When my son was born I spent hours staring at him and would often wonder if I should’ve taken parenting courses.
As time passed I realized that becoming a mother meant that I had to become a teacher, but not just any teacher, THE teacher. With that role I recognized that I had to be patient and embody patience because raising a life is an entire process in itself.
I also realized that I was going to play a key role and be a main witness to my seeing and guiding my son through the motions of many new learning experiences. All which require patience and embrace.
I also recognized that the only pre-parenting courses that I had received were my own experiences with my parents.
As I traced back all the memories of my interactions with my parents I remember the good and the bad. The good was that my mother was a sweet, patient woman and that my father was also loving and was an excellent provider. However, I lacked a lot of attention and reassurance.
I learned early on in my childhood that…
If I spoke back I was automatically labeled as disrespectful.
If I didn’t say hello to adults, I was automatically viewed as rude.
I had to agree with what my parents said or believed, if not I was considered rebellious.
I felt like a robot.
I HAD to respond the way my authority wanted me to respond VERSUS having the freedom to react and express myself as I felt at the moment.
As a child I wasn’t entitled to possess a mind of my own.
Now as a mother I didn’t want to make the same mistake with my son. Granted, my parents did with my sisters and me what they had learned. They did not know any better.
Now as a mother, God has helped me see things differently.
Via my relationship with God I’ve learned many things about how a child views the world.
As parents we must always evaluate our action and the way we respond to our children because our reactions are not always the right ones and the way we punish our children is always accompanied by motives.
Our disciplining style must be questioned.
My son is only 3-years-old and I realized that I was demanding things of him simply because I felt he was mine and he had to do what I wanted him to do at the moment that I decided was right. My demand was tied to my need for power and authority over his life.
I also noticed something powerful… I wanted to break and bend his will.
Boy was I WRONG for this.
I would get angry if he got angry at me, which makes absolutely no sense because anger is a normal emotion and a normal reaction.
At times I have demanded that my son sit still because I wanted him to remain still.
But notice this, I wanted him to sit down therefore I alone created a power struggle simply because I was being led by my capricious behavior.
I was not taking into consideration his desire to play and experience the world. On top of that it is unrealistic to expect a 1, 2 or 3 year old to remain still for more than a 1 minute.
I wasn’t empathetic to his needs as a child and instead got myself into power struggle that led me to become physical with him, spank him because I wanted him to comply with my unrealistic demand and in the process I would tried to break his will and prove who the boss is.
WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!
Through these many power struggles I realized that my son is very strong temper and is strong-willed, therefore, if I continued to spank and demand unrealistic expectations then I knew I would be brewing hate and resentment in my son’s heart.
Through my son’s strong-willed personality God showed me the following:
- We must be empathetic to a child’s needs.
- We must understand that a child’s experiences are new and they possess a high need for exploration.
- We must understand that their anger and frustration is a demonstration of a need not being met and we must guide them through their anger and teach them how to positively respond to anger.
- A child’s temper tantrums are nothing more than there immature responses to unpleasant experiences. Such experiences may not be unpleasant to us, but in their own little-big world it’s a big deal and of grave importance.
- We must teach our children how to respond appropriately to struggles and undesirable circumstances via our own reactions. We need to model what we want to see in our children.
- A child’s very nature is that of immaturity. Therefore, WE CANNOT EXPECT mature responses from children who are supposed to be at their prime of immaturity.
- A child who has strong-will, will tend to be set on what he or she wants to do and what he believes is right. THIS IS NOT REBELLION, this is NORMAL.
As a matter of fact strong-will in combination with positive and respectful discipline can encourage a child to be determined and set on his dreams and goals. If guided appropriately a Christian strong-willed boy or girl will be able to stand firm his or her faith and won’t be easily influenced nor shaken.
It’s time that as parents we understand how a child views the world. Most importantly we must empathize in order to understand our child’s needs especially throughout the toddler years when they need to feel the most safe to express their reactions without punishment, but rather be guided lovingly.