Why is it that children are so much better behaved for everyone besides their parents? And why can they be so kind to others and yet so unkind to their siblings? This is a part of parenthood I am forever battling. Some days my two fight so much that I think that I must have done something (or a lot of things) wrong along the way. Then the mood changes, and they are loving and getting along and helping each other, and maybe even helping me! It is enough to give me whiplash.
What does the Bible teach us about parenting? I mean specifically about parenting? Certainly all the basic love and kindness stuff applies, and Jesus does tell us that we need to become like little children, to have the big open faith that children do. But what about what to do when these little children are so cheerfully defiant I want to pull out all my hair? Or when their fights escalate to violence and bloodshed (ok maybe it’s not quite that dramatic—but there’s a lot of hitting and throwing)?
The story of Jacob and Esau does not exactly fill me with hope either, by the way. But I could totally see that happening at my house. The younger one tricking the older one to get what he wants. Sounds about right really. But it doesn’t tell us how Isaac and Rebecca managed those two as children. I bet she felt a lot like I do some days.
One benefit to the times we live in is that I don’t have to look very far to see others struggling with the same issues, and there are some resources to lend support. I am so fortunate to have a lovely network of friends who I may never see (thanks COVID-19), but I talk to just about every day, and they assure me I am not alone and that it is ok to wonder if your kids will survive to adulthood or fight to the death before they finish grade school. Who knew?
And can I just say out loud that lockdown for two kids in grade school is pretty much the worst. They were sick of each other after a long weekend; now they’re spending weeks at home with no company but each other? No wonder they are getting restless. I can’t blame them one bit! Unfortunately, I am also not the “cool” mom with all the activities and crafts and games. I run out of steam pretty quickly, so they are left to come up with their own fun, and some days it is not so much fun as it is taking turns torturing each other. But they’ll be okay, right?
I mean, there’s no birthright to fight over, they’ll need to make their own way in the world. Someday they’ll go back to school and spend time with other kids. I guess I just need to have a little faith. It’ll be okay.