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When Your Child Hurts You – Parenting Tip #45

My first son and I have something very in common. We write our best articles when we feel passionate about something, especially if that something hits us in our emotions. Yep. We’re emotional beings and occasionally another being will hit our emotional nerve and cause us to sort things out until we feel we sufficiently understand them or can at least put it behind us.

(If you’d like to see his writings about refugees and his newest adventure in Uganda working with communities go to AndrewFrania.com. You will be blessed.)

So, if you’ve gotten this far and plan to continue reading, I’ll get specific and to the point.

Yesterday I spent time with and/or talked to 9 of my 15 children. I know! That’s pretty cool in itself. I could have even reached 10 but one of them hasn’t texted me back yet.

Let’s break it down and then I’ll address my topic.

(1) One of my adult kids just spent 2 days attacking me via text. Blindsided me actually. Out of the blue. I still have no idea why. It just happened. One minute I was holding my new grandson for the first time while out of town visiting him and his family and the next I was looking down at a text that totally obliterated my “new grammie feeling.”

For just a moment. A millisecond actually. I chose to compartmentalize that moment and willed myself to take myself back to that moment of bliss, blocking the cruel punch to my grammie bubble.

It’s something I’m learning and am getting pretty good at. Most of the time. For the most part. OK, sometimes I’m able to do it.

After our “grammie meeting new baby” trip was over, I questioned the texter as to the why of the attack and it just spiraled to an all out “beat up mom for no reason” texting extravaganza. I decided it was going nowhere, so I asked my DH to handle it for me. He’s such a good doobie. I seldom ask him to step in, but I was getting nowhere and just wanted it to stop. It was ruining my day and just adding to the mound of stress I already had been battling.

It continued into the next day – one text after another. This time it was at work and I needed to focus on my job, not this ranting from the abyss. I warned that it must stop and gave my ultimatum: be kind and respectful or I would block any communication using that handy, “block caller” check box. I’ve never done it before. But sometimes “ya just gotta do what ya gotta do.”

Are you like me? Do you check your texts in between your busy moments to see what’s going on in your little world and then get a sick, heart turning upside down, kinda feeling when you read something negative? What if you kept getting negative, mean or spiteful messages every time you looked at your phone for two days straight?

How long do you let it go on? Do you thrive on derision? I don’t.

I am happy to help someone in trouble, lift someone up that’s down. I thrive on meeting needs and encouraging others. But sometimes you just can’t help. Sometimes people are just hell-bent on destroying others because they themselves are unhappy. I don’t get it, but it does happen. That is the case here. I came to realize that whenever something negative or hurtful or disappointing happens to this individual, they immediately text and dump on me. Most of the time I can take it. Most of the time I can talk them through it and find out what happened and help them navigate their way through it.

But this time it was different. I was their emotional punching bag. Right. Mom always loves you. You can do whatever you want to her and she will always love you. Well, yes, this is true. BUT…

This time it was different because no reasoning worked. No questions were answered as to why the attack. There was no foundation for the spewed hatred being typed into words via text. The rant just kept coming. All day. All night. The next morning. So I blocked said attacker. I warned. It continued. I blocked. But that’s not the end of the story. It yet has to play out.

 

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Now let me tell you what happened after that moment when the attack stopped (on my end, probably not on their end). But I couldn’t hear it because I checked that little box, “block caller.” Sometimes you just have to remove yourself from the path of destruction for your own safety.

But it gets better. At least it did for me. I mentioned I talked to 8 more of my kids that day. I suppose I am more blessed than others because when one hurts me, I still have 14 others that I can look to. And good percentage of those 14 are kind and loving toward me, consistently.

So here is the break down of the other 8.

(2) One called me from Uganda, East Africa in the middle of his busy work day to encourage me when he found out I was having a hard day.

(3) Another joked with me and shared her children – hugs from grandkids cannot be adequately described. A (4, 5) couple of others texted and messaged me – always upbeat and respectful no matter what is going on in their lives. The every day chatting with some of my kids provides a good dose of sanity and grounding, reminding me they do not live in the drama zone nor do they want to drag me into it. Refreshing.

(6) Another called wanting details on a car accident one of our other kids had been in –  I realized I hadn’t called her to let her know. She could have been angry but she wasn’t! Hmmm. That is the standard families should hold to. Graciousness. A little found commodity in many families. Graciousness was what I needed – it was granted to me even when I was negligent by my lack of communication. And she didn’t even yell at me! No nasty texts. Only concern for her brother.

(7) Another called about the car accident, wanting to know how he could help.

(8) Another messaged me thanking me for a tiny gift I’d given him.

