Thursday, February 7, 2013

3 Revelations for Raising "Difficult" Children

Do you have a "difficult child"?  I do.  I say that as I lower my  voice, for I would never want my child to hear that and feel inferior. Because truthfully, we ALL have "difficult children".  We all have children that have given us a run for our money. They kind who came out screaming and never shut up. The kind who look at us as if we're idiots every time we try to give them a command.  The kind who our discipline tactics simply DO NOT work on. The kind that exhaust and confuse us and leave us feeling like failures as parents. Haven't we all been there?? You settle in at the end of the day, kiss their foreheads as they sleep and wonder where exactly you went wrong?! Why don't they listen? Why don't they display a "pleasing" nature? Why do they ignore each and every opportunity to obey? Why aren't they normal? Why are they so "difficult"?!?!

I have one of these little nuggets.  And my assumption is that if you have more than one child, you have one as well. I truly believe that God gave us children, with all of their quirks and vices; with all their streaks of stubbornness and rebellion, to teach us a bit about ourselves.  I have recently begun to ask God to help me see myself more clearly through my parenting. I've also been asking that He give me some fresh revelations as to how to properly parent my "difficult child". I've fasted and I've truly cried out to God to give me some insight into the way HE would parent my son. These are the things that I feel like He has spoken directly to me in the ways of parenting a "difficult child". I hope you will gain some wisdom from His answers. I know I have.

1.  Rescue and Redeem--There are times when my son, who is overly dramatic and sensitive, plays up the "I'm hurt" card. Falling on the floor, gaining a new boo boo every time we turn around. So much of the time, his cries for attention, I choose to ignore because they literally happen all day long. God has told me, in moments like this, when I want to walk away rolling my eyes, instead I am to pick him up and hold him.  "Whenever he cries, rescue him, as I rescue you in your moments of desperation." He needs to know and understand a God who rescues and cares and comforts during any and every little fall in life.

2.  Gain Permission for Affection--My son has become quite the touch-me-not in the last few years. I feel like this has put a lot of distance between us, as sometimes, I don't even bother to reach out to him when I should because of the expectation of rejection. God said to me, "Ask to hold his hand. Don't just take it. Don't assume that he doesn't get a choice."  God gives each and every one of us the choice.  He wants us to choose His love, but He never forces it.  Ask him for a hug, a kiss, time to snuggle on the couch.  Don't get mad if he says no.  The important thing for our children to know is that love is available to them.

3.  Be Interruption Worthy--So many times, we value manners over validation. Jesus always told his disciples to bring the little children to Him. He let them sit on His lap and talked with them and told those surrounding that the kingdom of heaven was for people such as these. I can honestly say that being interrupted by my five-year-old is my biggest pet peeve. I don't believe I've had a full, uniterrupted conversation since 2007. God is telling me, "Let him be interruption-worthy for a bit. What's on his mind is priority".  As Jesus told the parable about the shepherd who had 100 sheep, but one went lost, He left the 99 and went to look for the 1. God gives special attention to the ones who need it. So should I. God is telling me that validating my child's worth is priority against teaching manners, at least for awhile.

As God is leading me through this season of teaching me how better to love my "difficult child", what He is showing me also is just how "difficult" I am. Children are such mirrors of who we really are. They shine a light on our areas of struggle and sin and places of weakness. I may be wrestling with my child in a battle of the stubborn wills, but what God is teaching me is that I need to parent more like HE does. With way more grace, way less frustration, and with an overabundance of patience. The key principle in raising a "difficult child" is realizing that YOU are one. Yet God is LOVE and He continues to pursue us as we should continue to pursue our children, no matter what the cost or sacrifice. I hope these little bits of godly revelation to me will help you in your parenting journey. When all else fails, fall on your face at the end of the day and simply say, Teach me how to love them, Lord.", and He will answer. I promise.


  1. We should pursue them like God pursues us. It is easy to love the lovable; to love those who attractive ; it is difficult to love when they are difficult. We should look at it as an honor we have to love them. To love them when they are being a bitch shows deep love on our part. You know you are loved when you are loved at your worst. Our kids should know that love from us. They should not question and we should not infer that our love is based on their conduct. I am sure at time it will feel like an angry kind of love. :) It is nice to know that when a person loves you when you are being trying and know they love you even when they know the dark about you. Those times can be teachable moments too. Sometime not; but we should look for them.

    Love them through their difficult times.

    1. Thanks for this Mark. I think I'm finally learning to love them through their flaws, instead of only when they are pleasing. It's been a process of displaying the grace that I've been given and pouring that same grace out on them. I'm still failing, but we are learning everyday how to live out the Gospel, even within our family unit.

  2. These words are so encouraging. Definitely as a parent, because while my son is not difficult per se, he does interrupt at the times I just need some quiet. I've struggled with my selfishness of wanting my space in the evenings when I get home from work. It's a work in progress, but it's good. And also, and probably the most encouraging for me as a teacher. My kids are so needy, so rejected by their families, so not taken care of that meeting their needs of all 18 of them with their horror stories can seem impossible. So thankful God knows how to help me love them all.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Ash. Good luck with all 18 of your students. That has to be difficult at times! I can only imagine! Praying God continually reminds you to see them the way He does. :)