Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thank You Ladies

A mom from our fellowship asked the women of the Body for prayers and advice,
here is her cry for wisdom and the answers she received from the ladies. 
I replaced proper names with son, daughter or father, mother. 

Dear Ladies,
We are going through some MAJOR hormonal/teenage issues with  our 11 year old daughter right now. First, we need prayer. Second, we need advice.
My husband and I both were not raised in a Godly home. I thought that training our children up in the things of the Lord and in a loving, Godly home would help prevent some of these issues. That is not the case for us.
We have not had any problems with our son, age 13.
11 year old daughter is an emotional wreck. You can just tell that her heart is not in submission to dad and myself, especially me. Yes, I yell and raise my voice a lot and I really want to STOP that. No, I'm not perfect. I yell at all the kids. Daughter seems to be the one to take it more personally.
Let me just give you some examples from this morning - each child has daily chores. For the girls, they need to have their brothers inspect their room. Our other son came downstairs after inspecting 11 year old daughter's part of the room and said her bed was messy. Daughter stormed up the stairs shouting that that's how it always looks. I called her name in a stern voice and she immediately said, "sorry brother." But her attitude was not right.
So after daughter passed inspection she came back down and sat down to breakfast with a pouting attitude. She's sitting there balancing her food on her fork and dropping it on the table. 
I ,sternly, not yelling, told her to stop that. It was received with more attitude. So I sent her to the bathroom to talk to God and ask Him to help her attitude. She got all upset and said it was me who was angry. Well now I can really start feeling the anger rise in me. I needed to separate the two of us before I lost my temper.
After a few minutes in the bathroom she came back out with a bad attitude still. So I sent her back in after calmly explaining to her that accepting criticism is a skill and she wasn't doing it well. We used to work in group homes in Nebraska and most of the kids didn't have that skill but they all worked on learning it.
She came back out of the bathroom in hysterical tears asking to talk to me. She then went on to point out that it was all my fault. I sent her upstairs before I lost control and now I'm here typing.

Some women of the body Christ responded to this mom's plea for help with these helpful answers

I have not started yet, but what I am thinking of is taking each emotion, both good and bad, and defining them first, then discuss how to use them.

The Bible speaks much on the heart and I want to certainly use that as the basis.  Such as in Proverbs, "guard the heart as it is the wellspring of life."  Also, the proverbs re: the tongue, youth and obedience to the father, life effects of  being a fool.

God gave us emotions, I believe, as signals to let us know what is going on within our hearts and to alert us to see that some outside influence is/may be harmful to us.  We are to use them to see inside ourselves.  I don't think we should try to stifle them in our young as they will never learn how to see their emotions as signals.  In the puberty years those emotions wash over us like tsunamis and we don't know what is happening or how to deal with them.  All of us need to get acquainted with and harness all of those intense feelings.

I spent two years in counseling in my late 20's which is when I learned that emotions can and should be used to aid us in seeing what is happening to us and in us.  In my childhood one never was allowed to express any negative emotion...we learned to stifle and ignore them.  I was totally at the mercy of emotions and had no clue how to deal with them and the results were disastrous in my life.

We had another blow up last night between our son and his grandfather.  Our son, in a fit of intense anger, told his grandfather that he hated him.  At bedtime after things were calmer, I went through Proverbs, grandfather and grandson read aloud some passages pertaining to the tongue and the damage it causes in our lives.  We had a great talk and our son, he clearly saw that his words were devastating to his grandffather and unpleasing to the Lord.   We discussed ways in which we may express anger appropriately and noted that God did not say to never get angry, but to not sin in our anger.  Our son admitted freely that he does not hate his Grandpa but was "just angry."  We talked about things that may be said such as, "I am SO angry at you right now."  We also talked about how our son is dealing with huge emotions that just come over him all of a sudden.  He knows it is part of changing from a little boy into a young man and that it will calm down when puberty is over.  He also knows that he is responsible for how he reacts to those feelings.

