In the past two weeks, I have been very busy. I have been busy with events, with clients, with meetings… So many things have been filling up my calendar. I have not spent the quality time I usually would have with my children. I tell my son that the meeting is just outside and I am home. But I have neglected our homeschool time and have decided to put it on hold.
I would ask him to give me time to write up my proposals and so I tell him, “mommy is busy working, please don’t bother me. I’m just here go ahead and play.” I admit I have let him go with his toys and the IPAD so I can be free from his asking me to play with him. I had so much on my plate to finish and I just felt like I needed to prioritize work.
Then, as the days became a week… I noticed my little boy starting to act different. When he sees me in a meeting, I see him with a serious face and unfriendly body language. But I continue with my meetings. Then when I am free, I would spend a little time with Josh. That little time is also divided between him and his sister. I did not realize that my son’s love tank was starting to deplete.
In the next days, he would throw a fit and I would have to discipline him for his behavior of answering back and being defiant. He would say things like “No!”, “Mom go away!”, ” Don’t touch me..” — I kept asking him… “What is wrong? That isn’t nice to say. Don’t be like that.”
I kept on with my busy schedule. I brought Josh with me to events and I would work and expect him to be okay that we are in the same location. I also brought him with me to meetings that were an hour away drive and meetings would be 2-3 hours and take another hour back. He would go because he wanted us to be together. But it was not quality time…
Later, in that week, he got so upset he gave us meltdowns every day for three days. There was one where he looked straight at me in his upset mode because he did not obey what I said, and he said “Mom, I will destroy you!”. I thought, I have left him so long watching the IPAD he got new words I did not teach, and they were negative words! Then I told him to stop saying that and obey. He instead shouted “No!” – I brought him to the room to discipline him. He kept screaming like a little hulk. I administered discipline and yet he would say “Mommy go away! I won’t obey”. I was really getting stressed. I knew I had to really get this corrected. We had a good 30 minute episode for him to know that I am the authority and that he cannot disrespect me. I was praying and even casting out spirit of anger from my son. I have never seen him like this. Inside I was petrified and crying. What have I done?
Joshua also got discipline from his dad because he also disrespected his dad. He told me I tears, “I don’t like dad, I want to smash him.” I cried too because I no longer knew what to do. Josh was just being so disobedient and disrespectful and he responded in a defiant way. Even in his sleep, Josh would sleep talk and he would say “Mom, go away!”
So I prayed to the Lord…I confessed that I was sooo busy to nurture the heart of my son. I no longer know how to undo his behavior. It was a heavy burden in my heart. I asked God to guide me how to win my little boy again.
God led me to devotional that struck a nerve. God revealed that if I serve Him in events without serving my family, it is a hypocritical act. My family life is the testimony that will speak if I have truly obeyed God. I know very well that my son’s love language is time and touch and I have starved him of both. I needed to improve on my priorities and to include God in all my plans. God is showing me how I have lacked in praying for my children and for every detail of things I am involved with.
Wow! I felt humbled and upset at myself. I asked Jesus for grace and to resolve this issue and I wanted it right away. Joshua on Sunday was still moody, he again started his rude behavior. Instead of reacting, I took him and carried him and walked just the both of us. Every negative word he would say, I just continued to kiss him and tell him “you know Josh I love you.” I keep reminding him of the good things and just kept telling him “I love you, my baby boy”. As we were having our moment together.. I started to see his countenance change. I made a decision that day not to spend too much time on my phone or laptop but to give him full attention and to play with him.
While we played, I asked Joshua if my not spending time with him made him upset. He told me yes and he started telling me what he did.. And that was to fight mommy and cry really hard. Ouch!! I apologized and told him I miss him too. As we continued playing, I started to insert corrections like “Josh you must always obey mom and dad.” And he would say with a smile “Yeah I will obey.” Another moment I told him, “we love our family and we will not hurt one another by pushing, fighting or screaming.” And he would also say smiling “Yes we won’t fight, won’t do that (action his pushing moves), noh?” … I would show him I agree and acknowledge him. By God’s grace we were back to where I left our relationship 2 weeks ago.
The devotion helped me see what I was doing when I was made to answer these 2 questions :
One undesirable trait I see in my child that reminds me of myself is…
One thing I could do to help them and me grow in that area is…
Then I was also moved by these verses:
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”
Proverbs 4:23 NASB
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:9 NASB
I know as a parent I have to watch over the heart of my children with diligence too. Also confessing my sin and repenting from it has healed the strain in my relationship with my little boy. Sometimes we think they are small people, these kids are resilient and they will just swallow what is given them, and they will just grow up fine. Well, I think God taught me a pretty valuable lesson here… If I want to train my child’s heart, I too must be humble enough to admit my mistakes and change.