This week was particularly rough and I can't figure why. She threw multiple fits each day and put me at my emotional limit.
Here is how it sometimes goes:
- I get her up from bed and she doesn't like that I ask her if she's dry (still bed-wetting her pull-up at night).
- She fusses and whines instead of answering me and I calmly tell her that I cannot listen to that type of language - I just can't hear her. If she fusses I must leave, I tell her.
- She starts throwing her head and body at being told this. So I leave (because I don't want to get angry - I don't keep my voice even if I get angry and she feeds off of my tone).
- Now she screams and throws herself on the floor and rages for a five minutes. This feel like an eternity to me, since I am waiting, knowing that I have no control! My heart is sore. Were I to spank her now, in the throws of her tyraid, it would take 3 times as long to reach her heart, if at all. And I would likely get angry. So I remind myself just to wait.....
- When she's calm I come back in and administer the consequences - calmly and with NO anger. I remind her that she didn't make a good choice by throwing a fit and should next time take a breath, pray and ask for a hug instead of throwing herself to the ground. I remind her that I love her and want to help her learn to control her anger BUT that I cannot allow that type of behavior if she chooses it.
- She apologizes (of her own choice -thank the Lord that I can tell when her heart is truly repentant), we hug and we go downstairs to breakfast. She is once again an angel, bubbling with excitement about the things she's going to do this day. But me - I'm left feeling quite raw inside from just the first tantrum of the day....I pray for the strength I will need.
Don't get me wrong - I KNOW that progress has been made with her. God really has shown us how to better deal with her, how to watch our tone of voice, how to encourage her and praise her, how to avoid antagonizing her (yes- we did use to do this! We thought that she should obey no matter what and weren't careful about how we talked to her or instructed her), how to be more consistent with her consequences, and how to help her to use words to communicate instead of only her body.
I guess that listening to her scream at.the.top.of.her.lungs for what seems like the umpteenth time in a day (as I try to shield the younger two, try not to snap at the older one in my irritation, and bite my own lip to allay anger from rising up) reminds me that we are in a process. I tend to want to be fully sanctified right now, with all my duckies (or children in this case) in a row. But the process of getting there (to God's standard, that is, not my own 'duckies in a row' standard) is just that - a process, not an end result. Oh but this is a hard lesson for me! I hope that we are at least giving Him glory in our trying to deal with her firmly but lovingly as she rants and raves.....
This is not about how she learns differently or processes what we tell her - it's just plain strong-willed rebellion, a heart issue. I could use any ideas as to how we could help her to control her anger before it becomes rage. We need to teach her this but are obviously missing something. Scripture references would be helpful too - I should try to memorize some for just these times with her. Maybe we should find a counselor who deals just with kids for her? Or one for us as parents?
Just had to unload all this. It helps to get the weight of it off my mind. Thankfully, the Lord is so faithful to soothe my heart. And again - tomorrow is a new day!