Have you ever cried out to God for help with something and just as fast as the light comes on when you flip on the light switch He answers? Well, let me tell you about one of my most recent experiences.
Ok, here’s my time of transparency.
Here we go…
Not to demean anyone else’s child but I have the most amazing little boy that any parent could be blessed to have. I mean, he’s just the best! Along with a list of other wonderful attributes, my son is very smart, he’s polite, he’s caring, he’s funny, and to be completely honest (no shade to my husband, parents or siblings) I have never known what it was like to instantly love someone like I experienced the day I pushed him out of my womb unmedicated with 4-5 pushes. The pure joy that I felt in that moment made all of the pain that I was feeling just moments prior go away. Let me know if you want to hear more about my natural birth experience and I’ll be sure to do a post about it.
Anyway, despite all of the wonderful attributes that God has so gracefully blessed my son with he’s also somewhat of a handful, especially to discipline. One thing I make a habit of is to NEVER call my child or anyone else's child bad. I absolutely hate that. During clinic visits I would frequently stop parents mid-sentence when they would refer to their child as bad. Statements like, “he's/she’s such a bad child,” or them outright telling their child that they are bad irritated me. I know that everyone parents differently however, we all must remember that children (especially young children) WILL. BE. CHILDREN.
Let me stay on this subject for a little while. Very young children do not have the mental ability to conceptualize right from wrong and, their inductive and deductive reasoning has not developed yet making it more likely that they will have what we view as inappropriate social and situational behavior. As children grow, their cognitive abilities grow as well. Click on the Bright Futures picture above to learm about childhood developmental milestones from infancy through adolescence. It’s our duty as parents/guardians to teach AND model this behavior; and one lesson is not enough! How many times did you have to learn how to do a certain thing to finally grasp exactly how to do it? Okay, the same should apply for our children.
Let's go a little deeper. The Bible tells us over and over again that we should watch what comes out of our mouth (Proverbs 10:14, Colossians 4:5, Proverbs 15:2, Proverbs 18:21). Let’s not be foolish with our words and paint our children with negativity. Can you imagine, asking a child who they are and instead of them telling you their name they tell you, “I’m bad.” Whelp, I had a kid in the clinic tell me that once and it broke my heart.
Bluntly speaking, when we speak negatively about our children, to our children or over our children we are simply pronouncing word curses over them. Who wants to intentionally and consciously curse their child? No one in their right mind. My husband can tell you that when it comes to our son, and words spoken over him or even at him, I quickly stop all negativity before it could even penetrate his ears and combat it with The Word of the Lord. There is a way to state what you precieve as a fact about someone else's life, their behavior or situation in a way that would be received with love, respect and heartfelt correction. Alright, I know I veered off of subject for awhile but I just had to address those two points.
Moving on, my prayer to God in regards to disciplining my son has been for the Lord to help me to discipline him in a way that would be beneficial to his growth and development as well as, would cause the biggest cognitive impact and receptivity from him. I also asked the Lord to give me the courage and confidence to do what He instructs me to do throughout the process. What other moms can shameless say that sometimes we can be the cause of our children's (especially mother’s and son's) behavior inconsistencies. They are our babies, we love them so much and it hurts our heart when they cry. That’s all true but we must also realize that if we continue to see them as that little baby we held in our arms the day they were born our view of them will remain blurred as they mature. I also don’t want to be that parent that has to always use the other parent as a means to get the child to listen to them. I want my child to listen to me because I said so (and because it’s for his own good). Often times, I think that if my mother was still alive this discipline thing would be much easier. If you knew my mom you knew that she didn’t play…cue the shoe flying across the room. That’s just my hypothesis and I don't know if it would have been justified but I sure know that I’m being stretched in this area.
