A parenting strategy - avoid the child who is causing you the most aggravation. How’s that sound coming from a former Young Mother of the Year? Let me explain…
Kyler has been making progress these last five weeks, and one way I believe I can support that progress is to drive him to school each morning. I tried driving him to school at the beginning of the year, but he wouldn’t have it. He wouldn’t get out of bed, was defiant and ornery – so after a few days of that, he was back on the bus. Neither of us needed to begin our day that way.
But after the Christmas break, in which the door to healing seemed to open, I decided to try again. I asked Kevin to ask Kyler if he wanted to take the bus or have me drive him. He said he wanted me to drive him. I thought if he made the decision to be driven maybe it would go better. It didn’t. He didn’t get up in the morning and had a rebellious spirit when Kevin did get him up. But I had a plan – I stayed in my room – cozy in my bed – until it was time to leave.
At 7:06, I got out of bed, put my slippers on, grabbed a cup of coffee, my keys and at 7:08 said, “Let’s go.” About half way to school, I turned off the radio and prayed for him – out loud. A heartfelt, prayer to my Father to use His Holy Spirit to protect and guide my boy through-out the day, against every temptation to think and do wrong. By the power of the Holy Spirit to walk in submission, truth and freedom. To remember he is loved, forgiven and strong by the name of Jesus.
That night I asked Kevin to ask Kyler again if he wanted me to drive him – Kevin was surprised as he figured Kyler was back on the bus since he didn’t get up that morning. But I explained to Kevin that I had determined in my mind to drive him every day for a week, no matter what he did.
My strategy was to completely avoid Kyler each and every morning until it was time to walk out the door so that I would not become overwhelmed with frustration towards him. So that evening Kevin tucked Kyler in and asked if he wanted to be driven again or take the bus. He said Kyler was very surprised by the question, but said he wanted to be driven.
Day 2: I’m sure you’re thinking he got up. He didn’t. When Kevin did get him up he was ornery and rebellious in his spirit again. But the strategy was in place; avoid all interaction until 7:06. Coffee, keys, “Let’s go” drive, pray, drop off. Check.
Day 3: He got up – 10 minutes late, but independently.
Day 4: He got up on time.
Day 5: He got up on time.
I am now into my fourth week of avoiding, getting coffee, praying and dropping off. It’s working. The mornings he is ornery and not pleasant, Kevin deals with it and then I enter fresh and ready to go.
I share this because I am guessing I am not the only mother who has a child who challenges her every last nerve. I am certain there are some trigger points during the day for others as well and maybe hearing this might spark an idea for you to try in that situation. Is there a strategy you could try, or is there a source of reinforcement for you?
I thought I was weak because I struggled so much with Kyler’s attitude and actions each morning. But now I feel strong and fortified, and Kyler is beginning his day with a prayer from his mom, who is a warrior, with a cup of coffee.
The strategy to avoid is working, and now…we are coming together.