Thursday, April 23, 2009

i need a fire extinguisher!

metaphorically speaking.

my children are driving me nuts.  completely batty!  and i don’t mean that they annoy me.  well, sometimes they do, but that’s the least of my concerns.  i’m genuinely concerned about them.  why?

they’re horrible! they fight: pinching, hitting, kicking, pushing, etc. etc. they tattle on each other. they don’t listen AT ALL to us. they complain and throw a fit when asked to do something totally reasonable.  it’s awful!

i have yet to find some sort of effective discipline measure that will make any sort of improvement. 

but this is only the day to day.  this is the least of my concerns.

why? because these are just symptoms. these are the little fires that flare up all day long. i feel like i spend my day stomping them out.  one after another, often the exact same fire i just finished stomping out 5 minutes before!  but there’s this raging inferno all around us and as long as that’s burning, there’s nothing i can do but just keep stomping while it continues to grow and close in on us and sparking even more and more of these little fires.

at any rate, i’m exhausted, hot and sweaty, and really starting to feel the pressure as this thing closes in.

what is it?

i honestly have no idea… but i’m pretty sure it’s of my own making.  years of reactionary parenting, and assuming this was just ‘part of having children’, yelling and allowing of negative influences seem to have caused a massive combustion that i now feel powerless to put out.

i guess i feel like it’s closing in now because my oldest is almost 10.  that’s scary! i know what is coming for him and i don’t feel like i’ve done anything to prepare him for it.  mainly because i don’t feel like i know how. my teenage and early adulthood years were an absolute disaster!

so for now i deal with the day to day… brainstorming with my husband, trying to enforce rules, devouring books that might shed some light on the subject for me, praying for guidance… and i try to figure out how to deal with the inferno. 

in a day to day sense, i want peace.  i want children who do as they’re told. i want children who treat each other nicely and treat us with respect.

but in the long run, what is it i want? i want them to be responsible for their own actions. i want them to know right from wrong and make their decisions accordingly. i want them love each other and treat each other as such – not just because they will get in trouble if they don’t. i want them to be honest. i want them to be respectful and compassionate toward others. i want them to be faithful and love the Lord – and not just because it’s what their parents do. i want them to see the things that teenagers are attracted to (dating, sex, partying, idleness, slacking, etc.) for what they really are, and not just for the ‘fun’ they seem to be. i want them to be content with what they have – and not constantly trying to gain more and more worthless treasures or selfish pursuits.  and i want them to be happy - not because of the things they have or the stuff they do, but REALLY, truly happy.

yes, i realize these are kind of lofty for children ranging in age from 18 months to 9 years old, but i’m thinking long-term here, not just right now.

but here lies the problem. having not possessed a lot of these qualities in the past, or even now, i have no idea how to instill them in my children.  that, combined with the fires that are currently working against me on a daily basis, makes the situation seem utterly hopeless.  but i’m not willing to give up. especially not on shane, although his age and his many ‘issues’ make this a very intimidating cause.

here’s to finding that fire extinguisher!  or maybe a whole battalion.

4 comments:

  1. ahh :(
    like we used to say when we were little, "it's so not fair!" My only advice is to find something you and dave can live with choosing, and stick to your guns! Mine was/is timeouts - and there are days when H gets 568 timeouts in a row, and by the time she's about to get her 569th for the SAME D@%$ thing, she quits (for a day or so, but a day is such a long time in the scheme of motherly chores!)
    much luck to you!
    liz

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  2. I'm not trying to brag, I just want to say that I know I'm blessed because my kids get along and even when they don't the worst is some yelling and door slamming. Don't ask me how it happened, I have no idea, but what had worked for me as they've gotten older is a bit of a twist on time out...the taking away of certain privelages. Like when Joey brought home an interim report wiht about 1/2 of his homework assignments missing. Anything that needed to be plugged in to use other than a lamp was off limits until it all got caught up. He hasn't had that problem again. Mackenzie was tougher because she'd just complain about it all. Joey only took one reminder of "if you hadn't done A then B wouldn't have happened" Mackenzie doesn't want to hear it, I'm just totally unfair. Joel on the other hand, I don't know what I'm going to do with him.

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  3. If it makes you feel any better Jake and Lily were participating in the WWF today during church. Lily took something from Jake and so he did what every little brother does. He made a fist and started pounding her on the back with it. I took them both out crying. Jake-because he was in trouble and Lily because she was hurt (and angry). :) Ahhhhh, life.

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  4. Letitia Watson KotasApril 30, 2009 at 11:51 AM

    I hear you. I have those exact same feelings, and Alex and Amelia are only 3. But it's already started. I bought Love and Logic Magic for preschoolers, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm hoping it works through osmosis.

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