Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Strong Willed Child...A Failed Parent?

Hmm...that title doesn't sound quite right. I don't mean that a parent is a failure because the child is strong willed. I know that is completely false. The strong will is just part of the child's is not a result of how the the child is parented.

What I wonder is: Do the parents of other strong willed children feel like failures in the parenting department on a regular basis? I know I do. All. The. Time.

There are so many times that I am just hanging onto control of my temper by a thin little thread. And then I wonder if it is even worth it to be doing this battle? Am I pushing too hard? Am I helping my child mold her will and to later learn to fit her will to God's? Or am I just frustrating and pushing and turning her away from loving and obeying? Does she even know that I love her when we have this battle of the wills going on? Does she care?

So many times, I want to just give in, give up, let it go. But when it is direct disobedience or disrespect, I know that I cannot let it go unaddressed. But then how far do you take the addressing of the matter?

Sometimes when we are finally done, I am close to tears. I am so frustrated. I just want to give up. I feel like I have failed because it takes so much to get her to the point of obedience. How can I possibly show her how to get there on her own?

Will we ever have a calm home without screaming and tears over something as simple as "put the book back on the shelf where it belongs"? Will a 1-2 minute time out ever be actually 1-2 minutes rather than dragging into 20 or 30 minutes because she will not go stand in time out? Is there something I am missing? Is there something different I should be doing or saying to stop this major clash of wills? Am I actually failing at parenting? Or is this just how the parents of all strong willed children feel?

Please tell me I am not alone. Please tell me I am not crazy. Please tell me that the many fun times we have are more memorable and mean more than the not fun discipline times. Please tell me I am not a terrible mother. Please.