(9) One took me to dinner and shopping. Retail therapy. It works! (Maybe I shouldn’t have said that out loud!)

Of course I have to add my wonderful DH as always was, well, wonderful.

So here is my many faceted parenting tip #45.

  • You are not a punching bag. If your adult kids can’t be kind and respectful, walk away. Yes, you should try to help. Offer advice. Do what you can to alleviate suffering and meet needs. But if they are just mad and wanting to take it out on you because they think you are “safe,” then cause them to think again. Will you miss them if they don’t make it right? Yes. But you will not miss being abused.
  • Even if your kids are mentally disabled, emotionally scarred, or generally just clueless, that doesn’t mean they are incapable of being respectful and polite. Put up your boundaries. If they try to beat you up, taking their frustrations out on you, don’t let them do it! Draw your line and if they cross it, walk away. Tell them you love them no matter what, but that you will not let them abuse you.
  • I’m going to say it again. Moms are not punching bags. We are soft and breakable. We are not super human. We can be hurt. We have our own lives to manage and we are not responsible for managing our adult children’s lives. They must figure that out themselves. If anything, once they are adults, THEY SHOULD BE TAKING CARE OF US. We did our deal. For years we put them first, met their needs, taught them, educated them, taught them about spiritual things, modeled adulthood and set limits, taught them respectfulness, how to work hard…the list goes on. There is a time when that stops and you just become “mom” the one who they respect and care for. It’s called adulthood. If they can’t manage to do that, then look to those who do. Revel in their love and respect and let go of those who don’t.
  • Realize they may never come back if you make them stop hurting you. They may walk away because of some misguided accusation in their head that tells them they can’t count on you or that you don’t love them or some nonsense like that. They might choose to do something stupid that will damage them for life. Realize it’s not you, it’s them. Realize you cannot control them or their messed up thinking process. Of course the “*” to that is to assume you were not the cause of their problem. If you are, then fix it.  In this case the attack was unwarranted and I have not discovered the root cause, though I tried. But honestly, it doesn’t matter.
  • The real root cause of such abuse is much deeper than what set the attack in motion. The root cause can only be fixed by God, the healer of all pain and hurt, the one who can spot a deep dark pit that harbors all the hate and anger. You can’t do it. You can’t fix whatever is wrong with them. So stop taking that on. This is a situation where the, “Let go and let God” comes into play. You cannot and are not obligated to fix everything and everyone who is broken. This especially applies to adoptive parents. You’ve done your best (hopefully) to raise them to be hard working, responsible adults with a conscience and a loving heart, ready and willing to serve God and their fellow man. They are adults now. They must choose to live right. Your relationship should and will change. Let it.
  • They are not your peers. If your adult children try to treat you as a peer, don’t allow it. You are the parent and they should respect and honor you. Period.

This was a long one. No pictures. No fancy doo-dads, quips or quotes. Just reality. Let me know your thoughts. But only if you are kind. I’ve had a rough week and it’s only Wednesday.

 

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DIY & Crafts Family Parenting tips Things I've Learned

Get a Hobby, Mom! Parenting Tip #43

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

Find Your Creative Outlet

Back when all 15 kids were home and we were crazy busy, I still took time to read books, learn new technology and techniques in my graphic design and photography passions and kept up with several of my hobbies. Do you? Do you have a hobby or creative outlet that brings a smile to your face? You need to get a hobby if you don’t have one now.

Why a hobby, you ask?

Well, to start with, you want to maintain your sanity. To be creative and see progress even in the smallest of areas helps you to stay positive and motivated. Hobbies such as gardening, scrapbooking, painting, reading, blogging, etc. give you a creative outlet. There are so many stressors in our lives that we need to find ways of release.

Too busy, you say? Nope. You aren’t too busy to have hobbies. Actually, if you are very busy, you NEED those creative outlets to balance your daily life. If you work all the time, your body and mind will eventually tell you, “STOP!” either through illness, exhaustion or plain ol’ mental weariness.

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}There are others benefits too.

  1. Scrapbooking showed my kids that they were VALUABLE. Often there would be one or more of the kids standing at my side or looking over my shoulder to see what I was up to and would find their pictures being double sided taped to the page with some fancy embellishments – this made them feel wanted and special. It was tangible.
  2. When I painted shirts for my kids, they were able to see their personality and preferences come to life via paint. The other day when my youngest DD and I were looking through some old toddler clothes from long ago, she came across a toddler shirt with an elephant on it – she knew who it had belonged to because we all knew our son loved elephants.
  3. Reading allows you to step outside of a very stressful life and jump into someone else’s for a brief moment – a chance to let go of the things that plagues you, even if for a brief time. I would read in the living room, the hub of family activity, which allowed me to supervise AND regroup, to mentally let go of the things that were worrisome.
  4. Photography was another way I could show my kids that they mattered. I was the church and school’s ministry and sports photographer and graphic designer, so as I was taking the kids’ pictures and editing them, they saw themselves become the “focus” (no pun intended) in my scrapbooks, the school yearbook, website and publications.

