(Sticks and boys: So much potential!)
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Yesterday I talked about how I choose my battles.
Today I’ll amend it a little with:
Choose your battles but don’t always choose the path of least resistance.
It is worth it in the end to power through a hard moment (or a series of hard moments!) to get to the better behavior/more secure relationship/better adjusted adult on the other side.
Resistance grows character.
My child always eats the crayons instead of drawing. The easy way out would be to never let him playy with crayons. The path of resistance would be to carefully supervise him so he learns that eating crayons is yucky and there’s a different purpose. He’ll learn self-control and eventually the joy of drawing with crayons. I’ll learn how to mediate between what he wants and what is good for him.
It is our job to say no.
Somehow I missed that little lesson early on in parenthood.
When our babies are little what they want is most often what they need. They need food, a clean diaper, a bath, a burp. Life is a complicated simple.
We’re supposed to give them what they want.
But as they get older their wants get a little more diverse and they start to want things that aren’t good for them.
It then becomes our job to teach them ‘no’ to keep them safe.
“These limit-setting experiences are crucial for the child. They involve the child’s developing a healthy sense of inhibition in which the child learns that what he or she wanted to do is not safe or socially acceptable.”
-Parenting from the Inside Out
They learn to accept other people’s “no” and in turn learn that they can say “no” themselves about certain aspects of their existence. Learning “no” helps them to have healthy boundaries in their relationships. We have to teach them to respect the “no” and the importance of saying “no”. (I found the book called Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Townsend and Cloud to be an excellent discussion on the importance of “no” in our lives and relationships.)
Kids also need to learn how to regulate through the disappointment of not being allowed to do what they want. The following quote compares their wants (and feeling about what they want) to an accelerator and the parents’ “no” to the brakes. They, in turn, have an clutch that helps them to learn to react appropriately internally and externally as they process the balance between their wants and limitations.
“Parents help teach children to regulate this emotional clutch in order to balance their accelerator and brakes. In order to do this, a parent needs to be able to tolerate the tension and discomfort that a child may experience when a parent sets a limit. If a parent cannot tolerate a child’s being upset it is very difficult for the child to learn to regulate her emotions. A limit setting “no” is best followed by calm, clear follow through by the parent. If we always capitulate and give our child what she wants just to keep her from being upset, we will not support our child in developing a healthy ability to apply the brakes and redirect an activity.
Parenting From the Inside Out
I always have a hard time allowing my kiddo to be upset because up til recently it has been my job to keep him as happy as possible. So I’ll have to work a bit to get over the whole “I’m making my baby cry” block in my mind. I need to say no whether he likes it or not. Though I can choose to redirect his attention to something else or give him the option of a permissible activity to mitigate the screaming tantrum that may follow.
I am trained as i train my little. As he learns “no” I learn the importance of saying “no” to him and to many other situations, people, and options in my life. Saying no is a valuable life skill that will only gain the respect of the people you say no to if you already have a healthy relationship.
“I won’t get fitter, healthier, more patient, more like Jesus or anything else good until I face resistance. And I have a very, very simple choice. I can wait for that resistance to come (normally in some sort of disastrous way) or I can choose to bring resistance into my life.
I want to be a woman who chooses it. I want to train for my life instead of react to it.”
“As moms, we face resistance all. day. long. Choose it. Embrace it. Get stronger.”
Resistance by Kat @ Inspired to Action
Sounds like intentional mothering to me!
How do you deal with resistance?
How’s your “no”? Can you say it easily or do you need some practice (that’s me!)?