Saturday, June 8, 2013

glory to God and peace on earth and other things that are truth.

a friend of ours asked us, "what are you doing differently that works?" we mumbled out something like, "we're just being more strict" or "we're turning into hard-A's." meanwhile ossi ran amuck and caused contention in the background.

it is humbling to be his parents because we're wrong a lot. and it's embarrassing. he's outside of our control, usually. that week we were trying to be more strict, but that doesn't work either.

honestly when people ask us that i mumble out whatever comes to my mind first- whatever matt and i were talking about on the last car-ride we took. i really have a very incoherent and unorganized view of what's going on in our parenting. some days everything clicks and other days i feel like i'm on fire... like literally living in a flaming inferno.
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so what is the real answer to that question?

well, on good days we started with a family prayer. we will have gone to bed early the previous night so that we are rested and patient. on good days we teach from the scriptures, especially drawing from Christ's example. and if we do these things, ossi's heart is usually soft. it's a gift from God.

yes, we are more firm. we flat-out refuse to give in to abusive and manipulative behaviors. ossi has lost almost every toy he owns because we flat out say, "there is no excuse for abuse, the consequence it that you lose {such and such belonging}." usually we take things when he is irrationally defiant or uses name-calling or violent threats. also ossi has done more chores in the last month than he's done in his whole lifetime up to this point. "i'm sorry you were frustrated. you should have used better problem-solving skills to deal with your frustration. there is no excuse for abuse, and the consequence for hurting others is that you do a big chore." the manipulative and abusive behaviors don't get him what he wants and they bring him undesired consequences, so he's learning new problem-solving skills.

but he really won't try to be better unless his heart is soft.
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it was a rude awakening to say to our friends, "we're strict and it works" and have him promptly disrespect and disobey matt, then throw a tantrum and run away. because the hard truth is that ossi still has the ability to choose for himself. and sometimes he chooses poorly. if i could figure out how to not be embarrassed when he chooses poorly... to not feel like it's my failing. what if all parents could feel more comfortable with the humanness of their children...

the other what if... what if i were to answer those parenting questions candidly...

"i don't have any idea, we just try to follow the commandments and the promptings we feel from Heavenly Father and He helps us all continue to grow."

i'm going to try to remember to say that. it's hard not to want to take the credit for ossi's success, but the glory always really belongs to God.
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