cool is that!?