Loving and Accepting Your Child

Posted by  | Monday, May 2, 2011  at 12:00 AM  

Today's topic centers around my relationship with my 4.5 year old son Samuel. He started out as a beautiful baby and is turning into a handsome young man. Check out this baby!:

Samuel was a really good baby. He was very happy and very friendly. He is a quick learner - he could do a lot of baby signing before he could talk, he potty trained in a day at 2, he knew all his letters and sounds around the same time. He amazed me with how quickly he could pick things up. And he was so much fun to be around and to play with.

Something has changed within the past year; something that my husband and I are not able to put our finger on. Even now as I try to explain it, I'm not quite sure how to put it to words. He's reluctant to try new things. He gets frustrated very easily. He wants to be babied instead of independent. This is a rough outline of what I'm talking about. The point isn't so much the behavior, but what God is trying to do with me through my relationship with Samuel.

I've spent the past year fixated on what is wrong with Samuel and how am I going to fix it. I've thought and re-thought my training with him and where I've gone wrong or what I need to do differently. I've stressed about how his behavior is holding him back from learning so much and enjoying so much.

All of the worry and stress as caused such a strain on our relationship. I'm short with him and have very little compassion. I get annoyed easily when he is in his baby mode. I yell at him when he refuses to dress himself or do something else for himself that I know he can do. Overall, I do not enjoy my relationship with him.

This finally hit me about a month ago. I don't enjoy my relationship with him. And that's just not right. That's not how it should be. It's not fun for me and it's not fun for him. I can see that he perceives the stress in our relationship as well. God allowed me to step back and see the bigger picture: I need to love my son. And accept him. I need to accept him and love him and enjoy him.

I find it really hard to balance this love/acceptance with my hard-nosed way of training/disciplining my children. I have this idea of what I want my children to be, how I expect them to behave. And so I lay down the law with them and make them tow the line. I still stand by that. I still think my boys need to know what's expected of them and that they are expected to rise to the occasion. BUT, I see how in all of that, I was resenting Samuel and allowing my disappointment to shade our relationship.

How does God deal with me as his child? He definitely has expectations of me and definitely wants me to rise to the occasion. But all the while, he loves me. He loves me with tenderness and compassion. He desires sweet fellowship with me. He tenderly leads me along like a shepherd with his sheep.

I continue to struggle through my feelings in my relationship with Samuel. I am still looking for ways that I can enjoy him. One way has been to take him somewhere alone that I know he enjoys (i.e. the library). I also try to make plenty of time in the day to snuggle and read with him, his favorite activity. I've given him a job to do - set the table - that he has really latched on to and enjoys. I'm trying to celebrate the little successes as they come and not get frustrated at all of the times he pushes back. I want to love him with tenderness and compassion. I am trying my best to love him and accept him so that I can enjoy him.


Christy said...

Leah I always appreciate how honest you are in your posts. Thanks for sharing your heart. Samuel is a precious gift.

Keri said...

Leah, I too always enjoy your posts! I have been going through something similar with my daughter. She is 21 months and has had a very selfish heart lately. It is so hard sometimes to find that balance of still disciplining for everything and loving through that. I just read Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic and I really highly recommend it! It is encouraging and convicting! That you for posting this so honestly!

Leah F said...

This is such a timely post for me to read, Leah! Recently the Lord opened my eyes to the fact that I don't enjoy my children enough. Sure, I love them, but quite frankly right now I don't have much affection for them. I do not always (or even often) enjoy being around them. It breaks my heart to see how cold I can be toward them at times. Thankfully, I am realizing this is a problem with MY sinful heart, not them, and I am leaning on the Lord to provide the joy and affection that I need. Thank you for sharing something so personal and hard, and know that I will be lifting you up!

Krista said...

Leah, thanks for your open and honest post! I am by no means a psychologist and wouldn't dare to tread those waters but I have noticed, at times, Lydia becomes "baby Lydia" (she will tell us verbally) and then act accordingly. It has been since the boys were born,so within the past two years, and much more common in the past year. I think, though, it's more "common" now because she can verbalize it more. For us, though, I can always seem to pinpoint why. When she feels the boys are getting the attention - whether negative or positive - is when she becomes "baby Lydia." I wonder if you could trace anything significant in your lives over the past couple of years that might make Sam want to play this way. Whatever the reason, you're right, he's a precious miracle and gift from God and I will pray with you to love and treasure him daily, just as he is!

Anonymous said...

What a perfect post! This is a lot like my oldest daughter. She was so fast picking things up and such that my expectations of what she should be able to do are sometimes pretty unrealistic. I get so frustrated with her (which makes the rest of the day a battle). Thanks for your encouraging post!

ashley said...

Thank you SO much for your honesty in this post. I think this is something many moms struggle with and are too ashamed to talk about it, like myself. I experienced these exact feelings with my son when he was 5 (he's now 6.5). I only told two people about my feelings: my husband and my best girlfriend. I broke down into tears and confessed that I feel annoyed by my son almost 100% of the time. I didn't look forward to seeing him in the mornings when he woke up. I was short with him and got very frustrated when he asked me to help him do something. I still can't pinpoint exactly why I was having these feelings... but I am happy to say that that season is over now. I still have my days (who doesn't?!) but for the most part, I enjoy him very much and find his age to be easier to deal with in most ways. Again, thank you for being so so honest and for sharing your heart. Hang in there! :)

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