Wednesday, November 10, 2010

15 Parenting Tips I Give Myself: Parent in Your Weakness

Tip #13
When Times Get Rough, Give Up Your Strong Suit

We start our parenthood journey fairly polarized, I think. God seems to build into each of us a propensity toward either grace or truth - that is, we are either compassionate or a careful observer of rules and laws. I am strong in the latter. It is where I get the phrase "Obey Mommy the First Time" (swat, swat). This strength of mine gives me a pair of glasses that first and formost sees behavior as either obedient or disobedient, nipping bad behavior in the bud before it becomes an issue. On the other side, my sister is naturally compassionate. She ponders and considers the heart motivation behind her children's behavior before deciding how to handle her girls. (What is your propensity?)

In my life it has been my inexperience and insecurity that has driven me to spend most of my parenting moments perfecting my strengths. There comes a point when I needed to consider living moments outside the comfortable zone of strength and instead treading the dangerous waters of my personal weaknesses. I remember the moment I realized that it was time to put my toe in these treacherous waters: Davis, my oldest and only child, was pushing the line of disobedience in new and improved ways. His usually sweet disposition had disappeared and the child I was now parenting was whiney, disobedient, and an all around pill. Where did my Davis go?!

I don't remember if I had received wisdom from a fellow mom, my own mom, or if it was the whisper of the Holy Spirit but I remember standing in my kitchen, seeing Davis pull some of his "new normal" antics on me. it was everything I could do to not discipline him for his disobedience. But instead of staying in my comfort zone, I parented (as it turns out) like my sister. It was less than a day and I was already seeing the old Davis again. I quicly concluded that I had perfected my strength to the point of turning it into a weakness!

It is a strange way to think about it, but when you are out of ideas with that one kid that is driving you to drink, do the exact opposite of what your gut tells you, and just see what happens. Who knows - it just might work!


Megan said...

When I started reading, I was thinking, "my sister and I are SO different in this!" which was a weird realization because, well, it isn't that we butt heads in parenting or disagree, but we certainly have our different strengths and weaknesses!! I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to watch you exercise truth in parenting your kids for years before I had my own because it gave me a lot of confidence that "truth" works with children. Not that I doubted it, but like you said, it is more my weakness. So, thanks for being my example in that aspect, and so many other ways. You are my very favorite sister.

Anonymous said...

I tend to lean more towards truth, like you. I want rules followed and tend to lose my compassion for those who do not follow the rules. What a good reminder to be extending grace and compassion, just like the Father does to us!