Raising a Child Who Is Just Like Me
Have you been there? Your child has done something that is unacceptable, whether it is disobedience, pouting, unwillingness to share, or just about any other thing that grates against your being. There are just some things that are objectionable, and you are going to make sure you address those things with your child.
But as you begin to discuss this “no-no” of a behavior, sharing with your sweet child the reasons why it should be adjusted, a faint uneasiness rises up along the back of your neck. You continue to talk, but find that there is something weirdly familiar in what you are saying…
Yes…you suddenly realize that this very issue you are having with your child is due to a personality trait or character issue that you deal with, too.
You have one: a child who is just like you.
We often think that it would be easy to live with someone just like ourselves. After all, if we like a clean, orderly house, then someone else like that will keep the house picked up, too, right?
If only everyone was just like me…
Well, I’m here to pop that bubble of wishful thinking by suggesting that it is those very people who are just like us who are the most difficult to live with. And it is very likely that you have a little person living with you right now who is a little mirror of your personality, showing you all your blemishes and quirks.
Not that this is a bad thing; in fact, it is good for us. It just isn’t the easy road.
You see, it is those children who cause the most head-butting confrontations. If you have a strong personality, then living with another strong personality can create issues. And it is quite easy for us as parents to use our position of authority to squelch that very identical trait in our children because it bothers us.
I have one of these children. This child has my personality. In some ways it is lots of fun, because we have the same sense of humor and the same way of learning and understanding information. But in other ways, it is quite the challenge. You see, I am not perfect.
There. I said it.
And I am realizing this more and more as my child with a similar personality models for me how I react to situations, how I tend to jump to conclusions, how I like to believe I’m always right…
Well, now I’ve done it. I’ve just opened up to the inter-web-world about my shortcomings. Yet, I am happy to do this. You see, my child has shown me these issues I have, and after first struggling to accept the fact that I’m not perfect (which has been a hard road), I am beginning to see how this situation is one where the Lord can better refine me.
I can now happily agree with Jacob when I say that this is the child God has graciously given me....truly a blessing in so many ways, including showing me my selfishness.
I am grateful for this. Though I still realize that this child may be the one who could be the most difficult to raise…the one who tends to push my buttons...I am learning to respond more graciously. I am learning to have to ask forgiveness for things that I would not have seen as clearly. I am learning to discipline from God’s vantage point, wanting this child to grow in wisdom, rather than disciplining from my vantage point, just wanting peace.
So if you are blessed with a little “mini-me” in your home, rejoice in it. God has lovingly given you an opportunity to grow in maturity as you parent this little one. You will reap the blessings by looking for the strengths in this personality and aiding him or her (and yourself) in identifying the potential negatives that may come with the package.
I realize now that I am not always right. I realize now that my child is not always right. And we both are identifying that we need to continually, prayerfully ask the Lord to show us how to respond to each other with love.
More importantly, I need to remember that I am the parent. I am supposed to be the one to model godly living to my child. I won’t always do this perfectly, but knowing this will keep me on my knees. I can approach my child with better understanding and love as we both come to the Lord for His forgiveness and blessing.
And that means we will be drawn closer together, too. What a privilege!
Think about that as you go about your week, and have an extraordinary day!