Updated: Mar 20, 2022
Have you ever been in a power struggle with a child?
They want one more show after you said “This is the last one”.
They demand for chicken nuggets when you said “We will eat what I already cooked for dinner.“
They somehow gain 200lbs as they lay crying on the floor when you say “It’s time to go.”
Clearly I’m in the toddler stage of parenthood but I’m sure there are examples for every phase of upbringing.
Parents, you are not alone. It can be exhausting and mentally draining to train over and over again. But I wanted to give a prayer of grace and gusto for you today, because both are needed.
Grace for kiddos; gusto for parents. Praying you will have discernment and wisdom for which is needed in each situation. Let me explain.
Our kiddos need grace. There are a lot of growing pains in growing. They need love and cuddles and food and patience. Sometimes they are not being rebellious.
Sometimes they are exhausted after days of busy schedules.
Sometimes they are maxed out from extra sugar.
Sometimes they are in legitimate pain from growing teeth and bodies.
In these times, I believe extending grace is the best protocol. I vividly remember a day when Oliver was about 16 months and he was having meltdown after meltdown, and I was equally getting tired of hearing myself say no. Just as I was about to do another consequence I heard the Holy Spirit say “blanket time”. So we laid the blanket on the floor picnic style and ate a big bowl of blueberries and cuddled and looked out the window and it was the reset he needed. His little love tank was empty and he just need to be filled a little extra.
Give an extra long bubble bath and early bedtime.
Choose to give empathy and extra hugs.
Remove them from a room that they are over stimulated from.
Grace is needed. I have hard days, so do kids.
But there are also times when you as the parent simply need some gusto, to remind yourself and your child, that YOU are the parent. You need to put your foot down and set/keep the boundary. No negotiating. No bribing. No “one more time“. A firm boundary is a form of love.
That’s my parenting philosophy these days : I am a parent of grace and gusto. My children know that I love them, but also know that I’m in charge. :) I can assert my authority without a shouting match. I can assert my authority with keeping my word. Giving them choices and age appropriate consequences, and letting them practice The Way. This is not about control over your child. This is about teaching them they can trust you and your word.
The balance in all of this “grace and gusto”, I believe is found in boundaries. Boundaries allow you to be a parent of peace and power. You hold your authority with love and security.
Boundaries look different for each family but may sound like this :
Toy are for playing not throwing. If you throw a toy it will be taken away.
At bedtime we read one book. During the day we can read as many as you’d like, but at bedtime we read one.
Paint, crayons, and stickers belong on paper. If we use it somewhere else we will clean it up together and try again tomorrow.
And so forth and so on…and on…and on.
My encouragement is for you to walk in grace and gusto this week. Hold your position, Parents! You run the ship, not your child. You set the tempo. You give choices and consequences. Blessed are the peace makers, not the peace keepers. Give hugs and love during the tears. Sit with them with peace as they follow through. Be present in love, but don’t fall into the trap of bending boundaries just to prevent a meltdown from your child. I know you are exhausted, but patient endurance produces the harvest.
You are graced for this! Your children need your loving leadership. Be the parent of grace and gusto, God has called you to be. It won’t be overnight. It won’t be perfect. But with His help, you can show your children The Way in His joy.
Cheering You On,