Friday, February 14, 2020

How to Let Go of Control of your Children (and be okay)

I definitely struggle with micromanaging my children. I don't like it. I don't want to do it. But naturally, as their mother, I think I know what is best for them. And if I am not careful I can get stuck in the rut of constantly correcting their behavior (don't do that, don't touch that, stop fidgeting, put that back, that isn't how you do that, you made a mess again, why can't you listen, why can't you learn).

I feel like a record on repeat sometimes. I hate to hear myself, like a parrot, telling my child what to do and how to do it hour after hour, day after day. I hate to hear myself exasperated, again, that my four year old son can't remember rules that I can't even remember, or that I have just made up. So many "rules" are just things that come naturally to me. Things that might not come naturally to a four year old, inquisitive little boy. Things that I expect him to just "get" and "understand" when what I need to understand is that he is four and confused, and needs a guide, not a angry ultimatum.

I don't want to squash his creativity or put him in a box.

I may know that we don't pour muddy water all over ourselves at the park, but he may not. What may occur to me, might not occur to him and I shouldn't get angry at him for not adhering to my invisible rules. I guess I might be allowed to be angry, but I should not take it out on him.

He may want to color out of the lines. He may want to put stickers on his crayon box instead of in his sticker book. Or on the wall. Or on my cell phone (it still has one on it he put on "for mommy"). Yes, it's a pain to clean up, but is it really worth "laying into him" about? Does he need to hear a lecture about how he ruined my day with stickers?

I remember when Becky broke a glass. She was trying so hard to put it in the sink so mommy could wash it, but she didn't know it would shatter. I almost cried from how precious it was, how proud of herself she was. Her little face lit up as she hefted it over the side. "I put it up for mommy. I big". And it broke. I just couldn't be mad at her. She was so confused, it broke my heart! I think that is how I should see a lot of what my son does. He is trying to do what is right, but he just doesn't know what it is. Or he is trying to do what he wants, and needs to be helped to learn the world doesn't revolve around him. Just like I am still learning that it does not revolve around me and what I want for my kids, or how I "need" them to act.

So many times I get mad at my kids for not understanding what is clear to me, as an adult. I forget they live in a totally different world and that it's okay they don't know all the rules yet. They don't understand they shouldn't yell the word penis in Walmart, or ask people if they have one. (Yup this happened) (And it was okay).

My children are exploring this world and learning every day. I need to give them space to do this. I shouldn't, once again, expect little adults.

I also have been trying to let go of my children and give them to God. The above is part of this. I think I know what is best for them, what they should do and say and how they should act. But, I don't. Only God knows what is best for them, and what plans he has for them.

They are His, anyway.

I am terrified of losing my kids, of having something bad happen to them. But every day I lay down their lives before the Lord. Them, I, and this world... we are only here because he wishes us to draw breath. And we will draw breath until he decides to bring us home. I hope nothing ever happens to my kids, but I must trust God. He is enough, and will always be enough. I will have no other idols before Him, even if that idol be my own child.

Giving up control is hard. And scary. I like to be in control. I like to think I have it all together. But, don't worry. You are worse than you think you are--we are all mired in sin. I am sinful. I am fallen. I have only my savior to thank. My kids are always, have always been in Jesus' hand, and acknowledging that is part of laying down my life for Christ and taking up my cross to follow Him.

Do the good works. Follow your path that God has for you (not the path you want) and die daily to your Old Adam. Trust him with your children. He gave them to you for a reason. Trust him.

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