Think about your life.

Some people think that if they sacrifice every moment of their life for ministry or others, then God will bless them above and beyond. It IS true that a life spent for Christ is rewarding and will bring blessing, but it is NOT Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}true that 100% must be dedicated to our “calling.”

Give yourself a break. You will be happier and healthier if you give yourself a mental, emotional and physical respite. It will help you be focused, encouraged and hopeful. People who are burned out or even bored and some of the most miserable people around – they tend to either be discouraged, depressed or turn into dull, overly pious or busy bodies.

Dull? Yes. If someone has nothing that draws them creatively, where will their depth of personality come from? Where do you think coveting comes from?

Overly pious? Yes. If a person dedicates 100% of their time to service, they might begin to wonder why others don’t and will judge them accordingly.

Busy body? Yes. If one has no personal life, they may begin to look into others’ lives and think they are much more interesting (and they would be right!) and start to meddle and criticize just to get some attention because they are feeling unfulfilled (no depth).

Do any of these apply to you? Probably not. But watch out – it has a way of creeping up on a person and is seldom recognized because the motivation is seldom understood. If we don’t know why we do something or why we think the way we do, how do we even begin to change or seek the solution?

So moms, get a hobby. It’s for the good of everyone around you, including you.

In the comments below, list your hobbies. You never know, you just might inspire someone! If you are willing to help a mom start up a new hobby, you can do so in our M.O.M. Facebook group.

If you are a parent in need of support, please join us and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff. it’s a safe place to share your concerns and seek advice.

If you’re interested in DIY tutorials and inspiring ideas, visit my other website: LoveMyDIYHome.com.

Val @ Mom of Many

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

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When Your Child Publicly Hates You – Parenting tip #40 (Part 2)

I ended Parenting Tip #40 (Part 1) like this…

Next I will tell you how we handle the publicly declared accusations and hate mail as siblings and parents. God speed and until next time…

Public hatred {Mom of Many}
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So how do we deal with public jabs, attacks and innuendos?

How should we react or address twisting of the truth, stretching, shading or outright lies? Should we react at all?

Should we counter lies with the truth? Should we acknowledge any accusations, stories or public defamation?

This is tough because such public attacks are not only hurtful, but they undermine the entire family dynamic. When a child publicly lashes out, other family members and friends who read it are affected. This type of bitterness damages relationships, casts shadows, and breaks down communication within a family and has no value.

Let’s first look at the WHY.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Why does the adult child publicize their hatred of the parent? Is there any benefit to them?

  • They have bitterness in their heart that must get out. Bitterness not only blackens the heart of those who carry it, but it must fling it’s slimy sludge all over anyone within arms length and with the Internet, it no longer is limited to arms length.
  • With the lack of maturity that is needed to deal with and eradicate bitterness, those wallowing in dark thoughts think it will make them feel better to lash out at those that they think are the cause. They are mistaken. It will only grow the more they feed it.
  • Bitter people don’t want to suffer alone – they must make everyone else suffer as well. Those who listen to and believe the bitter person’s irrational accusations have a propensity for the darkness as well. Misery loves company, so we should not be surprised when those we thought were friends pat the offender on the head and say, “You poor baby.” It speaks to their hidden darkness and draws it out.
  • Bitterness is poison that needs to grow and destroy by its very nature. Just like happy people who must share their good news, bitter people feel the compulsion to share their misery.
  • Those who are bitter often have a difficult time identifying the root cause because of pride. When there is mental or emotional damage, their pride (self protection and narcissism) takes over and common sense and understanding are not present. “I must feel rotten, and it can’t be anything I did, so it must be “such and such’s” fault. (which usually, MOM = Such and Such)
  • To publicize their bitter thoughts, they are seeking approval. Since there will always be others with emotional issues, they will always find someone to “like” their words. People who are immature, gullible, bitter themselves or given to gossip and disloyalty are their best allies.
  • Those who are hurt often want to hurt others. It is a tough cycle to break.

 

How Should We Respond?

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

So what do we do as parents of these kids? Should we do anything?

It is very hard on a parent when they love a bitter child who is caught up in their own foolishness. Unrequited love is painful but when you add foolish behavior a desire hurt others, the whole enchilada is difficult to digest.

