One day this month I was having a really hard time with Eva. I don’t know what has been going on with her lately, she’s such a sweet girl but she has been really trying my patience. So, on this one day in particular, we had a big fight. Probably because she just wasn’t listening. JUST LISTEN AND OBEY. I swear I say this 250 times a day, and probably 500 times on this day I’m describing.
Well, in the middle of the yelling, (LISTEN AND OBEY! … I MAKE MY OWN DECISIONS … YOU ARE ONLY FOUR … back and forth, you get the picture), I just called a time out pretty much and said, “Okay, let’s both take some big deep breaths.” We turned on Curious George for a couple of minutes and sat on the couch together. While she was immersed in the show, I was overwhelmed with incompetence as a mother. I feel this way often, but this time was so intense that I just didn’t know what to do. How was *I* supposed to be responsible to raise these children? I feel so lost sometimes when raising them. I feel like I’ve got an idea on how to parent and then it backfires. I come up with one discipline system that works for like five days then she’s totally over it. How do I discipline fairly for a four-year old? What is going to work and actually teach them a lesson? Is spanking too harsh? Do time-outs do anything? HOW THE H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEYSTICKS DO I TEACH A STRONG-WILLED FOUR YEAR OLD TO LISTEN AND OBEY? AHH!
So, that was how I’m feeling, sitting there on the couch while tuning out Curious George. My mind started wandering. Thinking of new approaches. Then I saw a picture of Christ in my room. News flash: I instantly started crying. I started thinking of our Savior and our Heavenly Father, but for the first time in my life (why is this the first time I ever considered this?) I asked myself how THEY would parent a strong-willed four year old.
I brainstormed some examples in the scriptures on our Savior’s attitude, how he dealt with others, how he handled difficult situations. At first I thought of His forgiveness towards others. Christ is our ultimate example of forgiveness. So, try and forgive Eva….? Well, most of what she was doing was just being a typical crazy four year old. I guess I could try and not take it personally? But that still doesn’t solve the problem on how to discipline and teach my child to listen.
I thought of some more examples in the scriptures. We know He was kind, understanding, compassionate, but also, there was that time when He got pretty upset with the people selling things in the temple, which they shouldn’t have been doing. So, does that mean I can lose my cool sometimes when Eva purposely disobeys rules?
Since that afternoon I asked myself those questions, thinking of the attributes of our Savior and trying to relate them to parenthood, I keep thinking about it. Honestly, every time Eva drives me up a wall I keep thinking about it. Really, I haven’t come up with a resolution. It’s something I am still pondering. I’m trying to read the scriptures and for the first time ever, read them with the perspective of a parent trying to teach her child to obey. It’s hard. And I guess I’m writing this post to ask you all what you think?
If Jesus came over to babysit (and I mean this question in the most serious way because we should always look to Him as our example), how would He discipline Eva if she would not listen and then acted crazy/hyper before bedtime? If you have an answer for that, PLEASE comment. And then tell me how you think it relates to us. I know there’s not just one way to teach our kids/discipline/etc. I also know that God loves each one of us more than we can imagine, so we should teach with love, as well. But there’s got to be some sort of example from our Savior on parenting in those difficult times. Sorry for the rambling… just trying to get my thoughts out here!
FYI-Eva is so great, and I love her dearly. Overall, she acts great… we just have our moments, as all parents do. I don’t want you all to think I’m child-shaming her!
Thank you so much for posting this. I feel like this is a true answer to prayer. Today Jackson was driving me up a wall. Not listening, back talk, etc. I found myself in my room on my knees asking God to help me be an effective yet loving parent when it comes to discipline. I was of course, sobbing and I had NO idea what to do and I felt like a total failure. Sorry I don’t have any advice for you right now but I will be following this to see what others say. Thanks for being so honest. It makes me feel a bit more normal.
Ps. You’re a totally great mom.
Same problem over here lately. I really love this post and thinking of how Christ would parent. I have just been praying constantly for patience and I know that Christ had perfect patience and still does with all of us and our shortcomings. And then I’ve been thinking about how frustrating it must be to Heavenly Father to watch is make the same mistakes over and over or not listen or “get it” because that’s how I feel almost daily with my 3 year old. Not sure if that’s much of an answer but I do think Christ would parent with perfect patience. Good luck to us all haha