I wrote a post awhile back entitled: How To Fix A Disrespectful Spirit In Your Child. It’s currently the most visited post I’ve written to date. It tells me something… we all get frustrated with our stubborn children. With all the differences that you and I may have as parents, we can agree on one thing: strong willed children suck the life right out of us! If you don’t have a strong willed child, just wait… I say that with much joy and a tiny bit of fear in my eyes 🙂 All kidding aside, our children are a complete joy and gift from the Lord! But if we are honest, those stubborn children (that normally resemble us) get under our skin and it’s tough to like them at times. Sure, we love them… but like? Not always. So how can we learn to not just love them, but enjoy them and like them?
1. Realize that God made them stubborn for a reason.
This is so freeing! God made them with that stubborn nature! When they were being formed in the womb, He could have left their stubborn nature out. But He didn’t. So pray that your child uses it for good!
2. Realize that their current melt down doesn’t define them.
You arrive to that family gathering, and everyone is ooooooing and aaaaaahhhing about how cute your child is. If they only knew the ugly meltdown that just occurred on your kitchen floor. The one where smoke was coming out of their ears, and little Johnny’s face was the color tomato. Remember that their bad moments don’t define them… they just having a tough day/moment for whatever reason.
3. Be thankful for their likable moments.
Enjoy their likable moments! There are plenty of them. Be thankful for their current “sweet” state.
4. Start a prayer journal with their name on it!
Like, literally…. a whole journal just for them. Goodness knows they need a whole one dedicated to them. Write in it daily. Prayers. The good moments. The bad moments. How you handled a problem. What worked today? What didn’t. More prayers. More petitioning before the throne of God for them.
5. Spend more time with them.
That child that gets under your skin? They need more time with you. It will be good for both of you. Trust me. Find things you have in common. Learn about the things you don’t have in common so you can understand them on a deeper level.
6. Look past the annoying temperament and into their heart.
Look past the things that down right annoy you about them, and see their heart. That’s what Jesus does with you and I. It’s called grace.
Grace sees the beauty in the ugly moments. Winning their heart means gaining a life long friend one day.
7. Stop worrying what other people will say about your parenting.
Parents will always have advice and give you unsolicited input. Just the other day, my friend Lisa posted this on facebook:
If you want parenting advice you should stop by the mall… One older woman suggested I stick Aubrey in the snow to teach her a lesson about taking her shoes off, another man asked if it bothered me that she was watching something on my phone while I shopped for her big sisters. No thank you, and actually I’m incredibly grateful for a short diversion to help me get my Christmas shopping done! Oh man!!
Oh me oh my. Remember, you know your child best. Don’t worry about the others. Sometimes we’ll mess up, but that’s okay. God gave them to us to parent.
8. Stop blaming yourself for their way of processing life.
Oh, the blame game. You must stop playing it. Their current monster stage? It’s not your fault. Be patient and work through it with them. You are not to blame. Don’t let them steal your role. You are in charge. They are not.
9. Use encouraging words rather than resorting to threats.
Oh, threats work sometimes, but don’t you feel trapped when you use them? “If you don’t hurry up, Mommy won’t take you to the store.” Instead, let’s focus on who is in charge: “As soon as you get your shoes on, we get to go to the playground!”
10. Be creative, vigilant, and flexible.
What works today may not work tomorrow. Keep trying. Keep your cool. Keep trying to win the heart of your child. Understand that you can’t “fix” them. They are wired a certain way, and that’s okay. All you type A personalities out there (raising both hands high), we must learn to be flexible. Taking care of a child in a puddle on the floor is more important that being on time. So be it. Life goes on. Don’t lose your temper just because of the clock.