Prayerful Parenting

Here is the flower on my deck that I appreciated during my prayer time this morning.

Here is the flower on my deck that I appreciated during my prayer time this morning.

My Sabbath prayer time this morning was spent sitting on my back deck in the glorious sunshine. I did a little sketching and a little journaling. Talking with God about some difficult parenting stuff.

Most of the struggles right now are with our 16-year-old son who has been diagnosed with ADD and Aspergers. I won’t go into details, you’ll just have to trust me when I say that things are challenging.

I told God all the ways I want my son to change. The things I want my son to start doing and to stop doing. God told me that I cannot make my son change. I can pray for the Holy Spirit to transform him.

I told God that I don’t like the way I feel about my son sometimes. I don’t feel that warm, gushy, “mom” feeling that yesterday’s festivities (Mothers’ Day) were all about. God told me that I cannot control how I feel. I can, however, choose to act in more kind and loving ways.

So I made a list of four simple rules that I will try to follow with my son. At the risk of seeming like a terrible mother (I’m afraid you all will think, “What kind of a mom needs a rule to help her do that?“), I am going to share them here as a means of accountability for myself. And just maybe as a help for other parents struggling with similar challenges:

1. Speak kind words first. (“How was your day?” comes before, “I see you forgot to turn in your math homework again.”)

2. Say “yes” if reasonable. (“Can I have crackers for snack?” Yes. “Can I have four cupcakes for snack?” Still a “no.”)

3. Stay calm and quiet. (a.k.a. Use my inside voice.)

4. Stop arguing. (It takes two people to argue. I know this. I tell my children this all the time.)

IMG_2507

It seems like a reasonable list. Wish me luck. Actually, prayers would be better. And God’s guidance to you this week in all the ways you are called to serve and love in this world.

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7 thoughts on “Prayerful Parenting

  1. thank you, I am really struggling with my twelve year old son right now and meds, lack of appetite, teenage angst, adhd, etc. and I love him so much my heart could split in two, but often I dread picking him up in the afternoons because I am dizzy from the merry-go-round. Thank you for your rules, I will pray for both of us.

  2. Oh, dear, oh dear. I feel your pain. We have struggled so with our 17 year old who has your son’s issues. Yes, there have been many, many times when I wished, oh I wished, that I had never had children. You are not a bad mother for thinking that.
    And yes, you need rules too. All of us do. If I could add one to your list, it would be this:
    Praise. Praise yourself. Praise your husband. Praise your son. Get an index card and every time you lower your voice or he puts the toilet seat back down or tells you thank you for dinner, put a star on it. See if you can fill the card up with good things every day.
    And at 3 AM, when you wake up and start the worry about how on earth this child will manage on his own, (don’t worry, we ALL do this, too), give God praise that James is yours and count it as a blessing, even when it feels like the worst thing in the world. I memorized Isaiah 43:1-2 for those times, “But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
    “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
    2 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
    and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
    When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.”
    I find it so very comforting that God knows my name. And that WHEN (not if, drat it) the waters and fire come, He will be with me. And He is with you and James and your husband and all who walk this hard path.
    Grace and Peace to you.
    Sylvia

  3. Joanna, your post is a gentle reminder for all of us who struggle with parenting. I certainly have my moments. I am going to remember your rules! And I’ll also be keeping you in my prayers.

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