I hope that example helps you to see what I am trying to do.


Oh gosh, we are going through the same with our son.  In his meltdown last evening he said that we are the wrong family for him and that we hate him!
My approach so far is to tell him that "those crazy mood swings" are his hormones turning him from a little boy into a young man and that ALL kids go through this angst.  (He needs to know that this is not autism.)
It is interesting that you sent your email today as I was just planning a group of lessons on emotions to try to help our son understand all these huge feelings that come over him.  It seems to me that to educate the child on the emotions has to help.
Of course my first response is to pray for guidance.  I feel very helpless and like a big failure right now.
Please share with me any ideas that you receive from the others.

Sister, I am praying for you and your daughter. My small bit of advice is that you pray for your daughter, pray with her, praise the Lord for this, seek His will for this time, ask the Lord to help you love her as He does and to see things His way.

in Him,

 Oh, sister,
Thank you for being soooo real and open.  I don’t have a teenager, but I can see some of those traits in my kids as well.  I was not raised in a Godly home either, and I have those same concerns.  I just lifted you all up in prayer.  I will continue to.  I too have lost my temper more than I’d like to apologize for these past few months, so I will pray for you as I pray for myself in this area.  I guess if your daughter kept saying it was me, I’d have to have a few minutes break, but then ask her why she thinks that, and go from there.  I truly will pray that others who are farther along in parenting will reach out to you guys.  You are loved!  I do understand!
Big hugs, 

Have you and your daughter been able to go out and do something fun….just the two of you?  It might help for both of you to get away from the area of tension, and approach things differently, or just have fun together to rebuild some love for each other.  Just a thought.

 Hi sister,
I'm not sure I have much advice, but I would be interested to hear the
advice from other more experienced Moms. Sorry you are going through this
hard time. I remember everything seemed like "the end of the world" when I
was that age. :) My parents were good at going to the heart of the issue and
appealing to my conscious without putting guilt on me. They also confessed
their faults and shortcomings to me when they were in the wrong, which also
spoke volumes to me and helped my heart soften to them.

Anyway, just thinking out-loud. I'll be praying for you. 


There are so many stories like this that I could share with you, you have no idea.  The Lord has been very gracious, and stern, with me; perhaps it would help for you to hear them from me sometime.

I will begin praying for you and your daughter about these things, and as you start to receive counsel from the other women I caution you to be very mindful of the advice you receive, including my own.  Let me be very honest with you now and tell you that your email seems to come from a place of frustration and a possible resistance to take this immediately before the Lord in patience; even your last sentence exposes that as truth.  Still, I appreciate where you are and have been there many times. Our children, and our relationship with them, are powerful tools in God's toolbox for exposing our hearts.

So, I'm going to throw some "pearls"out to you; and please know, I do not cast pearls lightly.  These pearls were hard-earned.  I share them with you, because I see you as a woman of God, who desires to live her life in a way that pleases the Lord.  Each of these pearls has a story associated with it, and those are the stories I can share with you sometime.

*Despite your best efforts, your children will choose their own way.
You can do what you can do, you can insist on governing by a certain standard, key, method, or measure~ but they will still decide for themselves whether to own it for themselves.  You may think "A+B=B+A" in mothering, but that is a false assumption. Children do not go the way of the world or fall into sin because of bad mothering.  They fall into sin because they are sinful creatures. By the same token, they will not be kept from sin because of "good" mothering.  You cannot keep your child from sin~ they are entirely responsible for that.  How well I know this.  More (about me) to say on this later.

*Parents (especially mothers!) can actually provoke our kids to wrath.
Scripture warns us against this, so just go ahead and acknowledge that it is likely that is what has happened here.  Yes, our children are accountable to God for their wrath (acting in sinful anger), while you will be accountable for provoking it. Much more (about me) to say on this later, unfortunately. 

