Last week I had the privilege of speaking to my MOPS group on Survival Tips for Raising a Strong-willed Child. I’m not any sort of formally-trained expert, just a mom undergoing on-the-job training as I raise a strong-willed daughter and her three-year-old brother. I don’t always get it right, but God has shown me a whole lot through the process.
I’d like to share an excerpt from a devotion I wrote for my church called “Strong-Will, Strong God.”
There have been numerous times over the past five years where I have felt completely weak and incapable of being her mother. I’ve asked God how He picked me, calm and passive, to raise this fierce little girl. I know her strong spirit will serve her well in the future; it’s just hard to know how to parent her at times.
But I know God doesn’t make mistakes. Over time, I’ve realized that perhaps God chose me to be her mother because my weakness is a perfect match to His strength. In my moments of uncertainty on this motherhood journey, I have no other option but to rely on Him. And when I do, His grace and power flow in me and through me. I don’t have to know all of the answers or feel discouraged when I mess up, because His grace is sufficient.
Lord, thank You that you can use us, no matter how incapable, unqualified or weak we feel. We are so grateful that Your power is made perfect in our weakness.
Here are the survival tips and verses that I shared in my message last week:
· Seek God’s Direction
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
– James 1:5 NIV
· Realize that It’s Hard Work, But It Can Pay Huge Dividends!
“Without oxen a stable stays clean,
But you need a strong ox for a large harvest.”
– Proverbs 14:4 NLT
“Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.”
– Proverbs 14:4 NIV
· We Must Shape the Will, but not Break the Spirit
· Expect First-Time Obedience
· Know their love language: We all have a primary language/way that we best feel loved: Communicate love in the way that your child can understand it.
· Parenting Can Bring Out the Worst In You, So Plan Ahead for When the Monster Comes Out
· When Possible, Step Away From the Situation
· Appropriately Empower Them, Give Them Choices
· Don’t Start Battles You Can’t/Don’t Want to Fight
· Give Them Logical and Immediate Consequences
· Use Positive Reinforcement
· Forgive Yourself and Be Strong In Your Weakness
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Are you raising a strong-willed child? I’d love to hear about any survival tips you might have, leave a comment below.