It Reared It’s Ugly Head

It’s 2:00 in the afternoon on the sixth day of Christmas break. We are having a great time playing the Wii, baking cookies, and watching movies. I’m enjoying almost every minute of it. And then, it rears its ugly head yet again, an issue that we have been dealing with since the day one of our adopted sons came home. I’m over it, Aaron’s over it, and obviously he is not over it.

This is not at all an adoption issue. You and I both know that when raising children, there are many unwanted behaviors that revisit us time and time again. So, when you use intentional parenting like Aaron and I do, a visit from the unwanted behavior calls for more work!

In this case we are 19 months in on this one. To make it sting even more, there have been short seasons when we truly believed we had said our final goodbye to the behavior. So on this particular afternoon, out of intentional parenting obligation, I asked a question and desperately hoped the answer was no. As he said yes my heart sank. What followed was a ritual of consequences that we both know well and then a somewhat lengthy talk in his closet.

One of the things I shared with him was how much I would rather hug and kiss him than discipline him.  In hopes that a focus on positive attention would get us headed back in the right direction, we talked about how discipline and consequences take away from time to hang out together, cuddle, and play games.

Fast forward to the very next afternoon and my sweet boy made a great choice without prompting.  It makes no difference what it was, the important thing is that it gave me the opportunity to recognize and reward his good behavior or good choices. “High five buddy! That was a great choice!” I said. As he high fived me and turned to walk away with a huge smile on his face, he stopped. He turned around still smiling from ear to ear and walked back toward me.  Next his small arms were wrapping around my next and his check landed close to mine. I squeezed him as a smile spread across my face now too. As he pulled away he said, “Good choices let us hug and kiss more.” My heart exploded!  As few and far between as these moments sometime are, they are the fuel that keeps this mama working.

Intentional and consistent parenting does pay off! Sometimes it takes years to completely see the benefits but it is always worth it.

Just the other night I was expressing to Aaron, my husband, that sometimes I feel guilty because by 8:00 most nights, I am ready for all of my children to be in bed because that means I am ‘off duty’. He encouraged me by saying that when you are intentionally parenting and consistently following through all day, it is understandable that you are tired by the end of the day. In that instant I was able to lay down a little bit of mama guilt. He is so right! It is hard work, sometimes exhausting, but I believe that each year I will be able to enjoy my children more because of the effort I am putting in today.

Your encouragment today: The harder you work at parenting today, the more you will be able to enjoy them tomorrow!