Can I tell you the MOST challenging part of parenting my Out of the Box Child(ren)? it isn’t determining the root cause for each diagnosis, whether or not to use medication in our toolbox, or how diet and environment factor into the ever-changing behaviors of my children.
It’s knowing how and when to impart consequence and when to lavish on Grace.
Much of the struggle with #1 Girl is Impulsivity. I have to say that the impulsivity often leads to sinful choices – and balancing my response as a parent with Grace – while NOT avoiding the sinful aspect – is really my biggest parenting challenge.
It is both heart-wrenching and frustrating.
There are the critics who espouse MORE discipline. There are critics who denounce medication, which really only restrains ADHD to a dull roar, but allows her to function well at school. I am required to spend extra time reviewing homework and school work and answering phone calls & texts about her work (or lack thereof), AND am supposed to have extra energy for the daily attitude and shifts in energy and focus and effort – AND be gracious and loving and nurturing, while still maintaining a home environment that displays Jesus Christ. And teach her responsibility and consequences. And pour out grace and love.
How? How do I do that? So many days, I am At. A. Loss. I just don’t know. It isn’t about loving my child. It isn’t about wanting what’s best for her.
It’s resigning myself to whatever it is that GOD has for her.
And sometimes it means I lay down on the altar for sacrifice. And sometimes, I just don’t want to. I want to be able to go into our bathroom, play some soft music, run a hot bubble bath, sip a large glass of iced raspberry tea and read an epic novel without interruption or fear of what might happen if I relax for even two seconds.
The same child who sweetly prepared a breakfast of waffles with chocolate chips & strawberries and a cup of coffee to surprise me – is the same child who finished off the rest of the bag of chocolate chips later that same night in secret. If I had bet money it was going to happen, I would be rich. As soon as I saw my breakfast plate, I knew what was coming and hated myself for being discouraged about the likely outcome instead of enjoying the sweet moment…
Parenting an Out-of-the-Box Child has broken me in so many ways.
And that is why I am writing this. Not because I have figured out HOW to navigate this parenting road. But because it’s part of who I am and where God has put me, and I need to be real about it as I seek His Grace daily. Or hourly. Or minutely. You know what I mean.
Maybe someone reading can relate to this. Maybe someone reading can share their lessons learned through this. Maybe you feel like you can’t take another minute of this and needs someone to walk the path with them. No one child or parent is like another – but our journeys may take us down the same road and we can encourage one another and lift each other up.
Because as often as I seek to live out grace to my children, I am bathed in Grace by my Father. Some days, I wish I could just put her out in front of me into His fountain of grace and let it pour over her. I don’t always cooperate and am not always fit for His use as an instrument of Grace.
What I am learning the most in all of this, is that I am DESPERATE for His Grace more than for anything else. And if I can let Him use me, it’s what I hope she learns from my life – that SHE needs His Grace every day too!