“EMILY, YOU GET BACK HERE RIGHT THIS SECOND!!”
a young mother yells, at her fleeing two-year-old daughter, in the department store. Immediately, several women near me looked up from their browsing.
“You could be taken from me!” the angry Mom continues, “They would close down this store, and you’d still be in here, lost forever! I wouldn’t see you ever again. Now how would you like that? IT is never okay to run away from Mommy! Do you hear me?” she asks loudly. Her friend slinks off to a corner looking embarrassed, as the woman hauls the now tearful two-year-old along beside her. And of course, this open display of motherly intentions gets my wheels turning towards my blossoming blog content.
I ask you; how many times have we been there mothers? My toddler was sitting in the stroller as this occurred. And not ten minutes later, I released him to explore the dressing room. I thought it was harmless, until he figured out how to work the doorknob. I hear the door hit its straining open hinges, as I’m standing there, wiggling into a too-small-shirt, fashion gurus believe should fit a body my size! UGH! I don’t pretend to say it won’t happen, even to the most calm, assertive moms, in fact I’ll guarantee it will! But what does our reaction to it say about us?
We think society expects us to promote fear in our children. We think, if we make them afraid of germs, they’ll wash their own hands every time. Or if we tell them to stay close because they will be stolen from us, they will automatically stick like glue. Okay I’m just going to say it… the world promotes fear. Moms sometimes don’t realize that our “intentions”–of obedience, versus the “results”–of a manipulated, fear filled child, are vastly different. Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
“Believing” whether positive or negative will always get results. Whether its Faith or Fear the Law of Believing works every time.
“What is a better way to handle the toddler adventures?” you ask.
- Embrace the development stage they are going through. Walk in it with them, it will surprise you what “ordinary” will teach you through the eyes of a child.
- Sow good obedience habits into them. Use the acronym L.R.O.- Listen, Remember, Obey. Reward each success and celebrate it openly. Make it a game at home. Motivate them with positive praise rather than fear. Instead of, “Stay here or someone will take you away”, try this, “Stay here because Mommy wants to show you something special.” Then do your best to find something ordinary that looks amazing in their eyes.
In conclusion: If its always about “you” and never about them, they will develop the same habit pattern of thinking. Children are already thinking about what’s in it for them. But they don’t need to stay in “Mees-ville” their whole lives. As parents its our job to help them be unselfish, out of love for their fellow man and God. How will you raise your child? Will it be rooted in fear and manipulation, or out of faith and love?
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go:and when he is old, he will not depart from it.