I think I have the most stubborn children on the planet. I must. I must because I can't believe the choices they make! I know children try to exert their own independence and buck authority when they can in order to claim some kind of control over their own lives --I get it. I mean, I majored in child development in college. I know the stages and the patterns...but...and yet... I've never imagined how hard it would be.
I usually re-work chore charts and go over what kids should be doing at what ages --I don't want to give them more than they can handle. At the same time, I don't want to patronize them or give them too little, because they need to be learning how to work. Therefore, I know that what I ask of them is not overly-demanding, nor is it too difficult. And yet at least two of my children continue to plague me with incessant whining, stubbornness, and absolute refusal to do what they know they need to do.
This morning was awful, awful. One child went to school on their own late, without having finished chores OR eating breakfast. The only positive was that just before they left, I hugged them, crying, telling them how much I loved them (despite my awful, angry, ridiculous, stoooooooooopid outbursts). And now I get to feel guilty all day for sending them to school hungry.
But how do consequences hold merit if they are not upheld? This is the most frustrating part --watching a child choose what they choose IN SPITE OF the consequences.
For a while I soothed my self-pity in telling myself I'm the only mother who has felt this way and I'm the only mother who has stubborn children...until I remembered: EVERY mother goes through this. I mean, we're talking all of history, here, of mothers watching their children make horrible choices --in spite of the consequences.
I imagine Sariah, seeing Laman and Lemuel treat their brothers with contempt and murderous hatred. I see Eve, knowing Cain had literally killed his brother. I'm sure Alma's wife was as mournful as her husband when their son (Alma the Younger) chose to fight against everything they believed in. And, good heavens, what about Heavenly Mother? I'm pretty positive she wasn't thrilled when satan decided to wreak havoc and take 1/3 of his siblings with him into everlasting damnation.
I'm not the only mother who has been frustrated, eh?
But oh, it's so hard. So raw. So overly... mortal.
Here's hoping tomorrow is better. I think I'll up my game and be sure to get them all to bed earlier and make yummy muffins for breakfast. (It's hard, though, since Brandon is out of town on business --I tend to get lazier when he's not around. But I'll just "woman up" and do it!)
How do you deal with your most stubborn child? Any tips or tricks on how to dole out the consequences while keeping my anger in check? Besides repentance? I'm looking for abstaining rather than fixing!