*Parents (mothers) cannot determine their child's heart attitude.  
I remember when one of my children told me, very politely and calmly~with reverence, that their attitude was "not my business".  Although this statement shocked me, it is true. Only the EVIDENCE of the attitude was my business. I can call them out on it in some ways, but I cannot control what goes on in their heart or in their thinking.  Their father and I CAN, and do, implement behavior adjustments~their father once removed our daughter's bedroom door off the hinges because she slammed it. Slamming the door is against family rules, therefore we can handle the breaking of a rule, but had no right attempt to change her heart, or her motivation. In fact, that is not even possible and the sooner I realized that, the more freedom I had in mothering in Liberty. And peace.  There are many more family stories like this I'll be happy to share with you sometime; I think my own kids would tell you that they appreciate this the most, and wish that I had caught on when they were younger. I've seen a lot of success with this epiphany.

*Never.  Ever.  Ever.  Mother out of frustration.
It just doesn't work.  Your kids deserve better.  You deserve better.  The Lord deserves praise, not frustration.  I think you associate with me on this point;  you are very much truth-wired, and love the Principles of God.  You value rightness and justice, purity and the right path.  I value those things too, but if I'm honest, I've made many many mistakes in mothering because I was more interested in being right, and seeing Rightness in my kids (for a lot of reasons, a big one being....)

*Never. Ever. Ever. Mother out of Fear.
Thoughts of "Oh no!  She/He is going down this path.........."  Take a deep breath here, and remind yourself that the Lord knows exACTly where your child is, even better than you.  This moment, this opportunity, this failure, whatever the situation at the time~ is exACTly what is needed in the recipe for her to become who she is to be in the Lord.  I will tell you what I've done:  I picture the world as a big, smutty, ocean of goop.  Some kids swim around in it, some kids get in waste deep before they realize that it is Unrighteous.  I would rather my kids just go up on their own and dip their big toe in that goop~ and pop it back out with a distaste for it; rather than be kept from it 10 miles away becuase I am fearful of them getting too close.  Fear will motivate a mother wrongly, even if her intentions are honorable.  Relax.  A bad conversation here or there is not necessarily a bad Thing.  

*Your daughter is not a female version of your son.
I actually learned this lesson the other way around:  my sons are not male versions of my daughters, but since you compared your daughter to your son, I thought it may be helpful.  Your daughter is a young woman, maturing and desiring some space of her own.  The Holy Spirit is directing her soul to a relationship with Him, and she is learning what it is like to be accountable to Him for it.  This is not easy.  I would also add, that your daughter is not one of the pack.  And she may be starting to feel lost in a sea of little kids.

*Value her.
This, dear sister, is by far the most expensive pearl for me.  I've told very few people the way I learned this lesson, and what it cost me.  But, as the Lord would have it, the child in question does not even remember the offense against them (I'll share sometime if you want).  That being said, I was told, very kindly and to my face by a sweet sister, that I was not valuing my daughter .  She was about 9 at the time. The Holy Spirit struck me (I'm so very thankful!!).  Value her.  
If I were learning something new in the Lord, and struggling, would you not encourage me?  Why is it that we think we can be so commanding, and demanding, with our children?  Why is it that we blame them for failing when they do not meet our expectations?  Is it possible our expectations are incorrect? Or improper?  What are our expectations to be anyway? If the roles were reversed, would you want yourself as a mother? (ouch.  sorry.  this question was actually the catalyst for my own moment of truth)

Sister, I am taking a huge risk in revealing these things to you about my relationship with my children.  I am not finished with my family, and I'm sure you've witnessed some things with my kids, my relationship with them, that you do not observe as right or helpful.  You've probably witnessed sin in my family, and who knows what I have yet to endure as a mother?  I am not throwing stones~ I live in a glass house!  But I know how easy it is to get our eyes off the mark; I've failed there many times.  Yet, I do see where the Lord's Principles work. Always!  So, here are some ways to help your daughter:

*A regular father/daughter date, just the 2 of them.
*Something of her own that she is known for and gives her identity inside the family.
*Regular women's multi-vitamins. (Bcomplex sub-lingual is the female "coping" magic serum)
*Consistent approval from Mom; validation that growing up is hard, submitting to authority is hard.
*Let her pick a Bible Study herself, for herself.

