The Complaining Child
I was a very harsh parent when my first son was born. I showed him lack of attention and disciplined him with an unloving attitude too often. I praise God for delivering me from my anger problems and my attitude. Yet, I see how it damaged him. He whines a lot, complains about everything, finds faults with everyone. He is either causing mischief by doing silly things I feel he should know not to do or whines about things and complains. He absolutely LOVES books, however. He listens to Narnia and various Lamplighter audio dramas. He loves me reading to him and has a good imagination I would say. What do you recommend I do? Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed with him irritating and picking on his little brother and talking back and complaining that I want to pull my hair! He acts like an adult in a child's body way too often. What am I missing here? By the way, he acts A LOT like Anne of Green Gables. He never stops talking and really thinks he knows the best way, just not so poetically. Age? He is only 6! I really hope to hear from you. He is a very sweet boy. He helps me so much and is very caring at times. Sometimes I think I am treating him too much like an adult and forget he is just a kid? I don't know. Thanks for this ministry. We have grown so much as a family. God is using all of you.
My Dear Friend,
It does indeed sound as if you have your hands quite full! Such behavior is unfortunately becoming quite normal for young boys of his age in our consumption-crazed, ego-inflating, morality-minimizing, screen-stupored culture. NEVER FEAR, HOWEVER! (Well, the fear of the Lord is always encouraged, although that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind...) For I can formally attest to the remarkable power of God in TRANSFORMING His children into a condition of absolute ABNORMALITY – and I of course use that word in the most blessedly best sense possible! In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul talks about how we are to present ourselves to God as “holy sacrifices” so that we are not “conformed to this world,” but instead “transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2).
And do you intend to inquire how this transformation might transpire? Well I’m glad you asked! Never underestimate the influence the Word of God will have in the life of a child. And how will your son love the Word unless he sees that you do?!?! Make a practice of reading the Bible daily to him, and then explaining the application it has for his life… BUT don’t drown him! The Preacher in Ecclesiastes once said, “Don’t be overly righteous… and don’t be overly wicked” (Ecclesiastes 7:16). Now how can someone be overly righteous? In other words, bring balance to your boy. Surround him with stories that are filled with role models who mirror the virtues of victors! In all my years, I have yet to find a more capable curative for the condition of one’s character than the inspired instruction of Scripture, especially as presented through stories!
In addition to his daily dose of devotions, there are several other books I know of which I believe will have a salutary effect upon your son. Teddy’s Button is an absolute MUST READ. In this novel, young Teddy comes face to face with his own worst enemy, an experience which bears many similarities to looking in a mirror! Me and Nobbles is another highly enjoyable tale written with the maturity of one’s morals in mind, as Master Bobby constantly gets into mischief, blaming his actions on the influence of his imaginary friend Nobbles! As I’m sure you can guess, this ploy is predestined to fail, but you’ll have to read for yourself to find out how! You can of course find both of these books at the Lamplighter store as well as the beloved Jack the Conqueror, The Little Woodsman and his Dog Caesar, and Basil: Honesty and Industry, and another favorite that’s fun yet fosters forgiveness and fortifies faith: Joseph’s Shield!
Finally, I know of a resource that you personally might find to be encouraging. I really can’t adequately express how thankful I am to hear that you have seen the dangers of parenting in harshness. Mark Hamby, a good friend of mine, came to the same realization as well. He even wrote and taught this material in a seminar entitled Raise Them Up, Don’t Crush Them Down describing his journey and how he overcame that particular flaw in his own character. And you can listen to it for free right HERE! That seminar, along with seventeen others, is also available for purchase at the Lamplighter store.
I sincerely hope that this letter will prove helpful to you henceforth! Until next time, I will always remain
Still His, still yours,
Amy Le Feuvre, 1896
Who is your most foul and cruel enemy? After reading Teddy's Button, you may have a new answer to that question. Flamboyant Teddy Platt cannot keep silent about the glorious history of his sacred button. Soon this passion brings him into contention with a new little girl in the village. God uses this enmity to bring Teddy to his knees, ready to sign up in the Lord's Army prepared for service in the war against his worst enemy - himself! Are you a faithful servant of the King flying the banner of Love over your life? Teddy has some lessons to teach us all.