Thursday, March 29, 2012

Parenting a Perfectionist

"I'm a bad girl Mommy"
Ugh, break my heart in two.  John was out of town for the weekend and I had pharyngitis with no voice for the 3 days he was gone. Needless to say, my mothering was debilitated on several fronts ;)
Reese (my 5 year old) had been having trouble obeying, which she normally has no trouble at all. She is my child that if I ask her to clean her room, everything is put away, her blankets are folded on her bed and animals are arranged neatly in lines.  She is my first-born achiever child that if I ask her to help clean the table, she says "My pleasure, mommy" (thank you Chick-fil-A).  So needless to say, it was a rough weekend since my rule follower had already cut her own hair, colored on her legs with a pen, was telling me no, and if I even gave her the "you shouldn't have done that" look, an all out tantrum was in order.  So, in my best low whisper, I asked her to snuggle for a while and asked her what was going on, she was not acting like herself.
It was then that she broke down and said, "I'm a bad girl mommy! I don't like myself!"


I knew I had to get my parenting game on quick. That was a heavy one with major implications.

Here is the gist of my response, it was a dialogue of course but I didn't write it all out that way below. No I did NOT get it all right, but we had similar conversations that headed in this direction before, never with such strong statements from Reese, but similar when she gets frustrated with herself for messing up.

>> Reese, who does God say you are? God says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Remember that verse in jeremiah 31:20?" Oh Reese is my dear dear daughter, my child in whom I take pleasure! Every time I mention her name my heart bursts forth with longing for her! Everything in me cries out for her. Soft and tenderly I wait for her."
Does is sound like your identity in God is a bad girl? No. Remember how you asked Jesus into your heart to clean out all of that yucky sin? Yes! He did it already. Forever it is cleaned out and when God looks at you he sees Jesus in your place, perfect and clean. So yes, we mess up sometimes. Mommy messes up TONS! Remember when I raised my voice at Wheeler the other day? That was so unkind of mommy and not how God calls us to treat each other. Remember how I told Wheeler I was sorry and he forgave me? We will mess up every day. Mommy too. But that is not WHO I AM. Because God took that old yucky stuff away. I am a new person in Jesus! So my identity is no longer a bad girl. I am a girl who God bought at a high price because he thinks I am worth it! Just like he thinks of you!
So we need to think about those words you said... Is it  TRUE that you are a bad girl? No.  And mean old satan is going to tell you lots of lies about yourself that he wants you to believe because he doesn't want you to remember how much God loves you.  So he will whisper to you that you are bad and not to like yourself. But we need to always remember who we are, and whose we are. You are God's child, you are clean and spotless because of Jesus in your place. And God made you so much like himself, we love ourselves because we know who made us and who we were made to look like! Lets tell mean Satan to stop telling us lies right now, tell him that we listen to Jesus and we know what Jesus says about us! (She had also written those two sentences on a piece of paper). Are the words on this paper true? No? OK then tear it up! Because that is lies on that paper! Yuck! You know what else? I love you even when you act unkindly! I will always forgive you too, just like Jesus! So you don't ever have to worry about Mommy not loving you because you have trouble making good choices with your behavior.  You can't ever lose love from God, me or daddy, because remember what we say about our family? Families love forever! That will be something we will have to remind brother and sister too, because they might think lies about themselves too! But our family will always love each other, just like God adopts us into his big family and loves us forever! <<

This response will change and evolve, it will hopefully get better, it will adapt to new lies Satan tells her and new struggles she deals with. But I pray we can tuck scripture away in her heart when she hears lies, so she can train her heart and mind to replace lies with truth. To remind herself what God says about her. Here are a few other verses we use in similar situations if you are in a similar place with your child or discipline...

For who they are in Christ- no longer a "sinner" but redeemed.
Jer 31:20 and Psalm 139 mentioned above
2 Cor 5:17- therefore if anyone is in Christ, you are a new creation. The old has gone and the new is here!
Phil 1:6- And I am sure of this, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.
Col 1:13-14- For he has rescued us from darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the son he loves, in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins.
Rom 8:1 Therefore there is not no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 5:7 He cares for you.

For fear
1 John 4:18- There is no fear in love, perfect love casts out fear.
2 Tim 1:7- For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.
Deut 31:6 (this is Wheeler's verse I tell him a LOT)- Be strong, take courage. Don't be intimidated. Don't give them a second thought, because God, YOUR God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you.

For Kindness:
Prov 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath.
Eph 4:32- Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as Christ forgave you.
Prov 17:17 a friend loves at all times.
1 Thess 5:11- therefore encourage one another and build each other up.
Gal 5:22-23 The fruit of the spirit is Love, joy peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control.
Col 3:12- Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

*Note, the scripture cards we use in discipline and for memory, they are an awesome tool for family scripture memory! See this awesome site here to order: Lil Light O mine

I hope that helps you! Please also comment with any suggestions or thoughts you have on this topic! I have a LOT to learn how to shepherd these sweet children! I know this is the first of many tough ones!

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  1. "But we need to always remember who we are, and whose we are"

    So true, and so tender! I hope to shed the same love and wisdom into my children. God not only forgives us, He LOVES us. We forget that all too often. Blessings on your journey!! <3

  2. love it kylie. thank you for sharing such specifics. gives me some new ways to say it with my first born achiever. i've been hearing some similar phrases from her that are breaking my heart. ashley reminded me of the same thing - just keep reminding them of WHAT IS TRUE! how God sees them and how we see them. we can say 'yes, that was a bad choice to..." but you are good ella and x and x... We also ask ours if certain things are "pleasing to God?" Go back to scripture - nope! hitting your sister isn't pleasing to God...He wants mommy and daddy and you and Larson to love and encourage and be gentle etc using all of the scripture you mentioned. i also like how you suggested sharing when we are "bad". D - do everything without complaining or arguing. i asked ella if mommy always cleaned the house without complaining... :) NO!!!!

  3. the world as if she'd just returned from a refreshing nap. Meanwhile, I lolled in my chair, exhausted and slightly sweaty from watching all of the drama unfold.
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