Thursday, June 28, 2007

Nehemiah 8:10

"Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

Today began ugly. I've been struggling with my eldest, and this morning was no different. On a good day, she and I merely butt heads. On a bad day, like today, I am often reduced to tears after I've lost it and screamed at her. It's a tough relationship, and this morning I questioned God's wisdom in giving me this child when I'm clearly not training her well or meeting her emotional needs.

Later, though, I listened to a CD on child training called "Starting Over." The message was clear -- I can't train my child unless I have a great relationship with her, and that won't happen unless I'm daily investing time with her and praising her. The speaker said that if I have 150 interactions with my child a day, 145 of them need to be lavish praise. Five of them can be correction, but they need to be blanketed in so much love that my child would want to please me by obeying. My praise-to-discipline ratio has been reversed lately.

The speaker also reminded me to find joy in my children, to laugh at their antics, to bring them alongside me during my day, and to be love their childishness. I was strongly convicted, because just an hour before I had barked at my kids to please leave me alone so I could have a few minutes of quiet while I wasted time on my computer. I'm hardly demonstrating love when I'm sending my children out of the room.

So tonight I'm claiming Nehemiah 8:10, "The joy of the Lord is my strength." I'm praying that he'll enable me to find joy in my children and to find joy in Him, so that all my parental weaknesses might become strengths. Here's hoping.


Megan said...

Oh, good words today. And you are not alone.

Alex said...

Chelsea- This posting really spoke to me. The paragraph describing your current struggles fits our household to a tee- I have also been at odds almost constantly lately with my eldest. It saddens me to think how often I have failed to demonstrate love in our difficult moments the last few months. Since the kids have been out of school, I've made a serious effort to change some of the patterns/attitudes that led to trouble, but I would love to have more concrete guidance. So would you mind giving more info about the cd you heard? And I'll keep you guys in my prayers as I also pray for grace and patience.

Mom2fur said...

Oh, my gosh, is that ever right! It breaks my heart when I see people do nothing but badmouth their kids and not notice even an iota of good in them. (I'm not saying this about you, of course...I'm mostly thinking of my daughter's best friend. Her mother never has a good thing to say about her, and believe me, at 25 she does NOT have a good relationship with her!)
Mine are 17, 20, 22 and 24. My daughter is the 22 year old. When she was young, there were troubled times. Broken curfews, a bad crowd, etc. But one thing I tried to do was to not carry one day's problems into the next. For instance, I would try very hard to never say something like, "it figures you'd do something like that!" Or..."You always (fill in the blank)!" Each day is a new day and a new beginning. Yesterday is done and over with! And I don't care how 'bad' a kid is...every kid has good in them. Sometimes, it's so hard to find it, isn't it? But my daughter is the coolest 22-year-old ever. We got through our troubles, and I'm sure you will, too! Oh, and listen, here's a little trick...don't just praise her to her face. When you are speaking on the phone, or to a friend, and she is just within earshot (but not in the room--you want to pretend you don't know she can hear you), be sure to say something nice about her to your friend. Something as simple as, "(Name) is really good at (fill in the blank," or "(Name) was nice enough to do (whatever) for me today." Do you get what I mean?
Oh...and we've all asked our kids to leave the room for a few moments. Show me a mom who says she never 'barked' at her kids, and I'll show you a liar.
Hang in there, you will survive!

Oh...and thanks for the comment about milk. I'm with you...I don't think mixing powdered and real stuff would taste very good, either.

Mom2fur said...

Hi, again. I get the impression your oldest isn't a teenager yet...but she will be one day, LOL! And I'm sure you'll have a wonderful and loving and healthy relationship. Again I say...hang in there!