Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oh the Toddler Years

Honestly I love toddlers; there is so much development that takes place during this season of life. It’s amazing to see these little babies bloom into talkative, inquisitive children.

But oh is it hard. Right now we are smack in the middle of a very important stage of shepherding our son, and he is testing his limits. Last week was rough; I struggled with loving my child when he was driving me nuts. Marvin was working long days so he wasn’t home to help share this burden. It took every ounce of me sometimes to keep up with disciplining him. I was just tired of his outburst of hitting, and tired of him pushing his limits but I knew if I caved the implications would be far worse. All of our hard work would be undone.

Once Marvin was home for a few days Calvin continued to press the limits and it seemed like his behavior worsened, probably because Marvin was sick and couldn’t play with him. I finally lost it at dinner one night when Calvin was throwing food off his high chair and swinging at me again. Marvin looked at me and said we can’t let this happen, we need to discipline him. I burst into tears. I know Marvin meant well, but after the week I had that was the last thing I needed to hear, I felt like I had been failing all week long. I was just thankful Marvin handled it, it was a precious gift that this mama needed.

Before I became a parent I was well read in various discipline techniques and saw how they worked in a classroom setting. (Remember that Master’s in Early Childhood Special Ed that I never really used.) It wasn’t until becoming a parent that my eyes were opened to the importance of not only disciplining but working with God to help shape my child’s heart. I highly recommend the book Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. I was awakened to the idea that discipline is not only so that my child would learn to obey and behave it’s about the heart. Because isn’t that where it all starts, a sinful heart. Lately I’ve been praying for wisdom for knowing how to help mold that disobedient heart? I’ve only gotten one answer; it’s not without Christ as my guide. I want Calvin to be a little boy who respects others, obeys authority but ultimately I want his heart to reflect God.

So there you have it, that’s what we’ve been up to. By the grace of God we’ll get through this stage and we all will have been molded and stretched in the process. May our family glorify the Most High even during tantrums.


Carrie said...

Erica- This was SUCH a blessing for me to read! It is SO hard isn't it? I just started a moms group and we are reading Shepherding a child's heart. I am really excited about it. Way to go for hanging in there while Marvin was gone- that had to be really tough. Those days are so long anyway, and adding a discipline phase to that would just be miserable! You really encouraged me today. I am so blessed to have such wise, godly friends to look up to!

Marie said...

I'll definitely check that book out. It sounds great. Hang in there during these hard times. I'm going through another round of limits testing with Addison too, so I'm in the same boat. I think that God made toddlers extra, extra funny to compensate for the really hard times.