Growing up as an only child, I don’t have any experience on the child’s side of the coin with this, but have had to stumble along on the parent side of the coin–hoping I’m at least doing a decent job. Boy, is it ever hard to do everything even and fairly! Everything times 5. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything was sold in packs of 5, birthday party invites came in fives and awards given in fives? Funny how even though they know that know that life is not evenly distributed and I know that, we still wrestle with the concept.
As I’ve parented my children, I have tried my best to parent each one the same and treat them evenly across the board, but you know what I’ve learned, girls? As much as I logically I think I should be able to treat each one exactly the same, the reality is that they are not the same. God has made each one of them differently on purpose and maybe, just maybe there’s something to that. You see, I’m a very black and white parenter (I think I just made up that word) so if any of my children don’t play by my rules, I sometimes don’t know how to handle that. I’m baffled. I’ve laid out the rules…why can’t they just do that?
As I listened to the wise advice of a woman further than the road than I, this is what she said. It’s not like I don’t know this, but I needed to hear it again (and again and again). She said, “As much as you’d like to parent your children the same, you cannot because here is the reality…they are not the same. I know it goes against your grain, but I give you permission…it’s okay to parent them differently.”
Here’s what played in my mind as she reminded me of such a basic thing that is sometimes so hard to grasp:
“Your Talker is…a talker and he’s more emotional than the others. Your black and white ways don’t mesh well with him. You need to meet him where he’s at. He’ll respond better to your parenting if you remember that God wired him differently.”
“Your Daughter of Purpose will always need you to treat her differently. You CANNOT treat her like your biological children because she is not your biological child. She needs you to stop trying to treat her like everyone else and love her right where she’s at. She will always have different needs than they do.” (Clarification: Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t love her any less than my biological children, she just has different needs than my biological children because of her life previous to joining our family.)
The tapes in my head continued to play for each of my children, but these are the two I struggle with the most and I find myself slipping in to “Should-Itis” the most with, but more on that later this week…
It’s hard for me to open up this box in which I dare to share with you the struggles I have worked through the last few years as God gave me a child (and then another one) that I just didn’t get. No one wants to share their failures, but I fear that by keeping the box lid closed that other moms will continue to live in the shame of having trouble loving one of their children.
So I will be brave and pry open the lid to a part of my journey that I don’t share often because I want to share the good news with you that with time and prayer…God can give you the love you need to love your “tough to love” child and give you the wisdom you need to parent them as they need and He is faithful to give you His eyes–to see your child in the amazing way that He sees them.