When our daughter was tiny she would toddle up to us, tug on our clothes and ask, “Whatcha doin’ up there?” We thought she was adorable. We wrote about it in her baby book and regaled our friends and family with the story.
One of the most fun parts of being a parent is all of the funny, endearing things our children say and do. It brings a bright spot to our days and makes our hearts all warm and fuzzy.
Unfortunately, some parents are setting themselves up for some tough times when their children are in elementary school, teens and beyond. Why? Because these parents find words and behaviors hysterical that are actually warning signs your child is not quite as adorable as you think.
Why Kids Need Reasons explains why I believe we need to take the time to give older children and teens the reasons behind our rules and God’s rules. There are times though when children need to learn to obey just “because I said so”.
When your child is crossing the street and a car is barreling towards him, you don’t have the time to explain how much that car hitting him is going to hurt. Your child needs to know your commands are to be respected and obeyed immediately, because you are the parent. God has asked you to care for her and God expects her to honor and obey you.
For many pre-schoolers, their favorite question is “Why?”. Asking questions is a natural part of learning about the world around them. Often, adults assume this exploration phase ends about the time kids start school. I personally believe though, that children begin to squelch their oral questioning once they discover it irritates many adults.
As adults, we have learned (hopefully) that certain rules and authorities are to be obeyed. We understand God really does know what is best for us. We have a fairly good understanding of concepts like love, manipulation, anger and many others.
Children and teens are still discovering these more abstract worlds. They are figuring out whom they can trust, what works for them in the short term and hopefully what will be in their best interest for the long haul. They are not just trying to learn the rules, they are trying to understand why they became rules and if those rules are really important.
Parents often say they have a strong willed child. Some children are a little wiser, shall we say, about heeding correction than others. Strong willed children can cause early gray hairs in some parents and moments of counting the days until they leave home for others. Forget trying to dedicate him to God, you are trying to merely survive his childhood!
I believe every child has the potential to be self-willed at any given moment. Remarkably, the behaviors of the self-willed child resemble those of the strong willed child. As parents, we want the “magic” secret for handling those moments when our child has drawn a line in the sand and dares us to cross it. How do we teach them obedience and avoid World War III in the process?
As mothers, we fall in love with our children before they are even born. We can’t wait to hold them in our arms and have wonderful dreams of what their childhood will be like. Those first few months are an exhaustive whirl of diapers, feedings and showing your beautiful baby to everyone.
We are so overjoyed when our children utter their first attempts at words. Many discussions are held (rivaling world summits) over whether the sounds were “MaMa” or “DaDa”. Then it happens. We have told our once precious child he cannot do what he wants to do. Or perhaps she cannot have what she wants to own. Suddenly, the words sound more like, “You don’t love me!” or the ever popular (and permanently banned in our house!) “I hate you!”