Have you ever read the verses, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” (Prov. 26:4)

Uh huh. With foolishness, you CAN.NOT.WIN. God said so.

“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

But we are to warn the unruly, and comfort those who struggle mentally, being as patient as possible. It is our responsibility as friends or family to warn or loved ones when they are on a destructive path, but not to be surprised if our warnings go unheeded. It’s the combination of pride, foolishness and bitterness that builds the impenetrable wall.

Lose the Old Habits

I used to think that if I could just talk to them, explain, make them remember what really happened, remind them of what they were like to live with, what they did, why we did what we did…that it would all be better. Um. No. It doesn’t work. You can talk all day until you are blue in the face and you will NEVER change them.

Now I only give advice when asked and don’t spend a lot of time doing it – that way I know that I have taken care of my responsibility (but I don’t expect change).

Dump Them into God’s Lap

Only life’s consequences and God’s hand can change them. Period.

I used to spend hours on the phone with some of my kids trying to talk sense into them. They would hang up and go right back to the same behavior, belief system and bitter living. I would stress over our conversation for hours or even days – long after they had already forgotten about everything that I said.

It was a waste of time and only caused me to be emotionally drained and sometimes even discouraged.

I don’t do it any more.

I sleep much better.

Dealing with Hate {Mom of Many}
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Learn to Ignore

I do my best to ignore it all (once the kids grow and go) and focus on the kids who are good to me – the kids who love me and bring me joy.

And I wait. I wait for the others to come around. I wait for life to throw them enough curve balls that they finally remember, that they finally realize that all the things that drive their bitterness are not real or at least had nothing to do with us, those of us who tried their best to do what was best for them (and were trying to survive). I wait for God to get a hold of their heart.

Guard Your Heart

Does it hurt? Yes. But I do my best to set it aside. I’m getting pretty good at it after years of practice.

The fact that I’ve seen radical changes in many of my kids makes all the difference – I’m seriously blessed to see the maturity and loving nature of most of my kids who have had so much to overcome. This progress has filled in the holes created by past and present hate and bitterness.

Find Your Happy Place

The fact that I’ve had an armful of kids and grandkids (and a DH) that have ALWAYS loved me has carried me along and kept me whole (kept me from the depths of despair and maintained my sanity, for the most part).

Family Selfie {Mom of Many}

  1. We know God has endured pain and hurt from His people and still has remained faithful and loving, giving us a great example of what his power can do to help us achieve or endure.
  2. We need to cling to the good things/people in our life. To feel fortunate gives us the fuel to get through the tough times.
  3. The children who know and express the love of God make it worth enduring the ones who do not.
  4. To not go on the defensive and counter the attacks allows the door to our home to stay open – we need to maintain our hope that they will one day walk through it. Hope goes a long way.

Hang tight. Patiently wait. Pray God will work. Watch out the window. Keep the door open. Accept them when they do finally walk through. Reassure them you love them. Keep the lines of communication open. If they make things right, start new. Remember we are all imperfect and forgiveness should be immediate when asked for. Hope. Always hope.

SUGGESTIONS:

  1. Buy the book Boundaries by Townsend. Learn to set boundaries that set you free of the pain.
  2. Join the Mom of Many mailing list and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff. If you need support, a strong shoulder or a listening ear – M.O.M. is here.

Have you ever been hurt by your kids? What did you do about it? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

 

Val @ Mom of Many

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

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Family Parenting tips

Do you make your kids share? Parenting Tip #36

Sharing a Different Perspective

If you practice the typical parental sharing rule among your children, you may be creating bitterness, a selfish heart and a self centered mindset.

I know. Parenting can be a scary thing when you consider you might be causing the very behavior you are trying to avoid.

Sharing - Parenting Tip #36 {Mom of Many}A Parenting Mistake

Little Johnny gets a new Lego Bug Obliterater set and he spends hours putting it together. He sits back on his heels and admires his work as his little brother comes from behind and grabs the mega bug and rips off the wings and runs off with his Lego guy.

Johnny hollers, “Moooommmmm! Buster (which is a good name for the little guy since he is Destructo in the flesh) just broke my Lego bug and took my star strider!”

And then how does mom respond? “Johnny, share with your brother!”

What??? Really?

Johnny’s Emotional Response

  1. He now KNOWS his mom won’t protect his things from others. (fear)
  2. His brother becomes the enemy. He decides he must watch for invaders in his personal space. (self protection)
  3. He decides that if mom isn’t his ally, then he must look within and only trust himself. (feelings of abandonment)
  4. Things become more important than the people around him because he begins to fear loss. (materialism)
  5. A little seed of bitterness and resentment begins to grow. (anger)

Sharing - Parenting Tip #36 {Mom of Many}

A Better Parental Response

Johnny hollers, “Moooommmmm! Buster (which is a good name for the little guy since he is Destructo in the flesh) just broke my Lego bug and took my star strider!”

