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I’m having a very difficult day today. I feel like things with my 2 1/2 year old are spinning out of control. I discipline her for so many things and yet it seems that nothing I do or say works. I have spanked her, taken toys away, taken fun things away, time out, a mixture of these, and more, and nothing seems to work. Every time I discipline I always try to make the connection with a consequence for actions, along with what God wants us to do, and why. I talk about how God is very unhappy when we don’t obey Him etc. I’ve even talked about how the devil likes it when we disobey. It seems nothing works. She’s very headstrong. Now don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t walk all over me, but there are just things that occur on a daily basis that just never seem to change. When we do our Bible study, it seems like she never listens. It just seems to go in one ear and out the other. I know she’s getting something, but it just all seems like it’s just not soaking in. She’s so much different from Follon who takes things in and truly wants to do the right things. Any suggestions? I’ve read your book several times, and will probably reread it again just for refreshers…I certainly need them. But in the mean time, I just feel like I’m failing as a mother to her. People constantly remind me that it will only “get worse” in those “teenage years”. And now that I’m having a 3rd girl, it seems more overwhelming. It really scares me and it frustrates me that people can’t just be positive and say something like, “I know your girls will be wonderful as teenagers.” Maybe I’m just a bit hormonal (maybe?? I am.), but at any rate, as you know, I take my job as a Christian mother very seriously and want my girls to be those strong Christian teenagers, women, etc. Any suggestions would be of much help. (And of course the prayers too 🙂
Hey there, girlfriend. I don’t have all the answers, but here are my thoughts.
First, stop listening to people. People had me scared to pieces of the teenage years and they were truly some of the most connected and enjoyable years of our parenting! If you keep on being consistent, fighting the minute-to-minute battles now, your job will be easier when the teen years come. I remember people telling me I should quit talking about good parenting because I didn’t know anything about it till they were teenagers. You just hang in there. You will see amazing things from their little lives if you keep fighting this excruciating battle of the wills. Remember, in a battle of the wills, the parent has to win…always. Hannah had an iron will and, thankfully, now she’s a pretty strong advocate of sound doctrine and strong morality, especially when it comes to her personal decisions and self-expectations.
I surely am not the definitive voice on this, but I also suggest that, at age two-and-a-half, you need to let her be talking a lot at story time rather than listening. Say “Now, Gracie is going to wear her Jochebed robe tonight at story time and she is going to hide behind these bulrushes ( a houseplant or the curtains) and show us exactly what Jochebed did for Moses. Give her a paintbrush and let her pretend to put the tar on the basket. Let her wrap the baby doll in the blanket and let her show Follon (Miriam) where to stand and watch. Then you go be the princess and let Follon go and excitedly ask Gracie to be the nurse. Then you go and show the baby to Pharaoh (Dad). Well, you get the idea. She can do stuff better than she can listen at age two.
…And you probably hit the nail on the head. You likely are hormonally challenged right now. But remember, in a few months you will probably have different hormonal challenges and a new baby to boot! I’m going to pray for you. Let’s hope the baby is a great and positive distraction for your strong-willed Gracie. Sometimes the stubbornness gives way to a mothering spirit. But even if it gets harder before it gets easier, keep putting first things first. This impressionable time in their lives is so fleeting. Plant the Holy Scriptures in their fertile hearts and your harvest will be an unfeigned faith (II Tim.3:15; 1:5).
I can go on offering advice, but all moms who have two or more children know that each is very different from every other. Just hang in there, be consistent and pray the James 1:5 prayer every day. Real parental wisdom comes from the Eternal Parent.