Christian Living


Mommy and the Joyful Three 02/22/11

Patience, Prayer, and the Problematic Child

Do you have a problematic child? A child who demands more of you than you feel you have to give? My husband and I have been facing this issue for some time and I feel the best way to help cope with what we are going through is to share it with other parents. Possibly some of you have been dealing with similar issues.

I need to be very candid when I speak about our trials. God does not want us to hide behind our troubles and He wants us to relate to each other and show how His mercies are new each day.

My three-year-old has the spirit of a thousand toddlers. She fights like a warrior and looks like a princess. She is our miracle baby; in fact, she fought from the beginning spending nearly 30 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It’s her fighting spirit I love most about her; yet it’s also her fighting spirit that brings me to my knees in helplessness some days. At times she has had my husband and I questioning our parenting.

I do not like to call her a problem child because this suggests that she is a problem child at whole, which is not the case. She just has some bad days. So I call her problematic when she is acting this way; which is not always, but often.

As parents, when your child is having problems you may feel like you are a failure, which is condemnation. We should not accept the fact that we are failures; for there is no condemnation for those that are in Jesus Christ. This is just a trial and a time of testing. We would be well advised to look at this with God’s patience and endurance and know we are not alone.

In the Bible, we read about the prodigal son and how he rebelled against his father; but upon returning, his father accepted him with open arms. That is the way we should accept our children. Although we do not accept the behavior, we show love and patience towards the child; not allowing our anger to get the best of us. Many times I have to walk in my room, shut the door, get on my knees, and beg for patience. After a few minutes with the Lord I am more able to deal with the situation and use wisdom when it comes to what form of discipline to use.

It’s not fair to blame our daughter for all the troubles we’ve been having. In fact, I feel so sad for her. My heart breaks for what she is going through. She seems so lost and unreachable during her outbursts. When she acts so tormented I just want to scoop her up and hug her until she knows just how loved she is. Unfortunately, during these outbursts she is unreachable.

Our methods of discipline have sometimes not been correct. We have often been confused. There are moments when we cave to the chaos she is causing and give in. Only God can break down her barriers and make her open to love and joy. Some days I can see God working in her; and although I can become impatient for resolution, I know that He has a plan for this amazing daughter of ours. It is vital as parents to remember that God is in control when you feel hopeless.

I know first hand that there is hope for a wayward child or a child who faces difficulties. I know because I was one. I kept my parents up many nights in prayer. My mother tells me that it was during these times that she felt closest to God and that He revealed His love to her and to me during these times. God did hear their prayers and I am thankful every day for that.

The Bible states very clearly that we should not worry, so I am not worried. I just want my daughter to know that Jesus loves her so much and that as her parents, my husband and I do too; even when she acts poorly. We need to let our children know that God’s love is perfect. We must view our children with His love, patience, and forgiveness.

It is our job as their fathers and mothers to discipline and love them as God disciplines and loves us. Even when our efforts seem to not work the way we want them to, we must keep on praying and lifting them up to the Lord. It’s necessary to have the faith to know that they are being taken care of, even when we cannot hold them.

Having a child who is having trouble is nothing to be ashamed of.

Are there times when your children’s behavior makes you question your parenting? How do you keep the faith while they go through their difficulties?

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