Mom responds: “Buster, you know that belongs to Johnny. You are free to watch him play and maybe he’ll invite you to play with him. But it’s up to him. Johnny, maybe you can build him something to play with?”

Johnny now believes:

  1. His mom respects him and what belongs to him. (security)
  2. Mom considers him to be as important as Buster. (value)
  3. Family can play and work together and be considerate. (courtesy)
  4. Boundaries foster good relationships. (respect)
  5. Buster will learn to play nice or he won’t get what he wants. (cause and effect)
  6. He can share with Buster out of love, not obligation. (love)

“Teach your kids to share,” is not a mandate to make them give up their things. Evaluate each situation and guage your parental response according to what is best.

Do we not protect our possessions? As adults, we hate taxes. We’d much rather give out of a heart of love or concern for others than have things taken from us without our consent. Remember the Boston Tea Party?  Are you against socialism? Do we not lock our doors to protect what is ours?

If your children fear loss, they will put up barriers and self protect. Rather than teaching them to fear, teach them to prefer others and learn to love in practical ways. Lead by example. Let them see you are a giving person. Let giving and sharing be by their choice.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

You don’t teach your kids to GIVE by TAKING AWAY from them.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Do you make your kids share?

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many mailing list and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

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Do you have a saboteur? When Kids Enjoy Trouble – Parenting Tip #31

Definition of SABOTAGE

1: destruction of an employer’s property (as tools or materials) or the hindering of manufacturing by discontented workers
2: destructive or obstructive action carried on by a civilian or enemy agent to hinder a nation’s war effort
3a: an act or process tending to hamper or hurt   b: deliberate subversion

 

Sound familiar? Do you have a saboteur in the house?

This is a very specific issue. A saboteur isn’t the child who is just struggling – it’s for the child who is deliberately choosing to inflict pain or daring his parents in a “see if I care” sort of way.

It can be very discouraging to a mom when a child seems to enjoy trouble, does the opposite of what they are told and repeats the cycle of disobedience in a way that makes you suspect they are purposely trying to hurt the family.

Hopefully they aren’t plotting a planning their own or your destruction (though some of mine tried).

Often this type of behavior is a response to some sort of painful memory or behavioral pattern established from trauma in the past. Self destructive behavior can affect the entire family. They often realize they are doing it – some want to quit but aren’t sure how and others enjoy inflicting pain because they think it makes them feel better – a sort of whacked, “pain loves company” mental state.

One of our kids was sure he would eventually be abandoned or kicked out so he set up scenarios where he would do something that he thought would ensure it or he would decide on his own that he was leaving. Even when we sat down and explored his options (running away meant no home, no food, no family and staying and working out problems meant family support, warm tasty meals, a warm bed, etc.) he still chose to run.

Of course we would veto such decisions but couldn’t always keep a close enough eye on him that he couldn’t slip out. We always got him to come back but eventually moved him into a children’s home. That’s a long story and I won’t go into that now. Just realize that sometimes reason doesn’t work.

Sometimes Discipline Will Work

BUT, in my experience practical parenting must coincide to form new habits and mindsets. In Parenting Tip #21, I talk about supervision. You start there. If you aren’t keeping a good eye on your kids there will be more room for sabotage. Idle hands and minds can get very creative in a short time!

Positive Reinforcement?

See Parenting Tip #22. A mind set of messing with you won’t be easily changed. You’ve got to show them it is in their best interest to follow your rules, be respectful of the family and compliant.

The Big Guns Come in Parenting Tip #6

I give you some practical steps to take with teenagers who bully Mom (usually doesn’t happen to Dad). Some of the bullying is natural growth done the wrong way and it’s up to others to step in and show them how to become a man without stepping all over mom. It’s hard when there’s one parent, especially if it’s a mom. At that point it would help to have the support of a male role model. It could be someone like an uncle, older brother, neighbor, friend, husband of a friend or your pastor.

Let me encourage you.

These kids can wear you down and even make you think the problem is YOU making you think:

  • You don’t love them enough
  • You aren’t meeting his needs
  • You are not patient enough…maybe you need to give them more space
  • You just don’t understand
  • You don’t do enough for them

Um. No. It’s not you. It’s them. Get a grip on these false feelings. Gather your courage around you like a flak jacket and arm yourself with some butt kicking confidence and attack this issue head on. The sooner you are confident, the sooner you will see progress.

