Thursday, 9 January 2014

A Big Difference: Expression of Anger and Expression of Sin

Lately I have seen a whole bunch of quotes that look an awful lot like this one: 

"We expect children to never have bad days, never be grouchy, never lose your temper. Yet we do this all the time, why do we expect things of them we don't expect of ourselves?" 

On the surface, this is a great quote, but something about it bothered me when I first read it, and now I have finally realized the issue with this train of thought. 

Yes, children have bad days, and yes, children get grouchy, and they lose their temper. But there is a big, big difference between someone having a bad day, and someone using that bad day as an excuse to sin. My problem is not when my daughter has a bad day, my problem is when my daughter has a bad day that leads to her being sinful. 

The other day, Wiggle woke up very grouchy. None of us know why, she just did. So we let her be grouchy, but throughout the day I corrected the sinful behaviour that came from her being upset. She threw her toys when told 'no'. She got corrected. She hit me when she decided that I was mean for not sharing my food, I corrected her. She got down on the ground and threw a hissy fit, I corrected her. Do you  notice something? I didn't correct her for having a bad day, I didn't correct her for being choosey about what she ate, or for not smiling enough. 

I chose to correct the attitudes that were sinful. Because these things aren't things that are ok for me or her. Why would I let my child get away with something sinful and give them the excuse "Well they had a rough night last night so she's tired today?" God doesn't give the order "Be angry and sin not... unless you're really tired, then it's ok." 

As parents, our job is not to coddle our children into  spoiled young adults who expect the world given to them, and expect people to understand they had a bad day and that's why they're mad. Our job is help them grow in Christ, and that means that we hold their attitudes and actions to Gods standard. And yes, we will make mistakes, and the battle seems kinda uphill a lot of the time, but that doesn't mean we don't do it. This world seems to be under the impression that because it's 'natural' it must be right. This is completely contrary to what God says. He says our very natures are sinful, and thus our 'natural' is wrong. Why would I for one second not help my child step towards Christ for the sake of her attitude being 'natural'? I won't. I will push my child to dwell in his shadow, in the warmth of his wings. Even if it means correcting her behaviour when she's tired and grouchy, because while anger is ok, sin is not

With Flash we have had this problem previously, and here is how to we dealt with it. 

1. We made it clear that attitude is a choice. 

Sure, you can wake up feeling stinky, but that doesn't mean you need to have a bad attitude about it. Contrary to what most people think, if you honestly decide that you're going to be happy today, you most likely will. Your attitude is determined by you. This applies to children as well. 

2. We laid out a plan for  him to deal with this anger.

If Flash was having a bad day, we would tell him whenever he felt angry, he could have some time to go to his room and calm down, and when he was ready to talk nicely we would listen. This left the responsibility to deal with his anger on him, and thus if  he chose to not calm down, the consequence of his anger was  justified. 

3. We didn't tolerate excuses or "Well he!"'s.

So often you see people make excuses for their anger "Well he was mean" or "Well then he shouldn't act like____." This is just plain old stupid. The Bible doesn't say be angry and sin not unless someone else irritates you, does it? No. So with Flash we have a no excuses policy. I don't care what he did, I care how you reacted. 

4. We apologized if we reacted in anger ourselves.

When I was a child there seemed to be this stigma on parents apologizing to children,  as if apologizing and admitting you were wrong was somehow going to undermine authority. But it doesn't. Having a double standard does. If you react in anger, apologize to your child and admit you were wrong it will go a long way. 

5. We always give an outlet for talk.

If Flash wants to talk, we are always there to listen to him about why he's angry. If it was something we did that we were wrong in, we fixed it, if it was something we did and he didn't like, we explained why it had to be that way. Never discount your childs opinion, this will just make them feel undervalued. But be clear that you are the parent and the final decision will always be yours.

- Adele

Image Credit: 

"Grumpy Child" by Clare Bloomfield found at

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

When You Are Overwhelmed: When everything is falling apart

If you're a parent... you've been there. Those days when it seems nothing is going right. 

