Last night after I tucked in my 6 year old for the last time, I was reading an article about parenting. The author talked about building a relationship with your child so that they want to please you. "Kids who know they are treasured will give you their all to be worthy of your high opinion of them", he says.
How is it we can complain about the poor behavior of our child in front of them, even labeling them brats, or drama queens, and then question why they behave in such a way? We must build godly character in our children at a young age.
I was so guilty of labeling my children when they were younger. Ethan was the good one, and Emma was "evil". How unfair was that? I was blessed enough to be instructed that children who are living out the foolish labels they have been given by their parents seldom decide it is time to change on their own. It was not easy to hear, or to admit how poor of a job I was doing, however, it helped me to see the need to take responsibility my parenting. Instead of evil, I started calling Emma precious. If she behaved in a way that wasn't pleasing to me, I told her that she needed to practice being precious, and that being a brat or acting in such a way is never okay.
We now use training and disciplining vs just disciplining out of frustration, and if we are not willing to carry out the punishment, we do not just threaten with it. Now, I am blessed with a daughter who still struggles with a strong will, still struggles with obedience at ALL times, however, she has a goal of good behavior expected of her, and because of that, she finds joy and accomplishment when she is mommy's precious little one. Being a parent should be joyful. We should be raising children who are blessings to us and those around them. If your child is not a blessing to others, what can you do to change that?
Don't put them in a labeled box and expect them to just continue being unruly until they are teenagers and out of control! Don't excuse your unruly teenagers behavior as though it is acceptable! Parents MUST take responsibility for the behavior of their children, and most importantly, for the discipling of their children. As my sister said in a devotion she led Saturday at a baby shower, "Your child can be Valedictorian, Homecoming Queen, an Olympic Gold Medalist, or the most intelligent person you'd ever meet, but if they fail to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, they will spend eternity separated from Him. Their soul is of utmost importance."
May God bless you with the concern, and the passion, to train up your child in the way he/she should go. I must say, this was a burden in my heart that I am very grateful for. Emma Rae turns 7 today. Around the age of 4, we began taking responsibility for her behavior, and I cannot imagine the joy we would have missed out on had we continued down the path we were on.
She is still unpredictable at times, she still has a far more wild spirit than her older brother, and she still brings us so much laughter! I haven't turned her into a joyless little robot who just performs on command by training her! However, the Lord has definitely blessed our efforts, and my Emma enjoys living out the labels of being a precious blessing.