Here are some things I learned along the way:

  1. Exude confidence. You must leave off all emotion when dealing with saboteurs. Act like a cop. No crying, begging or upset faces allowed, mom. A matter-of-face face is scary to teens. Scare them with your courage.
  2. Decide ahead of time what consequences will be for each particular behavior, write it down and post it on the fridge. A heads up for the transgressor will squelch many a misdeed. These kids are smart and very much into self protection.
  3. Find their hot button. Do they like computer games, have a fave show or does money speak to them? Get creative and remove or reward behavior. Sometimes rewarding others and leaving the offender out speaks volumes. “Hey kids, let’s stop for fries on the way home! Sorry, Joe, not you this time. Maybe you can reconsider the attitude while we eat our fries.”
  4. Research food allergies – sometimes in extreme instances allergies can create manic behavior. We had a son who went bonkers if he ate corn or in a corn field. Go figure.
  5. Provide a united front. Explain the issues. Clue everyone in. Let the whole family know what you plan to do and ask who is on board. We occasionally had family meetings where we asked for a show of hands. Draw the line in the sand and ask who wants to be on your side. This is serious stuff and you need to let everyone know “I GOT THIS.”
  6. Try to get a handle on their issues. When I discovered one of my sons had Asperger’s all made sense and I totally changed my approach. Do research. RAD is a serious issue that you might be dealing with.
  7. Don’t deal with this alone. We had little support and had to find our way with little help. Find a friend and share your issues – it always helps to have someone who knows and will support you if something goes wrong.
  8. Keep a journal of all happenings – EVERY DAY. You must protect yourself and journals help establish a timeline and important information that might be needed later. See Tip #12.
  9. There may come a time where their behavior is too intense for your family and you must separate them for the safety of all, including them. There are children’s homes and residential facilities equipped for the most difficult cases. This was always our last resort, but we did find the need for some of our kids. Safety is a common issue with RAD kids.

I’m sure there are tons more ideas that would help – let me know if you have any tips to add. We are in this together and no one should ever feel alone or abandoned.

YOU GOT THIS! {Mom of Many}

NOTE: I am happy to say that all my kids have grown to adulthood and have carved out a life for themselves. I am proud of all of them and have a good relationship with most of them. We are hopeful that the others will come around and come back – for they all are valued, no matter what. Our kids have grown tremendously. When you consider how much some of them have had to overcome, you are in awe of their strength. Never give up on them. They are worth every effort.

Leave a comment if you have any to add. If you need support join our M.O.M. group. We get it.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Are you afraid of failure? Parenting Tip #24

Don't fear your kids' futures - God's God This {Mom of Many}

It’s not what you think.

I’m not about to talk about parental failure. I’m talking about our kids and their choices in life.

They might turn your world upside down – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing…

Considering all the work we put into our kids, it’s natural to think that they might consider us when making their choices.

Six months before we were married, I considered moving out into an apartment that I found in the want ads. My dad found the ad and confronted me. He said that it would “kill Mom” if I moved out. I didn’t really understand, because to me it wasn’t a big deal. I just wanted to experience life out on my own before I committed to a forever home with my future DH.

But being the dutiful daughter that I was, I nixed my plan and stayed home until our wedding day, never to mention it again. To this day I don’t even know if my dad told my mom.

That was only one of many decisions that was influenced by my concern for my parents and their opinion of me.

Silly me. I thought all my kids would be the same way.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

I hate to burst your bubble.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

If you are like me, you have this pie in the sky expectations of what you think raising a family would be like.  Come on down from those clouds and visit the real world. I live there now and it’s not so bad.

To be happy and have peace as parents, realize:

  • Our happiness does not hinge on others.
  • Our adult children have their own minds – we can’t control them nor should we.
  • We should not take our kids choices personally.
  • The worst could happen and we (with the Lord’s help) will still be OK.

And…this is the biggest bullet I can give you:

  • God can use EVERYTHING and ANYTHING that happens to grow and mature our kids.

MomofMany.netDon’t be afraid of the future for your kids. Do your best to raise them properly and then when they go out on their own, give yourself permission to let go.

They may choose a completely out of the box path, pursuing a crazy life opposite of your dreams and goals, but don’t despair.

You’ve heard that saying, “Let go and let God?” It sounds so trite. But it is true in this case.

There is a time in your kids’ lives that they will step out and become their own person. There will be mistakes. They may disappoint you, hurt you, or even ditch you. They might turn your world upside down. But don’t lose hope.

I have seen the worst situations in my kids’ lives change them in a way that I never could. Real life can make such a huge impact – so don’t fear. Give yourself a break, sit back and watch God work.

As parents we think we know the road our children should travel, but God may have other plans. Trust Him.

