Our family camping trip this year.

Forgiving your Kids

These last couple of weeks have been dicey. My family and I are transitioning to a new house, so it has taken some time to form a new routine and structure amongst the busyness and adjustment. No wonder God reminded me to pray for patience this morning.

The other day we were walking out of Family Dollar when my oldest decided he was in “need” of a gumball. “No” was not an acceptable answer so he decided to park it right there, and not move. Oh joy! As I “guided” my strong willed toddler to the car he persisted on not getting in, or getting buckled up. As I struggled to accomplish this task while juggling my infant and other toddler, frustration continued to mount and he started hitting me. “Really?” I think to myself, is this really happening, all because of the denial of a gumball? I’ve heard of child abuse… How come no one ever talks about “parent abuse?” Every child is so uniquely different.

Thankfully, these super big blowups are no longer a daily occurrence. However, when they happen, flashbacks of his younger years become all too fresh in my mind. We’ve definitely had our struggles, making known to “chief” (as we used to fondly call him) that this is not acceptable behavior.

I left the store feeling defeated, inadequate, and helpless, but after taking a second to breath God reminded me to “Keep no record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:5). Pondering that for a moment… I thought to myself, “I do that, it is my kid, I always wake up with a fresh slate, don’t I?” Yet, would I have felt as defeated if it was a first offense? Would I have been as frustrated?”

“Though our sins are like scarlet they should be white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18) Forgiven, the fresh slate of a loving God. It is so comforting. Shouldn’t we also want to offer the same grace to our kids?

I step back as I see the pain in my four year old’s eyes. How does a four year old feel so much pain? I just want to hug him till the pain goes away. I tell him I love him, but that behavior makes me so sad. I remind him that there are consequences for his inappropriate behavior, with the hopes of not revisiting this outburst. He quickly moves on to the next order of business, but my heart still has trouble grappling with the episode that just ensued. The understanding that I am a parent that needs to brush myself off and move on, yet I feel hurt. I feel hurt that my son would be so angry at me for requiring obedience over a menial task.

How do we move on when memories like to reopen old wounds? …Pray, pray, and pray some more. For healing of those wounds, forgiveness, and strength. We are not perfect, why are we surprised when our kids aren’t either? We are all working projects. Being crafted one piece at a time. Shaped, molded and designed. Parenting is a journey. Learning forgiveness. Learning sacrifice. Learning love.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23