Thursday, November 8, 2007

Coppin' a 'Tude

Do you have a child that gives you a run for your money? I do. He was the kind of kid that when you gave him the choice, "Are you going to obey or disobey?" he would look you in the eye and say, "disobey." I could not believe that he would rather have a spanking than submit his will to me. I was encouraged that, after a year, his answer started to (ocassionally) be "obey."

But today I am a little overwhelmed by the 'tude he sports. Mostly he dishes it out when he is angry or frustrated. He crosses his little arms, gives a hard-eye look and hollars, "Well ok then, I'm NEVER gonna DO it!" Most of the time the sentence does not even make sense in the context, but in his little mind I think it makes perfect sense. The second option in his "I'm frustrated and AN-GRRR-Y" arsenol is to flop down on the floor screaming and crying like the two-year-old he no longer is. And the screams can last a long time, and he is so noisy that you can't reason with him or even ask him what the problem is. He can't hear you and you can't understand him.

I am honestly beside myself. I fast-forward to the teen years and shake in my boots. I sat alone in my car today, praying for the Lord's wisdom with this little guy. That is the very best place to go. I know the Lord will give me wisdom (enough for each day, but perhaps not a fraction more).

I am just not sure how to even help him through the frustration. Because, I know that the feeling of anger is legitimate, and you can't ask kids to stop feeling a certain way (heck, you can't ask adults!). A feeling is a feeling and you can't stop them or start them. They just exist. It is what YOU DO with the feelings that can glorify or grieve The Father.

So how do you teach a kid how to get from anger and frustration to calm response? Do you let them scream it out in their bedroom until the anger is used up or exhaustion hits? Do you get angry back (duh, no)? I have tried whispering until he is interested enough in my words to quiet down enough so we can talk. I have tried walking out of the room until he quiets down (ticks him off more and prolongs the event significantly). I have tried tickling him until he can't be angry anymore. I have tried spanking him. I have tried time-outs. I have tried... so many things.

I think I have come to the conclusion that I need to understand how anger and frustration works inside a person, and how a person who loves the Lord can bring himself down from the anger in a godly way. I need some help so I can teach my little guy some coping mechanisms for these intense responses. Any thoughts? Any resources?

You, oh Father, know my little guy better than anyone else. He is Your 'masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which You have set aside for him to do.' Give me wisdom and strength to nurture in my little guy a passion for You. Teach me to be a better parent for him. Show me my failures and successes so that I can be clear-hearted and clear-headed with him. Thank you for allowing me to parent him. Help me to lean every day on You, the perfect parent, rather than on myself.


The Chirgwin Family said...

Oh Jenne, I will be praying for you and your little man. I just did a Bible Gateway search on Anger in the 'Wisdom' books. hmmm... Does it come back to self-control? What is the root? I don't know. This parenting thing is just so darn hard! Can we claim Joshua 1:8-9? "But Take Courage, do no be discouraged, Meditate on his law day and night and then we will have success." Love you!

Anonymous said...

Ok, this is my same scenario with Hope. She will tell me that she will obey, (and still not do it) but I feel like we are going over the same rules ten million times a day. There are tears, there is fit throwing..screaming. Yikes. The thing I am always reminded of is God's work in my own life with self control. I am not always eager to give up my control to Him and sometimes I think if He took something away from me, I might be angry for awhile too. Learning to be self-controlled is just harder for some personalities. The thing that I want to mirror to my strong willed child, is that I will ALWAYS be consistant. In discipline, love and grace...just like our Heavenly Father is with us. I understand completely what you are going through!!