Saturday, May 3, 2008

Parent-Child Bonding Over Mutual Depravity

(Eat your heart out, BooMama - Betcha can't beat that title. More on BooMama later.)

It's a rainy Saturday afternoon in sunny FL (is that even possible?), and I'm headache-free. Thank you, Jesus. And Thank you Emily's mom, who suggested I take a CoQ10 (instead of my preferred Coke and aspirin). It worked! She said if I took a CoQ10 capsule every day it would deter future headaches, too. She forgot to say, but it was definitley implied, that I should wash my CoQ10 down with a Coke. Well, there's ya some Free Medical Advice from Dr. Debbie (and Mrs. Emily's Mom).

Now onto something even harder than getting rid of an eye-throbbing, throwin' upping, every-noise-is-too-loud migraine. The only thing that could come close to that is dealing with a Teen Attitude. In case you need to be reminded of the current Virtually Impossible Question To Answer, here it is:

Dear Annie,

What do you do when you have a sweet, loving dd who since totally irresponsible, disrespectful semi-dd moved out has seemed to morph into the selfish ways of the semi-dd?

Behavior seems worse after spending time away from home in wonderful activities, with equally wonderful, and responsible teens whom I'm SURE aren't disrespectful, selfish and lazy when THEY return home. First-time obedience seems to be a faint memory.

When discussions ensue regarding the degrading attitude of said dd, communication becomes "I don't know." It comes down to not being able to see the plank in her own eye.

What can these loving parents do to re-connect the dots of responsibility, servant heart, and obedient dd?>>>

First off (and this loving mother already knows this...cuz she's heard it multiple times from me...even though she - and Me - would like to believe it ain't so), Nobody makes us sin. We sin because we are sinners (brilliant, aren't I? :) Circumstances and people (like your semi-dd)can only reveal what is already in our desperately wicked hearts (Jer.17:9) So, your job, Good Devoted Mother, is to do two things.

Numero Uno (that was for my International Blog readers)- You need to be sure that you are modelling correct responses. You mentioned disrespect, selfishness, and laziness as character problems in your daughter. And you are probably right-on in assuming she doesn't see those planks in her eye....However, you better believe she can see the speck(s) in yours, Sister. Teens are notorious for trying to get the focus off themselves and onto your speck. If you deal with her in anger, disrespect, or pridefully, she will forget her own problems and magnify yours.

So, there you go, Mary, just be sure you never sin again, OK? Then she will be convicted of her own plank(s), and voila'- you will have your previously obedient daughter back again.

But, on the off chance you have trouble following that recommendation, here's another tip. Just do your best to be above reproach in your interactions. Seriously, apart from filling the world with our progeny, God must've designed parenting as the quickest way to sanctification. So Congratulations, you get to grow in humility as you model sensitivity to the Spirit, quick confession, and a willingness to repent of your speck(s).

One thing I learned years ago in a counseling course is that we can never truly understand or help others, even in our own families, unless we first look thoroughly into our own lives and deal with our own sins without compromise, excuses, or evasion (based on Mt.7:1-5;2 Cor.1:3-5).

Secondly, (and this is by far the hardest - even though the first is no cake walk) you cannot merely target your daughter's behavior, as that would be superficial parenting. I love what Tedd Tripp (author of Shepherding a Child's Heart) says:
"A change in behavior that does not stem from a change in the heart is not commendable; it is condemnable."

I hate to leave you there, Loyal Blog Readers Who Never Leave Comments (sorry...but I had to throw that in because I got my latest stats and I had 83 visitors yesterday, yet a mere 4 comments, actually 3 since two were by the same person (thanks, Lea), while my dear BooMama's blog- which I love and rarely comment on...OK, Never comment on - since she apparently doesn't need me - had 55 comments regarding her thoughts on American Idol's Final Five! If ya'll don't leave an occasional comment I will have to start blogging about Sanjaya - No Wait, wrong season...)

I will promulgate more on this tomorrow (You can't expect me to fill up the next 28 days if I spill all my beans on the first 3 days!). I have some heart-searching questions we can ask our children to help draw out what might be hiding there. Our goal is to come alongside them and help them confront their sin.

If we're continually dealing with our own teeny-tiny, minuscule specks :), we are able to truly empathize with our child's struggles. They'll sense our gentle, respectful attitude and this will go a long way toward helping them deal with their sin in a biblical manner. We can go to the foot of the cross together, desperate for more grace, and ready to take advantage of His abundant resources. It's part of the joy and the agony of being a parent.

And speaking of more grace....I hope your Sabbath is worshipFULL and rest-filled.

Every Day In far so good :)


Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

yes, I'm commenting on my own blog - because it is just too discouraging to see that little
zero. And I'm not smart enough to figure out how to do this anonymously. If you open up the blog one day and see double digit comments, you'll know I figured it out :)

lea said...

muy bien posting (from your international readership). especially since you were so rudely interrupted in the middle of your posting by a friend with a gift for your children. a gift that they already had... oh well, we can't all be perfect (i read that on someone's blog once... oh yes, it was YOUR blog).

jax said...

Hi Mom + Lea, what's up?
Just kidding, but these comment sections are beginning to feel like a chat room between the two of you.
Mom, your blogs lately have been great! Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

I have a question for Annie.
My DD used to be very well-trained and obedient. However, my husband was recently away for an extended period of time, during which I also traveled. DD stayed with friends for a couple of weeks and I don't think they were as strict as we usually are. Since then, DD has been slow to obey and trying to get away with more and more, things that would never have been attempted before -- pretending not to hear when I call, and even pooping on the floor! (DD is only 1 1/2.) I don't want to be overly harsh, but how do I regain control? And how do I prevent this from happening again?
--Stumped in the South

wbtrice said...

Hey Jax,

You stole my idea! I was going to tell Lea that I got my first edition of my scrapbooking magazine...thanks so much! :) And thanks for giving a subscription to Debbie, too (aka Mom- now all your readers know your family is loyal).

I am checking faithfully, now that I know you will have a new post every day...way to keep the heavy subjects funny and less daunting.

Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

Dear Anonymous-
Can I add your question to my que? I only have one or two ahead of you. In the meantime, I just want to encourage you that at your daughter's age, you can almost start over. They learn quickly (since obviously she learned quite a bit while she was with your friends!) The key will be your consistency. Not 99%, but 100%. If possible, I would clear my calendar as much as possible in order to be home and able to re-train her. Start with having her come when you call her. You can't really work on too much until you are sure you have her complete attention.

More later....Let me know how things go. I'll be praying for you. I'm sure God knows who Anonymous is :)