Lastly, I think you're doing a good job, and are a good mother, and good wife.  I appreciate your willing to be vulnerable, and ask for help.  So many of us have been there!!!  What you're walking thru is not a failure of your mothering, as much as a failure in the human condition~ your daughter is afflicted with the same heart condition as the rest of the world, and it's not easy to accept, how well I know.  Be happy.  Be cheerful.  Be at peace, and let serenity govern the atmosphere of your home thru the working of the Holy Spirit.  And lastly, please forgive me if I've overstepped my boundaries with anything I've mentioned here.  God is good, and ready to deliver good.  He loves your daughter more than you and is mostly interested in His relationship with her, more than anything else.

Blessings to you!  And much Peace,

Dear sister ..

God bless you all!!! The human condition. 

Two things ..

1. This too shall pass
2. Keep eternity in the picture

If your children are saved by the blood of our Lord Jesus then He has them in the palm of His hand.He has a bigger plan then you are able to manage. They are His kids and you and your husband are His instruments for their discipleship. 
Something about Love
Remember how patient God is with you and your willfulness. Our Lord daily walks beside you teaching you the truth. He is faithful with us even when we are stiff necked and stubborn ... kinda like our children are.

He changes us through His love and faithfulness. He made a way for us through Jesus, He gives us the Holy Spirit then it's up to us to receive it.

Sometimes when the child is so out of sorts they are not hearing God. How can you help them to hear from God? Would a hug work, then reading God's Word? Starting with Psalms of His love and goodness then after their spirits are soft to the Lord then moving toward the Word which instructs them in the way they should go?

Maybe some worship music will help them to open their hearts to God. Then after they are open to Him - hence you .. they might be ready to hear.

Then you can come together in the Lord. Recognizing His amazing goodness and undeserved grace to us all. Then can come repentance and restoration.

Just a thought.

Right now I have been praying for you all.

Love you sister!!

Isaiah 54:10
"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Hi Sister, 
I read your e mail .  As you can see..girls are a little more complicated than guys :)  11 years old is a delicate age and a special time in her life.  Not knowing if she has had her period or not, her body is is preparing for that and going through many changes at the same time and saying all that  her emotions will  inevitably go a bit haywire.  I think it is a normal stage that she is going through, as well as it is a normal stage for you as you learn to deal with your first girl growing up.  Don't be hard on yourself.  As for her attitude, you need to find out why she has one. There may be a root to it and maybe you and her need a mom -daughter date or walk to talk it out. No Matter what she needs to know that she needs to control attitude and learn to deal with problems in the correct manner.  I think it is a good time to start a very personal relationship with her so that she will confide and come to you with her thoughts, feelings, problems and questions.  That is very important because if you are not there or if she feels she can't talk to you, she will either bottle it up or find someone else to talk to. She may have something bottled up inside now that needs to come out and she may need to be taught how to handle it. She needs to learn to deal with emotions.  I am so for a girl- woman learning to handle emotions and not use it as an excuse to go off the deep end, if you know what I mean. She's growing up,  she needs to know with that are responsibilities, for example...that her room needs to be clean and that you need to count on her that it will be done so that you don't have to have her brothers check on her work. (which as she is growing up, it may bother her to have her brothers in her room).  Draw close to her and most of all pray for wisdom only God can give us moms - To love, teach, counsel, discipline, and care for our daughters.  It is not an easy job but it is so rewarding !
I know with myself and my girls, we talk, pray together, and laugh together...  we also have our very bad days, but sometimes I will just sit on their bed and ask them what is happening in their life and so on.
I am not sure this is what you were asking for but as I prayed about what to write, the Lord lead me to write this. 
Hope it helps. I will be praying for you and your daughter.

