At this point in our parenting life, Josh and I have hit the “terrible twos.” Our daughter can be as sweet as can be for one minute, and the next minute be so unkind, unloving, and demanding. Simply said, she’s like a ticking time bomb. Anything can make her go from pleasant to unpleasant and then back again.
Currently, as I am writing this post, she is singing to herself so sweetly in her room. At this very moment, she is making my heart melt into a million little pieces. I am cautiously waiting for her to stop singing and to yell down the stairs something that will delay the nap time process… So until then, I will continue writing and pray that she would peacefully fall asleep and take a great nap.
Her attitude and behavior have really been on my heart the last couple of months. In the middle of her voicing her displeasure about things, which can go out of hand quickly, I find myself trying to understand and figure out how and why she is acting the way she is.
Do I not give her enough attention? Do I need to work less and be at home more? Is it because Josh and I don’t take the time each night to give her our full attention every second we’re home? How can I change this? Is she tired? Is she hungry? Maybe I’m not that good of a parent after all. Does every kid act the way she does?
Guilt and anxiety start infiltrating my judgement. I start obsessing about the day and trying to figure out why my child would behave that way. I search on the internet for answers and go to parenting forums in the middle of the night just to see if other children act this way.
Anyone with me on this?
And then I am calmly reminded that yes, while our behavior as parent’s affect her, and outside behaviors affect her, she’s just starting to figure out how the world works. She’s learning what boundaries are. She’s learning how her family works. She’s learning how to be a big sister. She’s learning how to act at home and how to act in public. She is constantly testing each adult she interacts with. Our children are relying on us as parents to teach them how this whole life thing works.
Their world is still so new and really, they are still babies!
I often have to stop myself from engaging too much while she is going through a tough period. It’s been so easy for me to raise my voice at her, or threaten her with time out, or just simply argue back with her. I am learning that traveling down this avenue is not working and it’s not sustainable.
James 1:19-20 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
The Bible teaches us that as parents and adults, we need to listen to our children, listen to what they’re trying to communicate and to be patient with them. I think more than that, God is calling us to teach our children to be patient communicators. The best way to show our children a new skill or to show them what we expect of them is to actually put what we want from them into practice.
It’s so easy sometimes to quickly make up my daughters mind for her, or to tell her in a way that I am not available to her to listen because we need to get out the door right away or we need to move on from one thing to the next. It’s definitely easy to do this when I am tired. I am a terrible example to my kids when I am tired and really just don’t feel the capacity to argue or communicate clearly with her.
And in the midst of feeling like I am failing my daughter, I need to remind myself that while some days I wont get it right, there will be days that I am spot on. While it’s easy to call myself a failure, I need to take a look in the mirror and celebrate how much my kids have grown and how truly blessed I am for a family that is healthy and mostly happy. I need to hop off those late night mommy forums that talk about other families and what works for them, and really begin to focus on my family and find out what works for us.
My hope is that we can all benefit our children and ourselves by being ready to listen and to really show our children how important they are, without becoming angry. I encourage everyone to be patient with your kiddos, hope off those parenting websites, and to also be patient with adults. We too, need as much Grace as possible.
Maybe you don’t need the reminder, but here it is:
You are doing a great job – don’t let anyone else tell you differently!