I often find myself easily frustrated with my 6 year old daughter when she acts up. Her acting up is different from my other kids. She's snappy, whiny, hard to please and she often gives me mean looks.
For a long time, I thought it would be very hard for me to connect with her. She's also my middle child. She's only 18 moths older than my youngest, so when Seth came, Miya became distant with me and I was distant with her unintentionally. I know that there are no excuses, but having a newborn, a 1 1/2 year old and a 5 year old was A LOT. I was not able to give her as much attention. Daddy was her saving grace. She often told me that she only loves daddy. She wouldn't let me put her to sleep and was to be frank, mean to me all the time. I tried hard to be sweet to her but, when she responds rudely to my "kindness" I got angry and frustrated.
Last year, our relationship got better, but I wanted it not to just be better, I wanted it to be good. I prayed everyday for wisdom and patience.
One morning, while having a frustrating moment with her again, God reminded me of a teaching I heard by Darlene Cunningham. She said, " Be a good observants of your kids." I thought about this phrase over and over and over again while staring at Miya.
I haven't been a good observer. All I have been doing was reacting to her actions rather than listening or observing to why she was acting a certain way. To be honest, I was like this with my other kid as well. I wanted to fix situations right away by screaming, threats, bribes, etc. The result of this was more frustration. They are frustrated with me because I'm not understanding what they need and I'm frustrated because I'm done dealing with the same parenting problems over and over again.
I sat there, and I asked the Lord to help me, to help me understand and be a good observer of my kids rather than just reacting immediately. I tried doing this for a couple of days and I saw Miya differently. I saw her pain. I saw her jealousy. I saw her fear. I saw her need for affirmation and affection even when she pretends not to want it. I saw her beauty. I saw her humor. I saw her compassionate heart. I saw her leadership skills and bravery.
By being an observer rather than a reactor, I was able to respond to her need when she'd act up. I understood that she needed me but, she wouldn't say it by telling me that she needs a hug like her brothers do. She wants a hug but she wants me to ask her at least 3 times before she would actually come. It's like she wants to know if I really do want to give her a hug by not giving up on asking. She wants to be pursued.
I also observed that she does better and has better days when she gets alone time with me. It doesn't even take an hour. She's happy even if it's just 5 minutes of me playing intentionally with her. Intentionally meaning, playing the games she actually loves like playing the nurse game where she's a nurse and I'm the patient. Oh the smile and excitement I get when I come to her and tell her, "Miya, I feel sick". She would immediately run to get water, put on her nurse/doctor outfit on, and get her kit. It only takes 5 -10 minutes and her day is already full. She already knows that I love her just as much.
This year, my Miya and I are finally doing good. We're finally able to connect. I am so thankful to God for reminding me everyday to be a good observer of my kids and to listen to them well. I am so thankful to God for always teaching me how to be a better mom. It's hard for sure, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Be a good observer of your kids today and allow the Holy Spirit to show you who your kids are on the inside. It's amazing! Sometimes, it takes a while to actually understand their needs. Most of the time, kids are not able to express how they really feel so they act a certain way. Parenting is like decoding the mysteries of another language. With God's help and a lot patience it's possible. I realized that the more I pray and the more I observe the easier it becomes.
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