|Pout, a photo by *clairity* on Flickr.|
He stands, little arms crossed, lower lip jutting out in a pout. Mommy has just spoken, “It’s time for you to go to bed, Honey.” In a low tone, my two-year-old speaks through gritted teeth. “I don’t want to go to bed!” I sigh inwardly and glance toward my husband. This is all too familiar. He hides a grin. It is a little humorous seeing a child so tiny, so determined, but I know proper training is needed. “You have to go to bed,” I state firmly, getting ready to lead him to the bedroom. He gives his crossed arms a little shake as if to position them better, then says just as firmly, “I stand here all day!” The battle is officially on!
Over my parenting years, I’ve heard the terms “strong-willed” and “spirited” bandied about as if we must find a label for this behavior. Some parents have a strong-willed child and wish they weren’t so determined to get their way. Others are a bit smug when all of their children are naturally compliant. The truth is, I think all children have at least one time in their lives when they are willing to fight you rather than comply to your directive.
In recent years, I’ve thought that perhaps this determination—call it what you like—is not such a bad thing. I’ve seen the heartache of children, teens and even adults who were easily persuaded and compliant to the wrong influences. I think I would rather battle a bit now with my two-year-old and gently but firmly bend his will to mine than to see the fruit of one who has never learned to say, “No! I don’t want to!”
My fervent prayer is that when a friend offers him drugs or when his immature hormones rage, he will say, “No!” When he is pressed by temptation and the influence of the wrong crowd, I hope to see him cross his growing arms and say, “I stand here all day!”
Jennifer Self is a disciple of Jesus Christ who loves following His plan for her life as a wife to the most wonderful man in the world and mama to four little blessings. Her days are filled with spending time with her man, homeschooling, preparing reasonably healthy meals and keeping the dust bunnies and the clutter monster at bay with a little blogging mixed in. After her family has been taken care of, she dabbles in her other passions of reading, health and music. She blogs about her life, her Heavenly Father, marriage, parenting and home at www.joyeverafter.blogspot.com.