The baby won't stop screaming, you're covered in pee or other bodily fluids, the toddler is throwing a hissy fit, and you can just feel the judgemental stares of that little old lady following you as you try to bounce one and get the other under control, and neither is working. 

Yeah. We've all been there. 

For me lately it's been hard. Miah's colicy, which means he screams for hours. With  no real reason. Lately people have started calling this "Purple crying." I don't care what it is... it is horrible. 

Add that to the fact that I am the only person in the world he won't take a soother from, and the only person who can't calm him down, no matter what I do... And Miah is a tough nut to crack. 

Wiggles has just started her jealous phase. As soon as I nurse Miah, or Caleb holds him... she hits him. Hard. With no warning. The problem is sometimes she's gentle and loving and we want to encourage that, so we can't just keep him constantly out of reach. Her little personality has really developed over the last little bit. She's opinionated, stubborn, and is 1 going on 13 I swear.

My house is never clean anymore. I gave up on it. There are ground up soda crackers in the carpet, and baby clothes scattered everywhere cause Wiggles loves to play with them, and somehow it always seems that dishes are never fully done.

Combine all this with sleep deprivation, and you have one very overwhelmed Mama.

But here's somethings to remember for all of you in the same boat I am. 

God understands.

I know, I know, some of you are sitting here thinking "Really Adele, really?" But no everyone, hear me out. When you are in the midst of a tandem screaming session and neither baby wants to be calmed, or your toddler is freaking out and the baby needs to be nursed and you can't fix both... It seems like you are all alone. It feels like no one understands how tired and frustrated and inadequate you feel. 

God does. 

Cry out to him for wisdom, for strength, for patience, and he'll give it! Take your heart ache before your heavenly Father and he promises that he will meet your needs. Trying to get through this challenging time without the Lord is a bad idea. This is not the time to pull away from God, but rather a time to draw every nearer to him. 

This is only for a season.

Your baby won't always be up all night screaming, and colic eventually goes away. That toddler will develop some manners and will learn obedience if you use some persistence and care. One day that baby will rock himself to sleep and you will sleep through the night again. 

This will not last forever. Everything will adjust itself out eventually, you just gotta wait it out. That blissful six months stage is coming! 

You are the best possible thing for your children right now.

It's so tempting when you're overwhelmed to think "I bet (insert other mothers name), would be better for my kids." Or it's tempting to have thoughts of running away or giving up. 

Oh Mama... you are the very best thing for your child right now. No one knows them like you, probably not even your husband knows them like you. Yes, it seems like you are the last person they need. It seems like you're never going to get this right, but think of it this way. 

These babies are taking the time to voice that something is wrong. Because they trust you to be able to fix it. 
They know that when you are near, the bad things go away. Maybe they just need a cry, and know that in the safety of your arms... they can vulnerable. This is especially true of older babies.

Don't let doubt take away the knowledge that your children where given to you by God for a purpose. Not to anyone else, you. God thought you were the best thing they needed, and don't you forget it. 

Give yourself a break.

I bet you are your hardest critic.

Sorry to break it to you darlin'... but you're human. Trying to meet the needs perfectly of yet another human. Neither of you is perfect, and one of you has limited to no verbal communication skills. Of course you're occasionally going to have problems! 

You don't have to be the perfect mom. Nope, nope you don't. In fact, you can't be. 

Sometimes the baby will cry, and it's ok to just let them... cry. And sometimes the toddler will be freaking out for no reason you can find again, and it's ok to bribe them with a cookie and hope that that solves whatever problem they're having. 

Sometimes being a good mom is saying "I don't know what to do anymore, so I'm going to walk away before I do something I regret." 

Sometimes being a good mom is giving yourself a break and saying "I'm human too, and I'm  not gonna be able to do this perfectly, but I can do my best and God will take care of the rest." 

Most of all.. You are a great mom. Don't let anyone, including yourself, say otherwise.
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