Screaming and running, he tried to jump into the lazy river and pull away from his big brother who was keeping him safe, though he didn’t think so. He just wanted what he wanted.
Years ago, a scene like this with my boys would have resulted me getting angry, scolding, and probably yelling. I most likely would have given a consequence, resulting in more tantrums and a deep seated anger in my child.
Today, thankfully I’ve learned at least a little something. Not much… but a little. When this scene took place yesterday at the water park, I picked him up hugged him and told him it would be okay. I tried to get him to tell me what was making him so angry but he was too upset, so we sat down with some water and a snack to calm down. I gave him some squeezes because he’s a sensory seeker and needs firm hugs. I kissed him playfully in his face to get some smiles. Then a he ate he told me what was so upsetting. And I told him he cannot run off or scream when he’s angry, something that he isn’t going to learn right away, but we keep working on it.
Relationship. This word has been recurring in my life so much over the past 9 months. God has been speaking to me about how important they are and what they should look like. I’m learning to really study my kids and see who they are, how they respond to different situations, and what they need in their lives.
With Lukas, I’m learning his extreme emotions need my calmness and consistent love. He needs to know he’s loved in the midst of his outbursts. He needs strong squeezes and lots of affirming words. And he needs food. That sounds funny, but it’s true. His blood sugar gets low and he gets hangry!
It’s not easy to figure out all my kids. There are eleven of them, after all! And more will be added via marriage and eventually there will be grandkids to figure out. But what’s more eternal and more important than knowing the people God has put into our lives.
Our other pursuits in life, a job, a garden, homeschooling, friendships, and anything else, won’t measure up to us knowing our children well.
It takes time and dedication and energy. But the reward at the end will be beyond our imagination! A solid relationship with our kids, having their hearts, and knowing them well will get us through the difficult times in life, of which there will be many.
And, thankfully, God’s grace is sufficient for our shortcomings. I wasn’t very good at this when my oldest were little and we went through some really really hard things with one of them during the teen years. (You can read about it here. https://desiredhavenfarm.com/2019/10/02/a-privilege-to-share/) Though I’d done a lot to ruin my relationship with this child, God filled in the gaps and brought other people into his life that he needed. God also pushed him to still reach out to me and open up about his struggles so I could help him. God is good!
And, it’s never too late to really get to know your kids! Even if they aren’t little anymore, you can still discover their personalities, their needs, their likes and dislikes, and how you can have a strong relationship with them.
Here’s some things that have helped me: “The Five Love Languages”, “I Said This, You Heard That”, Marilyn Howshall at marilynhowshall.com, and God’s Word.