Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Training Toddlers to be Teens

On Friday, I blogged my heart.  Why is Mothering so Hard?

On Saturday, I read a blog from a wonderful mom of four young kids who had one of THOSE days.  You know those days, when little fingers get into so many things, you don't have time to recover from one episode, before another drama unfolds before your eyes?  Those days when you wonder how someone not able to even speak in sentences can render you into the same condition.  Yea, one of those days.

Her blog made me miss little kids so much, it took me a few minutes to remember the overwhelmed feeling that often accompanied those little blessings.

I still have those days, but not with those kind of trials.
My kids now read books, not just throw them off the shelves or eat them.

My children no longer unwind a whole roll of toilet paper just for fun.  Not saying they've mastered hanging a roll of toilet paper, but I haven't seen this scene for years.

The kids are driving larger, more expensive vehicles we have to insure and fill with gas.  Road rage is absolutely NOT tolerated.

I miss little kids.  Having a "baby" who's 8 going on 24 is not the same as being the mom of a baby or a toddler. I love my kids at every stage, but I miss those early years.

I miss little problems.  I miss the simplicity of wiping up spills and putting away a bajillion Legos for the kajillionth time.  At the time these problems seemed so hard, and they were, but now seem so simple compared to the situations we face now.

As I look back on those early years, there is more than just love of little ones tearing at my heart.  There's regret.  I didn't completely understand what I was doing.

I loved what I was doing.  I planned to be a mom.  I prayed faithfully.  I studied the Bible.  I asked older women questions.  I was in my element, serving in the career I had chosen - MOTHERHOOD.

But, somehow, I missed out on some important aspects of parenting.  I didn't understand the small problems, like spilled milk,  were preparing me for larger problems.

I also didn't understand I needed to handle my children's small problems in a way that would build trust and confidence so they'd come to me with their bigger problems. Over reacting and ungodly anger can prove inability to handle their problems.  If you're faithful in little issues, you'll be prove faithful in larger issues.
Do you want your teenager to come to you and confess the true details of how they dented your car? Be patient and gracious now when they tell you how they broke your glass or your vase.  Yes, they still might be reprimanded  for playing ball in the house, but they have to know you value their right standing with the Lord and their safety more than your possessions.

Do you want your teenager to come to you and discuss all friendship/relationship problems? Begin now training their relationship skills and your listening skills in dealing with their sibling confrontations.  Hear both sides.  Teach them to confess and ask for forgiveness.  Let them know that nothing they tell you will freak you out.  Allow them to entrust their relationship problems to you.

Do you want a teenager to admit to their weaknesses?  Don't deride and rail on them for their weaknesses as children.  Have a bed wetter or one hard to poddy train?  Be patient.  Be encouraging.  Be supportive.  Even when you have washed the bedding for the third night in a row, bite your tongue. Do you have a child prone to stealing?  Lying?  The goodness of God leads to repentance, deal with them with firmness and a determination to find the truth, but in a spirit of grace and not offended anger. But, let them trust you with their weaknesses.

Picture how you want your children to act as teenagers and young adults.  Then trace backwards to the stage they're at now.  Pray for wisdom, and ask the Lord to show you how to root out sin in their life, teach them to apply the Word of God to their weaknesses and help them grow into that godly young adult you envisioned.

I Thessalonians 5:14
"Now we exhort you, brethren,
warn those who are unruly,
comfort the fainthearted,
uphold the weak,
be patient with all."

Motherhood, despite having those days, is still the best job I've ever loved.


  1. Oh Mindy, thank you for the encouragement this morning. This brought tears to my eyes, mostly seeing how you miss these days so much and me trying hard to enjoy these days, especially when I am having one of 'those' days.

    Rocking my little one last evening, just soaking him up and enjoying my three year old.. we were discussing eagles and deers and the river outside.. he says, Mom will you lose me forever if I go by the river? Yes, Eddy, I will. But Mom! You can just buy another Eddy at the Store.

    On the other hand, my 11 year old is changing so quickly and her emotions are all over some days.

    Thanks for your wisdom!

  2. Thank you for these reminders!!! We hit the lying stage with Brooke and it is easy to snap but when I am gracious and kind she is more likely to tell the truth. Not all the time tho ao I get frustrated.

  3. Thank you for the encouragement..which to me was a gentle admonishment. I have been letting the frustrations of little ones REALLY get to me lately.

  4. Thank you for this today. I am a mom to an nine year old and 2 year old. I feel like pulling my hair out most days but when it is put into perspective in this way it sure makes me smile more. Thank you!!

  5. What a great post. Great encouragement to keep on raising my boys. I do miss having a little one though, and now looking back how much I don't remember or did not cherish at that age. But it is never to late to start!

  6. I've mastered "trust them with your weaknesses" but I've got a long way to go on the rest.

    I'm so glad I inspired you to write this. I'm going to bookmark it and share it with my husband and all my friends.

    Thanks for this perspective!

  7. Mindy

    I wish every young mother with little children could read this and stick it on their fridge. Wisdom in those words.

  8. This was very encouraging to me! thank you!

  9. God used this as a kick in the pants. I lost my patience today when my two-year-old put two holes in the sheetrock w/ the back of my recliner. I'd asked her twice to stop banging...
    The wall is fixed, but words spoken in anger aren't so easily repaired.
    May He grant me patience and love to see the big issues. Thanks for being His voice today, Mindy.

  10. You've done it again and written a blog that speaks to so many of us :)I am also a young Mom who struggles with these things. I am thankful that I am not alone in this parenting trek and that my struggles can go before the Lord Jesus.
    Thank you for another blog full of wisdom.

  11. Very good thoughts. I, too, remember the overwhelming days that I thought would never end and the struggles that seemed so momentous at the time. I'm trying to apply the life lessons to the second batch, but it doesn't always happen. Thanks for the encouragement.

  12. This is a great post! It is important to remember the long term consequences of anger with children...and how children can adopt like responses from their parents. This is a lesson too frequently missed! Thank you for the reminder!


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