Monday, April 4, 2011

I Really Don't Enjoy It

Funny how my kids think that I "enjoy" being the parent. I get to tell them what to do, when to do it, and if they don't-- I get the fun of disciplining them. Oh yea, what fun. If only they knew how hard it was. And so I told them. "It is not easy. It brings me so much sadness to have to take this away from you. I wonder if I am making the right decision. I battle with picking and choosing which issues I want to address by deciding which one is bigger or if I should not fight a particular battle at all. I wish you could understand how hard it is to have to discipline you even though I am doing it out of love. Only when you are a parent will you truly understand. Once you are grown we can be friends, but for now, I am the parent and you are the child."

Now I share, a few stories.
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One of my older boys was "addicted" to an online game. He plays it all the time and gets grumpy if he has not had his "fix". It has nothing to do with the opposite sex-- in fact it is fairly harmless. The main issue I have is that he plays it too much and cannot keep it to a few hours a day. He still gets excellent grades. On one hand I am incredibly thankful that this is where his interest lies rather than with girls, going out, and getting into trouble, but on the other hand, I feel like I am tolerating his endless hours on the computer to keep him from moving onto more risque activities. After trying to come up with a reasonable schedule for his computer usage resulting in chores and family members being ignored, I took away his computer privilege. When I did this, I literally almost cried for him as I watched him end his membership. At first it was hard on him, but he is now participating in the family more, and returning to his old self. Yes, I may have my son back, but nothing about this was fun. Though I questioned my decision, I can already see a different child.
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One of my daughters likes to "dress up". From the shadow on her eyelids, to the chain around her neck, to the bow in her hair, to the lotion on her hands, down to her shoes, she likes to look attractive. There is not necessarily anything wrong with this except for the fact that it appears that this is where she finds her worth-- in her appearance. For church on Sunday when she especially wants to look her best for God, I have questioned her motives. Is she really wanting to do this for God, or is she so insecure that she needs to look beautiful in order to draw attention to herself? I remind her how beautiful her heart is (and her natural beauty on the outside) and that if she were really wanting to be her best for God she would spend time preparing her heart for His message and make sure to keep the attention off herself by not "dressing up" so much. Afterall, Church on Sunday is where we come together and worship as a body of Believers in God-- not to worship one the Reed girls. Praising God for her response.
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It is easy to assume that with such a large family with many kids in the same age range, we would be dealing with most of the same issues. In some ways that is true, but on most levels that is so not the case. Each child has such a unique personality, and each child is in a different place in their life. Six of my girls are seventeen months apart from youngest to oldest, but their maturity levels vary greatly. While vanity is an issue with a few of my girls, some of them are so far from it.... like a breath of fresh air. Some are characterized by helping around the house without no lip service while one or two of them insist on finding the loophole and then arguing till they are blue in the face once their behavior is brought to light. A few of my girls are content loving animals, while some are planning their weddings. What I find truly amazing, is how God stitched our family together. He knows how I am... and He knows how they are. Though our personalities clash at times, and our lives would hardly be considered peaceful and quiet-- we compliment each other in ways only God could have orchestrated. He has blessed us beyond measure with each other.

Through the good times and bad.... the smiles and trials-- he never gives us more than we can handle.
And during the times when I question that, I remember....
With Him all things are possible.

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for that first part especially!

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  2. REALLY funny that you mentioned this today. One of my son's is addicted to a PS3 game that he plays on-line with friends but we don't have a PS3 so he goes to a friend's house to play it. He is wearing out his welcome at their house and he is playing it way to much. I was just talking to my hubby about putting a stop to it. Glad to know I am not alone in being a mean mom. :) Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Christine, one of the things I love about reading your blog is that you really seem to "get" who each child is and that, even with 15 children, you see them not as one group to be parented in exactly the same way, but rather as 15 individuals with different needs.

    I know exactly where you are coming from with your older son. My son was addicted to Runescape. While I was thankful he wasn't into something more dangerous (after all, when your kid is addicted to the computer, you know where he is and what he is was doing) our family life and our son's interactions with others improved immensely when he ended his membership and rejoined the human race.

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  4. Praying for you.... But there is one thing: I DO believe God gives us more than we can handle. He DOES this so that we will be dependent upon HIM and not on ourselves.
    If we could handle everything, our tendency, as with human nature would be to depend upon ourselves and not Him.

    We are in our adjustment phase right now with bringing home an 11 year old with 2 failed placements.
    There is tragedy and triumph... and what a way to see where each little woman in our home has secret hidden insecurity. :) Including me! :)
    I love that my husband is a rock.
    I love that the girls are able to rise above how they feel at the moment and show kindness and love even when it is hard.
    If I can ever get out of the Dr's. office.... I just might blog something. :)

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  5. We had the same problem with our oldest and the Wii. Limiting him to one hour of electronics a day made all the difference.

    I grew up in a house with four girls and while we were further apart in age than yours, we were all 100% different. My mom often commented that it was no easier to parent the second child than it was the first, because just when you thought you had it all worked out, along came a whole new set of issues and a completely different personality. :) I'm glad you recognize that and don't use a cookie cutter approach for all your kids, their individuality is going to be priceless as they grow into adults!

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  6. I was so shocked as a young mom of 2 when my girls didn't go through the exact same things. I thought once I went through one problem with my oldest, the youngest would go through the same thing and I would know exactly what to do. Oh, how silly!!

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  7. Wonderful post and so very well written. I too have a hard time when I need to discipline. We are currently going through a few things with our oldest sons and I've decided not to blog about it. But it has caused lots of pain. We , my husband and I are at least on the same page with this and although my son doesn't agree with us, I'm praying that he does eventually. All he sees right now is that "we don't understand" and thinks we "don't care" it's heart wrenching. This post couldn't have come at a better time.
    thanks
    Lisa

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  8. I know how you feel. Hope you don't mind but I'm going to use your words on being a parent not a friend, when speaking to my son tonight!

    I guess we have to remember we are only human, take a big deep breath when it gets rough and pray for the right way to handle the situation with our kids.

    I think you do a marvelous job of it!

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  9. I love this post! You are such an honest person and your posts have helped me in my parenting along the way. (Believe it or not.) Even to take a step back and to let God tell me what he wants and how to deal with a situation. I have also had discussions with Oksana about parenting and dicipline. No, I don't like to take things away and I don't like to hurt her but in order to learn and for her benifit that is my responsibility. Sometimes it hurts me more than her. (Especially the sad, drawn out look I get.) :)
    Oh..I love that your girls are interested in Russian these days, do Anistasia and Paul still remember and speak it? Oksana has also been more interested recently and I had to pull out all my homemade flashcards for her and I to practice. :)
    Catherine

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  10. Hi! You are wonderful. As I have said before life is hard. Making choices that involve Christian discipline is even harder. Continue to follow in the Lord and he will lead you in the correct path continue to stay the course .Pat

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  11. I only have four children and struggle so much. Since two have become teenagers feelings of being insecure and vanity have itensified. I just pray and hope my decisions are made in love.

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I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.