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Some Words of Reassurance for Parents of Young Ones
I do not always enjoy my kids. I do probably 98% of the time, because they are great kids, but occasionally there are times when I'm mad. They're being inconsiderate to each other, or they're making a mess, and I get frustrated.

But those times are getting fewer and farther between, and I just want to say that those of you who are tired, and who are trying to set limits and finding it exhausting, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

When my oldest daughter was young, we used to hang out with another little girl who was exactly three weeks older. They were remarkably similar in personality. They were quite demanding babies, and didn't like being put down. They wanted to be carried, entertained, and stimulated.

As they got to be toddlers, they both decided temper tantrums were good ideas. They threw them massively.

But I began to notice that my daughter was slowly calming down, and I think it's because I set very strict boundaries for her. And she became a lovely girl, so much so that I think she has a stronger moral framework than I myself do. I know that she has a much higher standard for honesty than I do. (that's something God's been convicting me of lately; it's not that I lie, but I do sometimes elaborate to paint myself in a better light than I deserve. I guess that is lying! But I want to stop it, and I'm asking God to help).

Anyway, I heard someone say around that time, when Rebecca was in the throes of tantrums and I was so tired always trying to stay consistent, that the first few years are the hardest, if you do them right. Picture discipline like a pyramid: you discipline a lot in the first few years, and then when they're older you don't have to do very much. What's required gets smaller and smaller because they internalize good morals (and hopefully a relationship with God).

But if you don't discipline when they're young, and cater to their every whim, you end up with an inverted pyramid. You find you have to do a lot when they're teens, right when they should be getting more freedom, because they make bad choices.

The more you work when they're young, the less you have to when they're old.

And I can tell you that I really do enjoy my homelife with my children. Aside from the fact that they've grown out of the hardest years, when kids don't sleep through the night, and when they demand so much attention, they've also become decent people.

So if you're tired, and you're exhausted, take heart. You're investing in a really great family, and it will pay off!
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To Love, Honor and Vacuum

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14 Comments:

At 2:28 AM , Blogger Jules said…

I've not heard about parenting being like a pyramid but I do remember someone saying (Dr James Dobson?) that conquer the tantrum years and the teen years will be a breeze. Well perhaps not a breeze but certainly not something to dread. Having survived two sons passing through the teenage years, and three more still in the midst of those years, I'd have to say that he (or whoever it was) was right. I enjoy my teens and certainly don't think they're as hard to parent now as they were when toddlers. But I do miss those baby years!

 

At 7:52 AM , Blogger Tracey said…

Patience is my hardest thing! I get frustrated a lot!

 

At 11:08 AM , Blogger Mrs. Sprinkles said…

This is a really encouraging post. Thank you so much. Sometimes I feel like entire days are spent doing nothing but correcting and instructing. It's easy to get discouraged!

 

At 11:58 AM , Blogger T with Honey said…

My mom gave me the same parenting advise/reassurance but in a slightly different way. She said that you will have battles but you, the parent get to pick WHEN to have them. And earlier is easier.
If I teach her at 3 years old that the household rules cannot be broken the fight will be easier than trying to teach her the same thing at 16.

She was so right and so are you! I hope other parents find this as inspiring and reassuring.

 

At 2:29 PM , Blogger jrmiss86 said…

Thank you for this.

I have a very demanding, "iron willed" almost 2 year old and a very hyper also pretty strong willed 4 year old, and some days it seems as if the day will never end. So thank you for the word of encouragement.

Heather

jrmiss86.com

 

At 2:31 PM , Blogger Catherine R. said…

I enjoyed this, Sheila.

I've only got one infant so far and sometimes my life seems consumed by nothing but nursing, diaper changes and doing everything for this little person who can't do anything for himself. I know the toddler years will not be a picnic and I'm sort of scared but this is definitely encouraging and it makes sense too.

 

At 2:47 PM , Blogger Heather said…

Sheila, this is just what I needed today. Thank you so much.

Heather
www.blessyourfamily.net

 

At 5:09 PM , Blogger momstheword said…

I totally agree about drawing the line when they're younger so that it's easier when they're older. We want to give them external boundaries so that hopefully (and prayerfully) they will develop internal ones on their own.

We say no for them when they're younger in hopes that eventually they will learn to say no for themselves.

I have 15 and 20 year olds and it is just so much easier as they know what are expectations are.

We never let them get away with poor behavior and blame it on "I can't help it, I'm a teenager and am supposed to act this way" excuse. We always held them accountable for their actions, choices and behavior.

 

At 8:22 PM , Anonymous Mum of Two said…

Thanks for the encouragement. The consistency is so hard but you are right, incredibly rewarding. I have a one year old and a four year old and the days are sooo long sometimes. I find now I pray through those difficult moments and the days are much more pleasant. I still try to be consistent but to remain calm and sane during the stressful moments...you know the ones where both of them are crying and you feel like crying yourself...I just call out to Jesus to work through me and boy life is so much easier.

 

At 1:15 AM , Blogger Julie said…

Yes! I love the pyramid analogy.

I've also heard "bad" parenting referred to as "credit card parenting" - you pay later. And more.

Mine are 12, 10 and 7. It's not easy, but we are seeing fruit.

To God be the glory.

 

At 1:33 AM , Blogger Mrs. Querido said…

Thanks for the encouragement! I am just stopping in to say hi from the SWAK carnival at We are THAT Family!

Blessings!

 

At 10:09 AM , Anonymous Marcella said…

Oh, this all brings back such memories. I have 2 dear boys, 17 and 1/2 months apart in age. There were days when I felt like everytime I turned around they were fighting and I was screaming, again! Ugh. I don't like to remember those days. I didn't like me. But through much prayer and God's grace, the dear boys are 12 and 10 now. They make their own breakfast, practice piano on their own without being told, love to read and 90% of the time when they fight, they work out their own battles. It was hard, but now I am seeing boys slowly turning into men. It is hard, but the cinsistency does pay off. And all the prayers too! Hang in there, and onto God.

 

At 11:27 AM , Blogger Leslie Oden said…

So true! When my children were 8,3,2,and newborn, I thought they would NEVER grow up!! It's so easy to feel frustrated and discouraged when you feel you spend all your time disciplining your kids. Some days I felt like such a mean mommy! But being diligent to discipline during the toddler and elementary years produces excellent fruit later on. All four of them (now 22, 17, 16, and 14)are serving God, loving us, and get along well with each other most of the time. Perfect kids? No. Good kids? You bet! It's hard now, but you can do hard things! :o)

 

At 3:33 PM , Blogger Kathleen said…

One of the most important pieces of parenting advice I can offer is to get those kids to bed at a decent hour! This way, evenings are free for some alone time or time with your husband. I know some husbands don't have the right kind of job for that--they get home at 7:30, so bedtime for the kids at 8:00 leaves little Daddy Time. We are fortunate in that my husband works from home when he's not traveling, so the kids go to their rooms for "Room Time" (reading/quiet time) from 8:00-8:30 and then lights out at 8:30. This gives Hubby and I some good time together if he's home. If he's traveling, I need this time to myself even more for regrouping and relaxing!

 
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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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