When Jacob was little he always wanted to know the plan for the day. So, I would rundown each day's schedule on our way to preschool. Unfortunately, if I didn't complete all of my tasks before I picked him up from preschool, I'd have to adjust our day's schedule and Jacob would have a meltdown.
As he got older, he stopped asking what our plans were and started putting in requests: Can I play with friends at the park? Can they spend the night? Can we go camping? When are we going to Disney World? When can I travel out of the country like you and Daddy? My kid knew what he wanted and he wasn't afraid to ask for it..which is a good thing, but it didn't feel good. I felt pressured to say yes. I needed to say no. But I ended up saying maybe because NO felt mean.
Maybe was a terrible answer because in my mind, it was my way to say no. In Jacob's mind, since maybe wasn't NO, it became YES.
But Mama, you said I could...
No I didn't!
Yes you did!
Why am I arguing with my 5 year old? UGH!
I can't tell you how long we miscommunicated until I realized I needed to be more forceful and direct with my answers. When he started asking me questions, my answer soon became, "I am not saying Yes, and I am not saying NO. I am saying maybe because I need time to make this decision. If you keep pushing me, It's a definite NO. If you give me time to think, it might be a YES."
Honestly, I have a hard time saying no to my kids because I don't want to disappoint them. I don't like disappointing people in general. I hope you have a bigger backbone than I do! But, in case you don't, here are three reasons I was able to start saying no.
It's my job to show my kids their sin.Our kids won’t know why they misbehave unless we teach them about sin. They need to know why they feel broken sometimes; why they feel angry or selfish, and why they sometimes fight with their brothers, sisters. We need to teach them Proverbs 22:15, ”Foolishness is bound to the heart of a youth; a rod of discipline will separate it from him.” I need to state for the record and for Child Services I never used a rod on my children. But, I do believe children need us to discipline them if they are to know how to overcome their sin nature.
It's my job to train them to overcome it.Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start a youth out on his way; even when he grows old he will not depart from it” (CSB). There will be days you feel like your kids are “departing.” There will be days you will feel like a failure. On these days, stay the course and give your kids to Jesus over and over, and over and over again. He loves them more than you do (even if that’s hard to believe). Trust that your work and the Word will bring them back into God’s presence soon.
It's my job to show them how to find joy in their trials.James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." One of my favorite parenting books, Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Hubbard says, "If we could view all of their sinful behaviors as precious opportunities to teach them then we would be far more righteous in our training. We would be joyful and eager all the time rather than angry and frustrated." If you're like me, you want to roll your eyes right now. I get it. You're probably thinking, "Sharie. Really! Find joy in their trials?” I know. I get it. I really do, but think about it. If we are constantly aggravated by the task of training our kids, they will constantly be frustrated by our discipline.
Here’s the truth. Disciplining your kids is hard work, but it is worth it! It may not feel like it now friend, but it will one day. Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your child, and it will bring you peace of mind and give you delight” (CSB). As we close, I’d love to help you move forward in your faith by praying for you this week. Please leave a comment and let me know how I can pray for you!