Your children are learning right in front of you, and you must understand that you cannot take their learning personally. The fact is that the problems your kids are dealing with are the same problems every other kid on the planet is dealing with. Everywhere I go, I poll parents on the kinds of issues they're facing with their children, and without fail, the list is pretty much the same everywhere - disrespect, disobedience, irresponsibility, tantrums, whining, sibling rivalry, back-talking, bullying, low self-esteem, chores, or homework. These problems that we have with these little people are pretty universal human problems. They're happening all over the planet. They're happening in China right now. This very second, sombody is backtalking his parent somewhere in the world. These issues are not a relfection of what you did to your children. It's not your fault. These children are on a learning journey. Let them learn.This is one of the most helpful things I've ever read. I'm working on a review of this book this month, but I just can't resist sharing some of the helpfulness here at my blog. (I'm at least writing again, if I'm not doing the photo thing for the queasy - two weeks left on this trimester!!!! The end is in sight!) Danny Silk's book is one of the best parenting books I've ever read. I'm not into how-to or fix-it books, but this one is all about changing your perspective on child-rearing from a control-oriented perspective to a Kingdom-oriented perspective. Danny takes a lot of the New Testament after Christ relationship theology I've been learning about how God deals with me and puts it into a practical, winsome approach to raising children in a relational, healthy atmosphere where they can learn how to make choices and solve problems for themselves.
- Danny Silk, Loving Our Kids on Purpose
This quote was one that stood out to me - it is already helping me in my perspective on Piper's toddler control issues. Danny goes on to say that once we realize as parents that it is not our fault, the issue becomes the child's problem, and he can figure out how to deal with it himself if the parent maintains his own self control.
I hate to say this, but it is downright empowering to look at my almost-two-year-old who has decided that she wants to pitch a fit when I have told her "no," smile at her and tell her that "I said no, this is not my problem." The screaming stops once she realizes that I'm not getting into her fit, and she moves on to something else.
Over the last three weeks since we've gotten the book, I've seen Pete's frustration levels lowering too as he mutters under his breath when Piper's having issues, "It's not my problem."
Once we make the problem hers to solve (and I'm talking about realistic two-year-old problems, like her not getting her own way and her wanting us to fix it and make her own way possible) she is actually pretty good at finding something new to focus her attention. She's not even two, and I've been able to ask her to wipe up a mess that she has made, to blow her nose and wipe her face as we're calming her down after an irrational fit (those ones pretty much have to blow over), and to choose something different than what she has wanted.
She's such a sensitive little kid, too. The more I've been able to let go of my need to control her, the more our relationship has grown. When she does something that I need to spank her for, there is *genuine* sad on her - not because she got spanked, but because she hurt Mommy. I have never seen that on a toddler before when I was trying to get them to do something I wanted.
Anyway, you really have to read this book. It's so cool. I've never seen a book that approaches relationship with your kids from such a grace-filled perspective. I feel like *I've* learned so much about relating to others, and about how God relates to me on this side of the Cross. I actually feel that it is really possible to raise my kids (boy, we have KIDS to think about now!) to know God by interacting with them as human beings.
I have no idea how coherent this post is. Read the book - it's so much better than what I can write today...