One evening at dinner we were talking about the naughty things our boys have done while growing up. It is always a topic for good laughs. One built a fire and roasted a pigeon he hunted with an airsoft gun then he and his buddy ate it! One yanked down the pants of a boy on the playground. One got caught in a web of lies, and another for helping himself to his brother’s stash of cash. Somehow as parents we navigate through the troubles. But now that they are teenagers, I don’t have any trouble with my boys.
Kira got her share of trouble yesterday for overstepping the boundaries I have established. At two years old there’s a balance between learning the rules, and ignoring the rules. When I know for sure she has learned what I expect, and she defies me, there’s a swift unhappy consequence for her. Some days I spend most of my effort disciplining her and curbing her behavior as the little selfish imp in there disobeys every rule. And with consistent, careful, loving boundaries and consequences she learns that when mama says so she means so. (but she’s multiplying the wrinkles on my face)
I am living proof as a parent that early discipline and firm boundaries results in peaceful harmony in the family when the children become teenagers. Jordan admits that he has lots of ideas of things he would like to do that sound like fun and adventurous but he’s scared of us finding out, and I worked hard to find out all his shenanigans when he was little so he would know for sure that I WILL find out. So he resigned to it. He accepts my authority.
Kira is learning to accept my authority now, whether she likes it or not. I’m standing my ground and holding her accountable while she’s young so that when she’s older it won’t be hard for her to submit respectfully to authority. If children can’t learn to obey and respect their parents, how will they ever learn to obey and respect God?
Parenting is not for the meek. And the promise stands sure: you will reap what you sow. If I indulge little miss cutie pie now, she’ll be a terror as a teenager, and frankly I’ll be in my sixties then, and I’ll be in no mood for a troubled teen. I’m making sure now that she’ll be good then. I can see the look of relief on the boys faces when we discipline her. They want to make sure she gets what they got! Fortunately we have Donny who reports back from the near age of twenty to say we were right to be strict on him, and he thanks us for our firm parenting. So we soldier on through the terrible twos. If I don’t answer the phone at eight p.m. you can guess it’s because we had a long day setting boundaries with little miss. We can’t just survive the terrible twos, we have to accomplish the goal for this stage: that they will accept authority and rules and know for sure they are safe in our love.