I realize we are at a pivotal era in parenting and our discipline methods are becoming more and more important, but they certainly aren't getting any easier. You know the old cliche phrase "this is gonna hurt me more than it will hurt you?" Well, it's true and it doesn't always relate to corporal punishment, which is something we avoid at all costs anyway.
Saturday started off normal enough, Zach snuggled, errr, played in our bed for about a half hour before we got up and then we all went downstairs to make "moatmeal." Breakfast passed without a tantrum..yeah we were doing great! I needed to run to Walmart for a few things and Zach wanted to go with me. Usually telling him it's time to get dressed to go anywhere starts a tirade, so I decided to use walmart as a bargaining tool. I told him if he got dressed quick, he could go with me. Amazingly, it worked. He was dressed in warp speed and all we had to do was brush the hair, which takes all of two minutes max to untangle his little curls. With the mention of "fix hair," Zach went into all-out tantrum mode screaming "NO I NOT FIX HAIR NO MORE." He went about the house hitting the walls, yelling at the cats and kicking anything in his path.
So I thought if walmart bargaining worked on the clothes, maybe it would work for the hair. Wrong. I told him he would only go to walmart when he let me brush his hair. He continued screaming and kicking, etc. I thought okay, if I pretend to leave, he will know I'm serious. I walked out the door and the crying did not stop. So I walked back in and told him one last time that he could only go to walmart after his hair was brushed. Screaming continued and I told David I was sorry he had to stay and deal with it, but I had to take a stand. So I told Zach I loved him and I'm sorry he could not calm down enough to go to walmart and then I walked out the door with confidence - on the outside.
As I got into the car and began to drive away, I started crying a little. I hated that I had to leave him there and that he was sad. I wanted to run back in and scoop him up, but I fought the urge and hoped it would show him that I mean what I say.
God must've seen my inner struggle and decided to plant someone in my path at walmart who would understand my plight. When I rounded a corner, there was Alecia Ward. We said our hellos and then she asked the predictable "how are you?" Usually I just say "fine," even when I'm not. But for some reason I just got honest and told her that I'd just had to take a stand with Zach. I explained what happened and she affirmed my decision and like any good, experienced mother would do, told me it had to be done and the sooner he realizes I mean what I say, the better. We didn't linger, we both had things to do, but I walked away feeling confident in my decision and knowing I'd done the right thing. I was thanking God for placing someone there for me who would understand and empathize a bit.
When I got home, Zach was calm, but very red-eyed. David said he'd cried for close to 30 minutes of the 40 I was away. He had to sit on the stairs (our time out spot) for quite awhile because he was being aggressive with David, hitting, kicking, etc. It was so sad, Zach came up to me with tears still in his voice "Mommy, (sniff, sniff, sniff) I wanna go walmart with mommy." I explained to him that I'd had to go without him because he wouldn't let me brush his hair. He just said "yeah." I did scoop him up then and tell him how much I love him, but that we still needed to brush his hair. He reluctantly let me.
It makes me think of the fits I throw when I don't want to do something I know God wants me to do. They may not be manifested in screams, kicks and the like (or maybe they are) but it's the same struggle with our human desire to sin. I'm not talking about "awful" things either, but even gossiping, impatience, gluttony, selfishness and on and on. It's all the same to Him and sometimes he has to take things away from me to prove a point - an opportunity, a friend, etc.
I love the verse "train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it," Proverbs 22:6. I wonder if that applies to more than just people young in age. Perhaps it applies to all of us as God's children and he's constantly training us up. I know He is still training me and sometimes, more often than I'd like to admit, He has to take a stand too.