12 Comments

  1. Meg Melnik

    Hello Aprille and Dad,(I didn’t catch your name) I’ve been following your blogs for the last month now, ever since your, “How to encourage a special needs Mom”. Loved that one!! My daughter is a 14 years old hi-functioning autistic. My husband and I have struggled over the years on the best ways to discipline her, always trying to keep in mind her limitations…What have we tried? spankings–yes…time-outs–yes…sent to her room–yes.. loss of privileges–yes. Sometimes it has worked, sometimes not. And yes, we’ve definitely rec’d our fair share of unsolicited advice, usually by folks who aren’t familiar with special needs kids. This is why I’m not about to offer either of you any advice, what works for my child may not work for yours–and vice versa. The only thing I can say is to pray for your son, pray for God to show you the best way to raise him, pray for your own sanity. It sounds cliché, but really God loves him. I’ll say some prayers too. May God bless all of you and please keep up your blog. 🙂

  2. Cindy

    We are part of a parenting class in our church and just finished an excellent book called Parenting by the Book by Rosemond. It helps to put parenting into perspective; parenting with the end in mind rather than minute by minute. We also looked at Scriptures to see how God parents (because He does parent His children) and came up with an excellent list to use as our goal in parenting. The Scriptures we looked at were Genesis 3, 2 Sam. 12, John 21: 15-25, Deuteronomy 6, Exodus – The Nation of Israel, Proverbs 3:12, 6:23, 19:18, 29:17, Col. 3:20, Heb. 12: 6-11, 1 Cor. 13

  3. Rosalie

    Good post Russ! You and Aprille are doing a great job. Parenting keeps you on your toes, right?! Anyway, it’s always nice to hear a dad’s perspective. My husband met our oldest son when he was almost 6 months and has since missed chunks of time with both our kids. We’re constantly reevaluating how we parent. 🙂

  4. Time outs are more effective for us here, but even that has led to obedience for the sake of getting out and playing again. I feel like I’m just training my son to be obedient out of fear rather than love. His “repentance” only lasts long enough to let him play again.

    Right now I’m at the mindset that we can’t teach repentance, and we can’t teach obedience, we can only model both and pray that our kids would come to know the Lord so that the Holy Spirit can breathe love into them, too. I tell my son that when he disobeys, it shows me that he has sin in his heart, and that we need to pray that Jesus would take that sin and replace it with his love. I try to teach him that he needs to obey me because I love him, not because he should fear me. I try to own up to my mistakes so that when he is an adult, he knows that he needs to humble himself and ask for forgiveness.

    I grew up with several abusive relationships, and I want it to be clear to my son that he should only obey those who love him. “Do you love me? Then follow my commandments.” My son told me the other day that he didn’t love me. (He screamed it at me, actually. He can be pretty emotional.) That’s why I have to alter that a bit and say, “Do I love you? How do you know that I love you? Do you understand that I want what’s best for you? That when you obey me, you show me that you love me, too?”

    He also sometimes screams back, “I DON’T have sin in my heart!” That’s always fun.

    Nothing has taught me more about my own sin and need for grace than having a child. I consider myself pretty patient, but I lose my temper multiple times daily. Prayer helps. Prayer for my child and prayer with my child. We are fighting a battle that is not one of flesh, that cannot be solved by the mere punishment of the flesh. I don’t know where the line is between love and justice and mercy. I do know that my son cannot control his emotions yet, that he needs grace as much as he needs to know that there are consequences. For every punishment I deal out, I try to balance grace and forgiveness with law and consequences.

    It’s an uphill battle, but my child’s soul is my mission field. I am determined to make him a humble, loving, empathetic person, knowing that the only way I can do that is by the grace of God.

    • Caitlin, I feel like you wrote what was in my heart that I couldn’t find the words to say!

      We went through the span of several months where time-outs where very effective, but now to even get him into time out we have to threaten to spank, which seems totally counter-productive to me. We still use it on occasion, but more when he’s just rowdy and needs a calm-down than as a discipline for disobedience.

      I too am in that place of frustration – knowing that at this age, things like grace and repentance are so outside of the realm of his understanding. I hate the thought of simply disciplining to modify his behavior and teaching him to be a “good boy” just for good boy’s sake. I don’t want him to grow up reciting rules and the truth about good/bad behavior without him really understanding that he CANNOT be good on his own accord.

      I am trying to point him to Jesus and have him pray to ask Jesus for help obeying but I’m not quite as good about that as I probably should be – and I wonder how much he understands.

      And where I struggle to is this: at the end of the day, his behavior DOES need adjusted. Understanding grace or not, he needs to know he can’t run out in the parking lot because it’s not safe. We HAVE to wear shoes and coat when we are leaving the house. We HAVE to eat and sleep and all of those things. And every single one of those things is a battleground right now.

      I too try to balance grace and forgiveness with law and consequences and make sure he is still getting loved on and lavished with intentional affection. But I’m very very human and also losing my temper multiple times a day.

      This morning after a huge meltdown / discipline session we just sat and rocked and I prayed hard out-loud for him which is something I don’t do often, but he calmed and started taking deep breaths while I was praying. I asked him if he wanted to talk to Jesus too but he said, “I don’t know Momma…” and never did. I didn’t push. I think prayer is effective but I’m not good at it (horrible actually).

      Anyway, thanks for listening to my ramblings but YES YES YES to everything you wrote (and so eloquently so).

      • “Nothing has taught me more about my own sin and need for grace than having a child. I consider myself pretty patient, but I lose my temper multiple times daily. Prayer helps. Prayer for my child and prayer with my child. We are fighting a battle that is not one of flesh, that cannot be solved by the mere punishment of the flesh. I don’t know where the line is between love and justice and mercy. I do know that my son cannot control his emotions yet, that he needs grace as much as he needs to know that there are consequences. For every punishment I deal out, I try to balance grace and forgiveness with law and consequences.”

        WOW! Thank you for writing that. Especially that first sentence. Hit me like a done of bricks…and gave me a new realization for how we discipline.
        Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  5. […] There’s been a lot of cold weather, some bouts of snow. (As I write, we are currently snowed in and tomorrow will be our third day in a row stuck at home with nothing to do!) These weeks leading up to Ezra’s 3 1/2 year mark in March have been very very tumultuous for him. His behavior has been really difficult to manage (which you can read about in this post from my perspective and in this post from my husband’s perspective). […]

  6. […] There’s been a lot of cold weather, some bouts of snow. (As I write, we are currently snowed in and tomorrow will be our third day in a row stuck at home with nothing to do!) These weeks leading up to Ezra’s 3 1/2 year mark in March have been very very tumultuous for him. His behavior has been really difficult to manage (which you can read about in this post from my perspective and in this post from my husband’s perspective). […]

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