Remember He loves your kids more than you do.

He’s got this.

God isn’t finished with them. Or you. And that’s the truth.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Adoption Educating Our Children Family Parenting tips

Does your child run away? Parenting Tip # 12

 

Running away from your problems is a race you will never win…

Recently a mom contacted me about her teenage son who has developed the habit of running away when he is upset.

We had a couple of kids try that a few times and it caused huge stress for our family. It’s a heart breaking moment when your child runs through the door when you are in the middle of a parenting moment. If you want to experience mind numbing F.E.A.R., just watch your child go out the door in a fit of defiance!

Does your child run away? Keep a Journal {Mom of Many}
To download this FREE full resolution JPG word art, click the picture above.

Running away:

  1. Exacerbates the problem because you can’t deal with it if they aren’t there!
  2. Disrupts the family and scares the other children.
  3. Puts them, you, and your family immediately at risk legally (you never know what they will do on the run).
  4. Is unsafe for the child to be running around unsupervised.
  5. Puts the public at risk because the child isn’t thinking clearly.
  6. Is an act of rebellion – it must be addressed.

This was what I told the M.O.M. – in a nut shell.

I never did this but found myself wishing I had. Live and learn, right?

Does your child run away? Keep a Journal {Mom of Many}

  1. If your child has developed a habit of running away, be sure to call 911 IMMEDIATELY to let them know your child is on the run.
  2. Be sure to let your child know ahead of time that if they run, you will call the police. Be clear that you love them and will do it to protect them, you, the rest of the family and the public.
  3. Keep a journal EVERY DAY if you have a child that acts out. This will give you credibility if you run into any legal issues. Because I had NO PAPER TRAIL, my word was disregarded in time of crisis.
  4. Get a good support system that will come to your aid day or night. Fill in at least one trusted friend and your pastor so there are others who will back you up in time of crisis and come to your house if you need them.

I had a good support system in place just weeks before our last incident, so between them and the Lord’s protection, we were fine. But it could have turned out disastrous!

If you need support join our M.O.M. group. We get it.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Family Parenting tips Things I've Learned

Has your child rejected your faith? Parenting Tip #11

Has Your Child Rejected Your Faith? {Mom of Many}I asked my some of my newest M.O.M. members this question:

“If you had to name one parenting moment or a behavioral issues you couldn’t get victory over, what would it be?”

This is one mom’s question:

“Okay Val, I’ll give you mine – and I’d be thrilled if you have an answer: [How do you handle] adult children who turn their back on everything they’ve been taught about the Gospel? No victory yet with the almost 30-year old. I’m excited about the group and hope it will be a blessing.”

Here is my answer:

There was a time that I would just say, “Hope for the best and let God do the rest.” But now that I’m on the other side with several of my kids, I can say with confidence that you will see your child come back to God if he truly was saved when he was in your home. If not, then your example and training will give him a starting point that God will use one day to draw him to Himself. Either way you can have the confidence to know you have done what God put you in his life to do.

I have seen a good majority of our kids leave our home saying they would follow God only to run to the world and “enjoy” the sin it affords. BUT through the prayers of those who care for them and the fact that God doesn’t let go of His own, you can be sure that God will one day capture his heart. How long that will be remains to be seen, but realize that your job is done – God is in charge of them from now on.

Sometimes God sees a weakness in our child’s lives and allows them to go their own way to teach them something. But He will only let them go so far before He reels them in. You can trust God – He knows just what to do. I used to fear what would happen to my kids – feared their pain or loss. But I have come to treasure whatever God allows in their lives to change them. My trust in my God has tripled since I’ve seen Him work through my kids’ lives. I have a better understanding and know Him more. God changes us through our kids. That is a good thing. We can find solace in knowing that God knows what He is doing and we can trust Him.

The only thing you should do is keep your life in line as example and let God deal with the rest. Just love your son, accept him as he is and don’t push or question him. Let him know you are leaving him in God’s hands and you no longer are responsible for him. It will keep your relationship safe for him and leave him free to make the decision to follow God without thinking he is “giving in” because of you.

God cares for him. God cares for you and if they are important to you, that puts them at the top of God’s list – simply because you are important to Him. Don’t stress, just enjoy your son and let him feel accepted. Accept where he is and have peace about it. We can be sad, but we can still have peace. No judgements. It frees you and frees him. It’s the best place to be.

And BTW, your son hasn’t turned his back on all he knows to be true. God is firmly planted in his heart, he’s just not listening right now. But God is there – He hasn’t moved and never will.

God loves your son more than you do – that’s an awesome truth. Trust it.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

If you are in the same boat as this mom, be encouraged.

It’s not just a platitude. I’ve seen it and can tell you for sure, God knows and cares.

He’s got this.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Ministry Musings Spiritual Truths Things I've Learned

Ladies, YOU need to hear this… Listen up!

Hey ladies, my valuable, worthy ladies who love God and put yourself out there every day for others. Yes, I mean you.

Melody2 by Jesse Therrien from freeimages freesxc

I have something to tell you, something you NEED to hear. I’ve gotten so many letters, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, and frustrated, “I need to talk to you,” face to face encounters that I have to address this. Urgh.

There is something you may not know and I’m going to tell you right now.

So listen up.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

You are who you are because God made you that way. That makes you special… special to God… special to me.

Yes, I mean you.

I see you day to day putting yourself aside and working for others, dropping by a vase of flowers for a sick older lady, changing diapers in the church nursery, going out to work to help support the family, caring your grandchildren, sacrificing for your children, washing dishes after a fellowship in your church, raising an adopted child by yourself, taking your kids to sports practice, blogging tutorials for strangers on how to save a dime, tutoring the student who just doesn’t get it, caring for a sick husband, encouraging others to keep going…

You do so much for others that I couldn’t possibly list it all. And yet, you are discouraged, feeling unloved and disrespected.

To quote a phrase in the Bible, because it is so simple yet profound, “These things ought not so to be.”

It makes me angry (yes, I can be angry and sin not) to see the women around me live discouraged, defeated lives because of how they are regarded by those around them.

It ends now.

Every woman who belongs to Christ (if you’re not sure, go here) must claim their position in Him, realize their value, and act like it!

No more questioning. No more letting people walk all over you. No more wondering if you can be used.

NO MORE!

You are not alone.

When you met Christ, you not only were forgiven, but you became brand new. You became His child, valuable and complete.

Did you hear that? You are complete in Him. He VALUED you enough to hang on that cross – FOR YOU.

So how is it that we wonder if we are enough? How is it that we question our value?

Um, no.

Right now you are going to realize you are valuable, complete in Him and to be regarded as such. No more are you going to accept the notion that you are not as good or capable or usable as that woman you think is better than you (or that woman that thinks she is better than you and lets you know it).

If someone tries to make you feel small, you just stand tall and tell yourself, “I am a daughter of the Most High God, I am valued, I am complete in Him.” Notice I said, “tries.” No one can put you in your place but God, and if you belong to Him, you are already placed in His hand and He is in your heart.

Repeat after me, “I got this.”

Photo by Stephen Davies freeimages

I don’t mean, “I got this,” as in “I’m perfect,” I mean, “I got this, I’m complete, I’m valued by God, I don’t need your approval, I don’t need you to put me in my place. I’m good where I’m at, in my God’s hand, loved and valued.”

Stop comparing yourself to other women. Stop trying to compete. Just be whom God made you. Accept who you are. Realize your value. Stand up and say, “I got this.”

Being submissive doesn’t mean we are a little mouse that walks around afraid to speak. If you’re not sure this is true, go read in the Scriptures about how all the women that served God were strong, confident women with purpose.

Being a good woman doesn’t mean you stand by while others smack you around with their words or actions. Others will not respect you if you don’t respect yourself. Stand up and say, “I got this.”

One friend recently said, “I’ve decided I will just stay in my room when they are home.”

Um. No.

You are not going to hide. You are not going to step aside and let them devalue you, take advantage of your insecurities or let them make you feel unloved. You are the daughter of a king. You step up and say,

“I got this.”

You are going to claim your position in Christ, say to yourself, “I belong to the King,” and take your place as a valued child. You are going to set your boundaries and claim your spot. It is your home. They are visitors. They will respect and cherish you or they will go.

I have a family of 5 living in our home and my 87 year old mother. None of them treat me like I am worthless. None of them push me around. None of them disrespect me. In fact, it is just the opposite. I have loved every moment my daughter’s family has been in our home for the past 5 months. I have gained much by having my mother in our home. We help each other, we laugh, we enjoy, we respect each other. When they move out in the next few days I will feel a loss. When my mother goes home to glory, I will feel a void.

If this is not the case with those around you, then you need to reevaluate your relationships, disconnect from those who do not value you and find some who do. Pray for a girlfriend who will uplift you and support you. Find someone who can encourage you and walk with you. Set your boundaries with everyone in your life and make it clear you know whom you, to whom you belong are and who you are not. And then tell yourself, “I got this.”

You are a daughter of the King.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

You are who you are because God made you that way.

That makes you special… special to God… special to me.

And yes, I mean you.

Blessings to you,

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Good Read – Discouragement

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Click here for a really good article on the things in our every day life that can cause discouragement.