I Hate You

   Written by on June 20, 2014 at 8:37 am

“Mom, can I come with?” asked young Elaine as she watched her Mom put on her coat. “No sweetheart, I am going to the bank, you’ll have to stay with Grandma,” Mom answered back.  “Please, please, I really want to be with you,” begged Elaine.  Mom almost gave in but then thought about trying to watch Elaine while talking with the bank officer and she responded with a firm no, you have to stay here.  Elaine switched in an instant from sweet and lovable to a young terrorist, shouting, “I hate you, you never loved me.”  Mom leaned down, hugged Elaine and said please be good for Grandma as she walked out the door.

logo - gowinI like to say that this is condensed from situations heard in the counseling room.  But, no, this is a memory from my own childhood. Needless to say, I was a strong-willed child.

Mom and I talked about this very episode.  We talked about her feelings when she saw her daughter changed to an out-of-control, demanding, shall we say, brat. Thinking back, it does amaze me that Mom was able to deal with my childhood rebellion.  I am sure this is not what she envisioned during her pregnancy.  A mother can expect sleepless nights, crying baby, dealing with normal childhood illnesses; but not strong-willed tendencies.

Mom’s secret for handling this so well: L-O-V-E; Listening, Openness, Valuing and Expectations.

Listen to God’s direction by being in constant prayer; privately as well as in continuous silent prayer.  Saying a silent prayer can give you a breather so you don’t allow your automatic response to take over. It also can give you peace.  Listening to God will give you the confidence to know that you are working God’s plan; a plan to help your child and a plan to give you the strength to keep moving forward.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Open your heart to forgiveness.  As a parent of a strong-willed child you need to be in touch with your own feelings.  When children expect so much of you and give so little back, you may feel that your child is taking advantage of you. As a parent, accept that this hurts, seek God’s comfort, and forgive your children.  By actively forgiving, you are freeing yourself to love your children without bitterness. It is especially important to remember that they are trying to grow up, you are trying to help and therefore, don’t take the misbehavior personally. Forgiving doesn’t mean that your children shouldn’t have consequences for wrong behavior, but rather it releases you to deal with your children in love and not anger.

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13)

Value each episode as a growth opportunity.  You don’t have to be excited about your strong-willed child’s behavior, but view these times as learning opportunities for both of you.  Your child can learn better behavior.  And, you can learn more about yourself and how to relate to others.

“Teach them diligently to your children, and talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Expect the Lord to help you find the resources you need. There are days where your children seem more like a trial than a blessing.  As a Christian parent, you have the ability to stay on your knees for your children while asking for the help and direction you need.

“There is hope in your future, says the Lord that your children shall come back to their own border.” (Jeremiah 31:17)

Solomon was obviously thinking about a strong-will child when he wrote Proverbs 19:18: “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”   Remember other parents have struggled with strong-willed children.  If you need help, there are resources to help you.  Be sure and get the help and support you need.

About Evan Jones

Evan is the Assistant Editor at the Southside Messenger newspaper in Keysville, Virginia.

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