When 'Parenting' Doesn't Produce

Lying. Sneaking. Stealing. Back talking. A few of the things I used to think  'my kid' will never do. I'd raise them better than that. I'd teach them respect for themselves and others. I'd spank their behind and they would learn better. Well, hello! The saying 'kids will be kids', comes from somewhere. Some will push these behaviors to a greater extreme then others, but to some extent, I'm thinking a little of this is just part of growing up. Figuring out right and wrong for themselves, not just because you say so, and how to handle emotions in these situations.

"I want that, so I'm going to take it. Then I'm going to lie about it so I don't get a spank. Then when you continue your line of parental questioning, I'm going to talk back or yell, just because I'm little and don't know what else to do."

*Exasperated sigh*

Someone please tell me I'm not the only one to have gone through this, nor that I'm the only one who has handled it poorly on more than one occasion! You think, or I have been guilty of thinking, that just because they have never seen us act that way, or because we don't let them watch TV that portrays such behavior, or because you pay for them to attend a private, Christian pre-school, or go to church, or explain why such behaviors are wrong, or just parented well enough....that somehow they might just skip past difficult phases and glide effortlessly and respectfully through to polite, well adjusted young men. Not so much.

At least not so far, not the skipping past these behaviors part. I still have a strong hope that 'polite and well adjusted' is in our future, but we're going to get there taking the more trying road....the road of lessons learned the hard way, over and over, of losing patience and losing heart, of bad parenting moments loaded with anger and yelling, showing nothing more then my inability to handle difficult emotions at the age of 39, simultaneously expecting my 6, 4, or 3 year old to control his. Wondering what I've done wrong to encourage this (not the lack of emotional control, I know where they see that! but the bad choices), then realizing a child's bad choice is not a direct reflection of the mother's parenting, and hoping to learn to accept this truth because I know the bad choices made at age 6 pale in comparison to the bad choices I've made, and what may, in fact, lay ahead.

So, I suppose we keep trying and keep parenting, because 'not worrying about it', or ignoring it is not in our parenting repertoire. I'll try to stop yelling, set anger aside and love the littles through their bad choices, explaining again, and again why we don't behave that way. Pray, pray, pray, that they will see the wisdom of faith in Christ and following God's commandments much, much sooner than I did, and love them. And love them. And love them. Not that loving them has ever been the issue, but it's not the prevailing emotion they see in me during these moments. I'm working on this one. The reality is, I get angry out of my love for them and my strong, perhaps misplaced, desire for them to learn lessons quickly, partly so we can focus on the fun stuff, but mostly to save them, and myself, from still having to deal with these issues into adolescence. The fact remains that many lessons, myself included, take repeated, often painful, attempts to naturally want to choose the right path...the narrow road. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For me. This truth is more powerful than I can often comprehend, but it is still truth. And it's in that truth that I hope to find my calm in the storm of parenting.