Love you,

 Dear sister,

I am sorry for the trials of bad attitudes.  They can be real intense battles.  But they don't have to be.  I would love to talk with you more on this, ideally in person.  Maybe we could have you and the children over for a visit.  But for now let me try to give you some short pointers that may be helpful.  I am not trying to be critical, but truthful and insightful.  I may be far off in some things.  Sorry if so.    

To be truthful, it sounds like you and your daughter take it personally and offensively when the other is perceived to be not right in attitude with the other.  It seems as though you both might intensify each other's angry responses.  

God's Grace is what it is all about in all our relationships, and especially with our husbands and children.  You and your daughter need grace and to walk in the Spirit of Christ.  God has dealt with me on this over and over about treating another with Christ-like love unconditionally,  even disobedient children, rather than getting frustrated, angry, etc.  And I used to get impatient or intolerant of repeated issues of disobedience or 'bad' attitudes with our young children thinking that I shouldn't have to put up with that.  I thought it is such a disruption of what I'm 'really' supposed to be doing.  But then God revealed, that this disruption to give attention to, tend to, apply wisdom, instruct, correct, etc. is my mission!  It is why I am their mother!  That is exactly what a parent does and we are to be faithful and loving to our children just as our Heavenly Father is faithful and loving to us; though we parents are in repeated bad attitudes and other offensive sins.  He loves us and tends to us though we are so unlovable many times!!

I believe anytime we are in anger, even frustration, we have been tempted out of the spirit of Christ and God is not glorified in it.  We all have our struggles but we are called to keep our thoughts toward God; especially at the first hint of a rise in frustration and anger.  Pray for His love to endure, pray for patience, understanding, and wisdom.  Each potential clash is an opportunity to reference that you are attentive to their character, development, and needs; also their strengths and weaknesses, etc.  You could have taken opportunity to inquire as to the heart of the matter as to why your daughter is so upset and coming off as having a bad attitude.  Obviously she is not in peace or joy and needs love, probably truth, and reconciliation.  She probably doesn't even know exactly what is creating her feelings and needs you or her father to help her sort it out.  Her disobedience is not excused, but to confront it must be done in a spirit of benevolence to her.  You want to help her obtain wholeness in Christ.  And if it is something that is not so big at times, then ask God first if it must be dealt with. Sometimes "love covers a multitude of sin" and seeks to accentuate the Christ-likeness.  I petition you to show love through compassion and understanding as much as possible.  You are God's gift to her to help her understand herself and her world.  IF you have to correct or rebuke her, in the spirit of Christ be GENTLE yet firm.  I would hear God echoing in my mind when my voice inclined toward harshness "gentleness, gentleness, Christ"  And if you are tempted to be in a wrong attitude with her, then take the lead and humbly confess (repent) and seek forgiveness from her.  Show that you too understand this disposition and your own need for the Savior and His grace.  Express your desire to have a better relationship with her full of more love, peace, and joy.  And very importantly, I would recommend that you not send her off to pray by herself as a first seek God response.  Rather, express your wisdom that this chaotic clash is a call to prayer and that you would like to pray for her and with her.  You can guide her in prayer for wisdom to see the root; and for repentance, forgiveness, restitution, and more grace for the future.  Seeking unity in humble prayer together, and thankfulness toward God and them for their submission, is a wonderful groundwork for a relationship growing deeper and stronger in love.  And truthfully, those times I had to stop everything on my agenda to have those long discussions with my children, from 3-8 yrs old, have been some of the deepest and sweetest times where we also have shared our hearts and minds and really received great help from God.  They are treasures in my memories.

On a practical note, remind me to ask you more about her brother's inspection of her room and the purposes for that relative to how it affects her.  Also, boys are very different from girls in how they process offenses and express them.  

Hope this inspires!
love and smiles,

Our dear sisters gave wonderful advice full of love and hope. We are hoping that maybe by posting these responses you might find some nuggets of gold to help you along your journey of parenthood.

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