Tuesday 18 February 2014

Giving children what they need not what they want

Parenting is probably the hardest job I’ve ever had to take on; it is full on and there is little respite available. I have such respect for those who have to parent alone, at least I can talk things through with my dh and walk away to cool down when I need to as he is there to tag team with.

Just recently I have been pondering quite a lot about how children desire things and it is our job as parents to act as the gatekeeper and to decide what is good for them and if they can have it. If the rules were left up to a child they would generally choose to eat ice cream all day, not go to school, stay up late and do as they please. We of course know this would make them fat, lazy and poorly educated as well as tired and irritable, but they do not have that wisdom that comes with age.

Rarely do they acknowledge that we know best and that we only want the very greatest things for them so the hard bit comes when our child retaliates and argues with us as the sensible options we are offering often seem boring or staid. However we know that boring can help them to develop into a kind and well-rounded young adult.

I really feel it is our job as parents to be disliked at times. When JJ wants to argue with me about when he will do his homework (I know I’m lucky that he is willing to do it at all) it is my job to lay down the law and insist he does it when I say. There are times we talk things through and I offer him choices or we compromise but there are also times when I feel it is very important to put my foot down and remind him I am the parent and he will do as he is told. I do end up laughing mostly though as afterwards he will tell me that he is so glad his homework is out the way or he loves it when his room is tidy! I suppose that is the joy of him being slightly older at 10 years, he is starting to learn that Mum does know best.

At age six I think the girls have not really comprehended yet that I know best and they just think that sometimes I am a spoil sport and I will stop them doing something fun for the sake of it. Miss M hurts herself constantly after doing something we have asked her to stop but does she learn? Oh no, she does not appear to absorb the lesson at all. I take heart that JJ was like her at her age and thus there is hope that she will grow out of this demanding and exhausting stage she is in right now.

I was reading a devotional book the other day and the writer shared a story about how her husband had gone for a job as a head teacher of a large and prestigious school, together they had prayed he would get the job. Then when the verdict came that he had been unsuccessful she was so cross at God as she just knew the job would be perfect for her husband and he would be able to do so much good there. Within a few months she fell seriously ill and her husband needed to be available to care for her and to work in a job that did not take every ounce of his energy. Of course God’s beautiful plan started to make sense when later she thought back to this time but at the time it just seemed so painful when something they really wanted did not come to fruition.

As always I think I have something to learn from my children as very often I‘m impatient and I know what I want for my family and I’ll be honest I’d go as far as to say I think I know best. But of course that is stupid and presumptuous, I have no idea what God has planned for my family and I know His plans are always far better than I could ever imagine. It is a lesson for me to do as my children do and to listen to my heavenly father rebuke me and teach me that sometimes I have to do things I don’t want to but they will be for the very best.

We all need guidance in life, we are growing and changing every day and when we rely on our parents (be them physical or spiritual) then we probably won’t go far wrong.

There have been so many occasions when I have been disappointed that something didn’t work out and then later I see the reason why, so when a door closes don’t give up hope, keep faith and all will be revealed in God’s good time.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin