The Battle of Wills

It’s funny that I found these pics online this morning,
as Zachary has come to love Charlie Brown.
Just could not help but use them.
I love being a mom.
I’ve said it before and I don’t just say it to remind myself,
even though some days it feels like I need to…
I say it because it’s just true.
I love it!
I specifically love being the mom of my two.
But I won’t lie. It’s not always easy.
Lately it seems we have begun “The Battle of Wills” again.
It seems to come in phases.
He fights the “rules”.
He fights our requests.
He fights the consequences,
with a full tantrum.
Then you go through a stretch 
where you almost forget what time out is…
but then it all comes back around.
Some days I feel like Charlie Brown.
“Oh no, not again!”
Especially when I know he knows and is capable of talking it through with me without yelling and fighting with me.  
So we have come back to time outs with full tantrums.
And this time I feel different about it all.
I am wondering if I am really attending to his needs.
I am all for boundaries and discipline,
don’t get me wrong.
I want to teach him what is appropriate and what is not
and that there are consequences for behavior and choices.
But he knows that.  I’ve seen that evidence.
Today I have been thinking about how I am helping him 
cope with his emotions.
Am I helping him?
So often lately he yells at me and screams,
“Mommy, listen to me!”
And here is my issue – Am I listening?  Do I listen?
or do I simply stand my ground s
o that he knows his behavior is not ok?!
Well, if I am being honest, I would say the latter is true the most.
And it makes my heart sad.
I want to teach him and I believe we are doing that,
but most of all, I want to nurture his heart.
I want to help him work through strong emotions,
to know that it is ok to feel them and express them,
but to express them in a healthy way.
Heck, I don’t even do that all the time.
How can I expect him to be good at it at 3?
And this is what I don’t want.
I don’t want it to just become routine.
Mom says so, you listen, or else…
So I think it’s time for me to go back to an approach I have written about before; The Nurtured Heart Approach.
There are still boundaries and discipline,
but most of all, there is love.
Love for all that my kids are, all they are experiencing,
all they are trying to figure out and all they are learning – 
the good and the ugly!
I don’t want to fight with my son anymore.
I want to talk with him.
I want to work through things with him.
I want him (and my daughter) to know what is appropriate,
what is the right thing to do and what is not,
but most of all I want them to know that when they are struggling with doing what is right,
they can come to me and we can talk about it.
That is what I want most of all, when they are 3, 13 and 23…
Dearest Jesus, grant me humility, to see my children through the lens that you see me.  I know I am not perfect and do not always do the right thing.  It gets me into trouble too.  But you shower me with love, grace and forgiveness.  Help me to do the same with my kids.  Even when I want to pull my hair out and  stand firm without compromise.  Help me to know when I need to be firm and when I just need to sit with them and talk it through.  Grant me strength and wisdom to do just that.

To read more about The Nurtured Heart Approach, 
see my posts on “All Children Flourishing”

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