Kids: "The Resistance Movement"

That may sound like an extreme statement, but here's a true-life story that illustrates the point. 

Nine-year old Lawson is playing with his dog in the grassy area beyond his backyard. Mom yells from the back door, "Lawson, it's time to come in."

Blog. boy looking up at tree. 2.09No response.

"Lawson! Time to come in!"

No response.

Mom yells again. And again.

Still no response. By now Mom feels her temperature rising, especially since she can see that her son is not far away and staring intently up at a tree.

"Lawson James! You get yourself in here right now, young man!"

Lawson takes his time coming in, a slight smile at the corners of his mouth. 

His mother stands waiting, with hands on her hips. "You'd better have a good excuse, young man! Now you tell me why you didn't come when I called you!"

"Well ... I didn't hear you the first four times you called."

Resistance comes in different packages

Some kids plant their feet and holler, "No!" as if daring you to do anything about it. That kind of open defiance is easy to spot.

Others are more subtle, like the child who appears smiling and compliant, but habitually "forgets." If this behavior is chronic don't immediately assume it's deliberate. For some, there's an underlying problem such as ADD or ADHD, which makes consulting a licensed professional a worthwhile idea.

Some children quickly agree with you, often with a smile or laugh, but then don't do what they said they would do. Note: Both "forgetters" and "agrees, but doesn't do its" offer passive resistance. That's not as in-your-face as defiance, but these pint-sized human relations experts know parents find that easier to take.  

The "Lawsons" of this world know exactly how far they can push Mom or Dad. They usually obey. Eventually. They'll give in when they are ready, that is, just before you blow your top. If this sounds like a battle of wills, that's exactly what it is. 

Consider such tactics the child's way of exercising the limited power at their disposal. 

Are these kids evil? No. They're human. That is, not perfect, like every other human being.

Nobody said parenting would be easy

Still, few of us realize ahead of time how long it can take to teach important lessons. We get tired and lose heart.

We may ask ourselves, why bother to keep trying? The answer is easy. It's because all the studies show that youngsters who learn to obey and to respect authority have an easier time in school and also navigating through adolescence.

No one formula exists, but here some general pointers:

    Principle one: Figure out what really matters in your family and talk about it.

    Principle two: Pick your battles carefully.

    Principle three: Don't say it unless you mean it. But if you say it, make it stick.

    Principle four: Be consistent. Whatever your rules were yesterday, stick with them today.  Otherwise, you start over tomorrow. Besides, children feel more secure when they don't have to wonder whether you mean it ... this time. 

    Principle five: Learn to laugh.

All the while you're teaching and modeling, without a word

Any time you lose your temper or raise your voice, you hand over some of your authority as the parent. (Yes, I know how daunting and hard that is. I should, because I slipped up many times.)

As I got better at staying focused I realized being consistent actually saved time--as well as my sanity. Otherwise, any kid with even minimal levels of spunk will keep testing you just to see if you still mean it.

This tiresome maneuver can go on a very long time, especially with those children we label "strong-willed." If Dad and Mom stick to the limits they laid down, eventually even these guerilla fighters get bored and stop trying. 

Parenting is a long-term course in personal growth

Being in authority may make you uncomfortable, but remember, God gave you these children. He knows your stress levels and he equips you for the task He gives you. 

As our children grow and we face new challenges, we parents continue to grow stronger from within. Stronger in character, with a clearer fix on what we as individuals stand for. Most of the time we also pick up all kinds of useful personal skills.

When you feel overwhelmed, remember Paul's truth and take it to heart:

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

That includes living with a Resistance Fighter who happens to be your child.

Take it from one who survived,

Lenore


July 30, 2021

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