Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lessons From Raising a Strong-Willed Child

I have mentioned before that I have six children. I find it amazing that each one is uniquely different. The characteristics of each of their personalities are unique to one another. Oh, I see a few similar personality traits and they definitely share similar looks, but for the most part they are each their own person. Today, I want to share a bit about my fifth child, Rachel. She is an adorable four year old with crazy, curly blond hair. As with all of my children, I love her more than words can express. BUT, there are days that I do not like her a whole lot. You see, if you took all of the stubbornness of all of my other children and put it one one side of a scale, Rachel would outweigh them with ease. Most days, nearly every little thing she is told to do becomes a HUGE battle. And when she is frustrated and digging her heels in, it usually also means she feels the need to scream at an ear-piercing level (which is especially fun in public...not). Now, every child goes through phases of being strong-willed and having temper tantrums. I have dealt with this before. I have four children before her; I consider myself experienced. However, I am NO match for this fiery tempered little girl! I have pulled every tactic I know out of my bag of tricks. Often, I am at a loss with how to deal with Rachel and throw my hands up in frustration.

One thing for sure is that Rachel has driven me to my knees to seek God's wisdom in parenting her on many occasions. I guess if you look at that, I could consider her personality to be a blessing. She forces me to realize that I can't be her mom on my own. My skills alone are inadequate. I need God's help. So, when I can see the battle lines being drawn, I am trying to remember to stop and pray for God's wisdom and words to help in the situation.

The other day when I was just loving on Rachel giving her a hug, a realization hit me. It doesn't matter how much she battles me, screams at me or how uncooperative she is, I still love her. She is my girl and I can't help but love her. I look into her eyes and see her insecurities and her weakness and I have compassion for her. The amazing thing I realized is that our relationship is a model of my relationship with God. I am His girl. He is my heavenly parent. Often when He asks me to do something, I argue with Him. I stubbornly dig my heels in and choose not to do what I know is right in His eyes. I often choose not to pay attention to His voice and feel like I know the best things for me. Just like I, as a parent have the wisdom of experience and know what is best for my little girl, God is ALL-knowing and knows what is best for me, but often I won't listen. The amazing thing is that He still loves me in that same unexplainable way that I love my little strong-willed girl. In fact, he loves me more even though I don't deserve it. That is what God's love is. It is an amazing thing!

So, if you finding yourself loving your little one or big one or other special person today, remember that God's love for you is so much bigger no matter how you behave. He loves you for just being you.

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