When I was a younger mama and my sweet Kate turned two, my life was thrown upside down for a time. I was awakened to the reality that she did not respond to discipline the same way that Addy, my firstborn did. I was in a bit of a quandary because Addy was turning 5 at this point and I had just “figured out” this whole parenting, discipline thing (or so I thought...insert laughter here).
My first line of defense when I realized this in disciplining Kate, was to just press in harder with the same discipline style I had with Addy. I theorized that since she was a harder baby than Addy and reacted and responded differently to discipline, it would naturally take more work on my end. As I continued down this path, it did not bode well for Kate or me. It took me some time to understand that parenting Kate was going to require a different approach in methods and principles of discipline because she did not fit the same mold as Addy. In essence, I was going to need to relearn how to parent.
I wish I could say I had an instant epiphany and I relearned and changed my parenting patterns quickly. But alas, that was not the case. I, as a parent, had developed habits and patterns in the way that Addy responded to discipline and carried that over into parenting Kate. It took me a long time to break those habits.
Please don’t misunderstand me, the godly principles and methods I had learned in Entrusted were my anchor through it all. However, I began to grasp that my approach in these principles and methods had to be different with Kate because she was different than Addy.
When I finally did concede and understood it was okay to parent differently with Kate, I was able to experience so much more freedom as a mother. Our home began to balance out a bit more and we started down a new path. God has created each child differently and every family will have somewhat different examples of what it looks like with their children. For example, one of our girls would nearly melt if we even gave her a stern look and she would do anything we ask because she had a high need to please us; she was very compliant. Our other daughter was a little more strong willed and we found the stern look did nothing. We needed to use a different approach for training her in obedience.
Parenting for me is a continual journey. Just when I think I have it figured out, I turn the corner and a new challenge awaits me and I have to adapt and relearn. Unfortunately, I don’t always view the challenge in a positive way. The Lord is so patient with me though and is continually pressing in and showing me how to be a better mom and follower of Him. I am thankful for His promise to us in Lamentations 3:21-23:
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Every morning, we have a fresh start! How gracious is our God! We can start over and with His strength, press into what He has for us each day.
The women that God placed in my life as a young mother will always hold a piece of my heart. They were, and many still are, speaking into my life as a mom and that to me, is priceless. God has created us to be in community. In that community we experience and live life together.
If I can encourage you in any way sweet mamas let it be this: Don’t lose heart in the journey of parenting. God has given you the incredible responsibility and joy of being a mother. He has prepared each one of you for the task. Each child you have is different, so give yourself permission to approach parenting and discipline according to your child’s need. Stay grounded by those who have gone before you and hold those godly principles and parenting methods close.
Blessings to you on this journey; you are not alone.