Common Mom Fears (Part One): Do I Have A Favorite Child?
Psalm 127:3 is one of my favorite verses of scripture because it speaks of the value of a child. Children are a gift and a reward according the Lord, and mothers in every culture and time in history agree with full and joyful hearts. Children are a treasure.
Most women feel that being a mother is a wonderful experience that gives them a profound sense of purpose. They often report that parenting has highs and lows, but that they are, in spite of it all, glad to be parents. Almost all women find that being a mom is also a source of anxiety. We care so much about how well we are bringing up our children that anxiety is sure to set in. You don't have to live in fear!
Parenting is overwhelming at times. But let me assure you: since you are reading a blog about parenting you are probably a good mom. Good moms care about being a good mom. They naturally and instinctively put their own needs aside in order to pour that energy into their children. You pour yourself out, and don't take the time required to renew your own strength. You are doing well, your children love you, and it is not easy. I get it.
Because you are a good mom, You probably have some pretty deep fears about your parenting. You know you can manage nutritious food, a safe and loving home, and a good education. But there are fears that keep you awake at night. There are a few things that in the deepest place of your heart you wonder about. Over the next few weeks this blog site will address some of most common of these fears.
The first one we will discuss is the fear that you have favorite child or that there is one you enjoy more than the others. If this is one of your fears, you are not alone. Your secret is safe with me, and this is a safe place to think about this. Stand encouraged today.
Mothers are not supposed to have favorite children. We all know it, we all say it. No matter how many children we have, they each hold an equal place in our hearts. But that doesn't mean that each child is equally easy to deal with or is as easy to understand or can be as easily satisfied as the others. When that happens it can feel as though our patience is being tested to the very limit and that we must be doing "something wrong".
I can almost guarantee, even if I don't know you, that there is nothing that you are doing that is truly wrong. All mothers experience this at some point. In fact, there are times when one child needs to be loved more than the other. The child who is struggling or the child who is in trouble needs more love. Siblings can weather this temporary favoring of the more needy child. I freely admit that when my children were at home I loved most the child who needed it most at the time.
If your issue goes deeper, understand this first and foremost: your children are individuals from the very beginning of their lives and, as such, they have personalities, thinking patterns, and their own way of interpreting the world around them. You will not always know how to communicate your expectations in a way that your children can receive or understand.
Most of the time a moderate shift in how you think about them will go a long way to help you appreciate the more challenging child. Try the following when you find yourself persistently aggravated or irritated by one child more than another:
Consider what else is happening when this child is less cooperative. Are mornings harder? Bedtime? After school? Is a particular child always present such as a friend or sibling or friend of a sibling? In early education speak, this is called the antecedent. It is a factor that contributes to or triggers a response in a child. Watch closely and look for patterns.
Look for and praise what this child is doing right. It is so easy to pile on when you are tired and annoyed. Be aware when something is done right or well and immediately show approval. Don't be afraid to say, "I'm very impressed that you...." and then don't take back the compliment. "I wish you did that more often.." is just a slap in the face that negates anything positive you just said. Praise the child when you can and then stop talking.
Is this a personality clash? Are you more relaxed about being on time but the thought of being late makes your child anxious? Can you adjust to one another or find a compromise?
Does this child have an unmet need that is simple to fix? Perhaps they need some regular private time with you, more outlets for pent up energy, more structure or less structure. Try asking the child, without anger, if something is wrong that you can help with. Then stop talking and wait patiently for an answer. Children are much more capable of expressing themselves than we realize.
These are just a few simple suggestions for an issue that may be more complex. I am aware that in some families there are deep issues that cause divisions. I would be very happy to support you if you need to talk through your specific concern for a child. Parenting your children with strength and grace is a job that you were perfectly created to do. God gave you your children as a gift designed especially for you. If would like to discuss your situation with me, email me at:
email@example.com I will respond.