Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Who are you, and what did you do with my daughter??

Who are you, and what did you do with my daughter??

That's definitely a question that has been on our minds for the past two or three weeks. {I have lost count}. We have quickly realized that we are apparently making our way through the many trials of the "trying three's" with a very strong-willed child.

And, so no one thinks I am exaggerating, let me give you one {of wayyy too many} recent {and unfortunately, very consistent} scenarios, in a very condensed version, that we have encountered with our sweet Katie:

It is 8:30pm. Austin is in bed. Katie has been told in 5-10 minute warnings that she is going to bed at 8:30pm. She has had no nap {because she has started to eliminate them} and has been awake since 7am. She complies {with resistance} to brush her teeth and pick out a bedtime book. We review our day {her chore/manners chart}, read our book, say our prayers, and snuggle into bed. She is told and repeats to us the rules to stay in bed and not scream/kick/etc., and the consequences if those rules are broken. She lays down and we leave her room. Before we are 2 feet from her door, she is at her door...screaming, yelling, and either opening her door or kicking the door. We go to her room. Explain to her that she has deliberately disobeyed and must be disciplined. She recites Ephesians 6:1 and tells us what she had done and what she needs to do, is disciplined, asks for us to forgive her {and we do}, and gets put back in bed with the same rules, warnings, and prayers. We again leave and go pray for her and for wisdom as we deal with her disobedience. And again, the cycle continues, only usually escalading...for usually 2 hours or so...leaving her with many of her favorite items taken away {which, of course, leads to other tantrums}, and more discipline than Mark or I either could fathom having to give. Then, after hours of this ridiculous cycle, she falls asleep, and we retreat emotionally and physically spent...wanting to do nothing but question our parenting abilities, cry on each other's shoulders, and beg for more wisdom and grace from our loving God.

I wish I could say that was our only scenario or that it was only once in a while that we had such times with Katie. But honestly, the past two weeks or so have been nothing but tantrums like the above regarding any number of things...a large battle of wills, with Katie feeling she can outlast us regardless of the consequences. And frankly, it is exhausting in every way possible!

I find myself frustrated and confused. I've read all of the books...we've been very consistent in all things, not allowing her to disobey without discipline...prayed and prayed and prayed...asked for advice from others...tried all forms of discipline to see if something anything will get through to her little strong-willed spirit. Where have we failed as parents? How have our consistent, conservative, and some would say "strict" parenting led us to this point? What do we need to do to get her to understand and get through this terrible stage?

Here is my hope...my only hope...on which I stand, even when the sands are shifting underneath my feet:
  • God does not give us anything that we cannot handle with His help.
  • God has a perfect plan for Katie's future...a plan that will somehow use her temperment to minister in ways that others could not...a plan that He felt Mark and I could handle and overcome with His guidance, wisdom, and grace.
  • God is going to make us stronger and more faithful to Him through this trial. This trial is meant for our ultimate good, even though we can't see the "big picture" right now.
  • Pray Pray PRAY...like we've never prayed before!
Will you pray with us?


The Fuller Family said...

I know God has an amazing plan for this young lady's life! I will pray for her and for wisdom for you and Mark. Who knew parenting could be so difficult on so many levels?! Love you girl!

Anita and Megan said...

I will be praying. Maybe a visit from MeMe will get her back on track...we can pray it does. I love you and both you and Mark are wonderful parents! God will see you through this. I love you!