Okay now, back to the beginning. Soon after I finished praying and reading a chapter in a really good book I'm enjoying now, my “son-shine” greeted me with such an adorable, “Good Morning Mama.” I took him in my arms asked him how he slept throughout the night and I got started getting him ready for his day. When he was done with his morning chores he ran into the kitchen and told me with great joy what he wanted to eat for breakfast. His request was peanut butter toast & grapes. "Sure son," I said. “You get the peanut butter and I’ll put your toast in the toaster and prepare the grapes.” Now, my son knows where all of the things he likes to eat are in the kitchen but for some reason this morning he didn’t know where the peanut butter was. I had gotten the toast ready, his grapes were in a bowl and his vitamins were waiting for him at his seat but still, he couldn’t remember where the peanut butter was. My typical reaction would have been to remind him of where the peanut butter was but I clearly heard the Holy Spirit say to me, let him find it on his own. I went back and forth with the Holy Spirit pleading my case of why I needed to remind my son where the peanut butter was but despite all of the talking I was doing, the Holy Spirit gave me one solid NO (the no actually came right when I started pleding my case but I kept talking...that's a word in itself). Once I fully committed to be obedient to what I was told to do, surprisingly, seeing my son go from the refrigerator, to the freezer, to the deep freezer, to other cabinets in the kitchen where the peanut butter was obviously not stored, I felt a peace come upon me. It was weird y’all. I didn’t worry myself about getting him fed, about him not being able to remember where the peanut butter was, about how much time this task was taking away from me doing the things that I needed to do in that moment, I didn’t even allow my mind to, “go off the deep end,” and wonder if something medically was going on with him (sorry, that’s the NP in me). None of that happened, the peace that encompassed me sure surpassed all of my understanding.
After several times of reminding my son (calmly) that he looked in several different places for the peanut butter and it was not there maybe he should consider looking in places where he hasn’t looked already. I became even more at peace with him exercising his brain muscles to think about where the peanut butter might be.
Ladies and gentlemen, 2 hours later he finally found the peanut butter! The smile and joy on his face when he ran to me with the jar of peanut butter was breathtaking. We did a little dance and he finally was able to sit down and eat his breakfast.
You know what, a couple of things stood out to me throughout the time of my son searching for the peanut butter? During those 2 hours he never asked to eat something else because he couldn’t find the peanut butter, he never once had a temper tantrum because he couldn’t find the peanut butter or because I refused to help him find it, he never gave up looking for the peanut butter (even though a few times he did utilize his iPad and played with a few toys) and when I suggested that he pray and ask God to help him remember where the peanut butter was he was receptive. He didn't not have any behavior hiccups throughout the entire time.
The way this whole situation unfolded made me think back on the scripture I heard earlier this morning while in my morning devotion, Mark 10:15. The last part of this verse stuck out to me during that time and now I know why, “…as a little child…” Follow me, after trying all that I knew to do in regards to disciplining my son I put aside all of my logic, reasoning, my medical knowledge of pediatric growth and development, what I grew up knowing discipline to be and look like and what other people recommended I do, and I went to the source, God, “like a child” and said, I need your help because I don’t know what else to do. I also, did what I was instructed to do in this situation which was, not help him but instead let him find it on his own. Please realize that this morning was not the first time I prayed this prayer but maybe, just maybe, this was the first time that I approached the throne of God with this situation, “as a little child.” Don’t ever underestimate your posture when approaching the throne of God. I know that this particular scripture passage is referring to how we as believers should reverence the realm where God resides, but I also believe that it also speaks to our heart's posture when it comes to prayer. I believe that our posture in prayer is equally as important as the words that come out of our mouth. If our posture was a not important then why would God waste his time to tell us how to approach Him?
From now on I will consciously do my best to keep this principle at the forefront when I’m seeking God for anything. I hope you do the same too. I'll take today's victory as a win and a step forward in me learning how to discipline my son. (*pats self on back*) Maybe I just need to move out of the way...
Pray for me as I pray for you on your parenting journey.
Let's pray and ask God to mold us to be the kind of parent(s) that He designed us to be and the type of parent(s) that our child/children needs us to be. Let's also, break any word curses off of our children. When you get to a blank, say the name of your child/children.
Lord, thank you for this/these wonderful, smart and beautiful/handsome child/children you have blessed me with. I am so honored to be _______s parent and grateful that you have thought so much of me to give _______ to me. Lord, I know that I haven’t been the best parent to _______, I apologize. Mold me to be the parent for _______ that you would have me to be and the parent that _______ needs me to be. I ask that you forgive me for anytime that I have knowingly or unknowingly spoken word curses over, at or about _______. I also ask that you forgive me for allowing others to speak word curses over, at or about _______. Your word says that the tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly. Lord, help me to use my words toward _______ in a way that will uplift, encourage and strengthen _______ never to tear him/her/them down. Hold me accountable to make sure that others also speak favorably towards _______. In times when I need to correct _______ help me to do it in love and levelheadedness. I now set fire to every evil and demonic alter that any word curse has errected in _______'s life. Any stain or residue that those word curses have left on _______'s life, his/her mind or his/her outlook is erased with the cleansing blood of Jesus. Lord, I trust and believe that all of the things that I’ve brought to you in prayer today will come to pass according to your word.
In Jesus' Name Amen.
BEFORE YOU GO, don't forget to download these 2 FREE resource tools I've created just for you!
Click the links to download.