Friday, August 2, 2013

Over Protective Mommy? Q&A

When I was learning how to drive my dad would give me scenario's like, "What would you do if that vehicle twenty yards ahead would swerve into your lane?" and I would have to quickly think of what I would do that would be the best action for me and my passengers. It annoyed me as an immature 16 year old, but now I'm so very thankful he did that. Twelve years later, I find myself constantly thinking ahead, "Okay, when/if this happens, how will I react?"

As of late, I'm looking ahead at how I'm going to handle this over protective mommy feeling that overwhelms me sometimes. Let me explain...

Even though Brielle is only 10 months old I believe it is important to have play dates (not only for her sake but for mine as well). During those "dates" I find myself wanting to hover Brielle, protecting her from everything, which of course is ridiculous. I'm also finding myself understanding why parents become "over protective." And I had to honestly ask myself, and the preschool teacher I was with, how am I going to deal with this? Neither of us had a good answer for the following scenario:

Brielle loved this silly comb. She's a studier and she'd turn it over and over again in her hands, bounce, talk, giggle, and chew. Being naturally curious children, the others wanted to see what the big deal was about this comb! A battle ensued and they were 9 months old! We laughed about it at the time, but I found myself wanting to yank the comb out of the other 9 month olds hands, and give it back to my daughter. It's her comb. She had it first. (Don't worry, I didn't do that, it was a 5 second moment before reality sunk in; we actually laughed at it all because we were amazed at: 1. how early "it" starts and 2. it's a comb.)

I've been thinking about it ever since because I know this won't be the only time something like this comes up. So, I'm asking an honest question. How do we as mothers help our children understand (even from a young age) the concept of selfishness and sharing? When's a good time to start teaching this? I'm looking ahead because I do not want to be one of "those" mom's who's children are never in the wrong, but also want to protect them. What's the balance? So I am asking for honest BIBLICAL answers.

I know these things to be true and yet I still have questions that I want other Christian mom's to ponder, study what God's word states, and respond; OR if you're one of those mom's that has a plan in place and it's working, SHARE! (Please? And thank you.)
  • Brielle will have children take things from her. I want her to understand that even though she may have been wronged her response is important. How do you teach that?
  • I also want her to understand the Biblical concept of sharing. In an eternal perspective nothing is "mine." God gives and takes away, yes, even toys. It all belongs to God; we live in HIS world. How on earth do you teach a child to truly and JOYFULLY share (even if it's ripped out of your hands?!!!)?
  • On a mommy level, how do you keep from coming unglued on a child for being cruel to your child? Deep down I know I have to keep momma bear in check, but seriously, how do you not become that mom?
Are you beginning to see how big this is? These are huge concepts that are difficult for most adults to understand and accept, myself included. (Ur, uh, um, you mean that my friends need a place to stay and the only bed I have is "mine" so I should cheerfully let them sleep in it, even if it means I sleep on the floor?! Yes, for the sake of the gospel. "Outdo one another in showing honor. ... contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." Romans 12:10 &13)
I keep going back to 1 Peter 2:22-23 where Peter is explaining to the Christians that Jesus left us a perfect example on how to act, "He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly." They were being persecuted because of their faith but we can apply that example on how to live to every aspect of our life. I'm 100% positive that when Jesus was a child (because Jesus lived a perfect life) he would have joyfully given his play comb. He would not have screamed, tattled, or kept it for himself. (Can you imagine being Jesus' mother?)

I also keep going back to the saving grace of the gospel story. CHILDREN ARE SINNERS. We are not born morally neutral (just hang out with my 10 month old daughter who is already showing a stubborn, selfish, "I've got a temper and everyone is going to know about it!" side.) So how do I make the gospel the central focus of my home where my kids not only hear the gospel EVERY DAY, but live it?

How do you teach children to be Christ like (even a 1 year old)?

Here are the places I'm going to start and please, please, please all you mothers out there offer suggestions that are based on God's Word and what He's asked us to teach our children. (I don't want to rewrite the book, I want to do what works using advice from mom's who have raised God fearing, respectful, caring children; or from mom's who are in the process of raising God fearing, respectful, caring children.):
  • The Bible - I believe it's not only a manual for life, but it's a manual for raising children. Every time I see parenting advice pop up, I write it down, highlight it, and tab it for future reference. (I'm sure (just like everything else) I'll be sharing what I find someday soon.)
  • Model Christ like behavior in my own life by... reading the Bible, giving my family the best of me (oh, I fail that one daily), work hard, show selfless and giving hospitality, be kind and loving, but stern and consistent.
  • My sister Mandy suggested: Start talking about the GOSPEL NOW. Perhaps she won't understand it as a 10 month old, but it's good practice for mommy when the day comes that she will understand it and mom can say, "remember what we always talk about?" It's engrained in Mom's brain before it's in baby's.
  • Mandy also said, "We all have a 'heart' wound and it's a wound that only Jesus can fill. If you do not teach your kids (from day 1) to fill it with Jesus, they will fill it with something else," and the condition of their heart, I know, will be a direct reflection of their behavior, even sharing.
    • Isn't my sister wise? :)
  • Teach my child about Christ and how he acted. When he was beaten, for example, he did not curse, lash out, or show anger towards those who were doing it (1 Peter 2:22-23). By knowing and studying Christ, we become like Him. I plan on making HIM the central focus of every day life in our home.
  • Here's some things other parents offered to help me with this (Do you have anything to add? or anything better?):
    • One of my friends from church told me about this curriculum specifically designed for children starting at the age of 3:
    • A couple from my church read and suggested the book, "Sheparding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp which offers practical advice on how to raise Godly children into God fearing adults. I need to read and reread it.
Tell me what you think. Add ideas. Help me answer these questions. I hope I'm on the right track and I think that blogging my thoughts helped me formulate a plan and joyfully teach this important concept of being a selfless servant, JUST LIKE CHRIST, to my children. I have to believe that if I plant the seed now, to a one year old, GOD WILL open her eyes and she can live a life filled with God's blessings because she lives it for HIM. Age does not matter to God, so help me to become that mom who (instead of being an over protective jerk) models and teaches the true meaning of being of selfless servant, JUST LIKE CHRIST. Even if someone rips the comb from my hands.

Side Note: This whole "mommy ministry" job is so big it's making my head swim, and I'm a tad nervous!


  1. I love "Wise Words for Moms" by Ginger Plowman. I keep in on the fridge so it is always handy! It is a chart that lists behavior then gives you scripture and heart probing questions. So you can help your children recognize their sin, not just correct the behavior. Then it gives a reproof "what to put off" and an encouragement "put on" It also address the offended and the offender, which I really like. So like in your example of someone taking your toy you could talk to her about her response, yes you may have been wronged but did you respond in a way that honors God? Were you quick to forgive, as Jesus is quick to forgive us? 1 Peter 3:9 do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult but with blessing.
    I also like the book "Parenting with scripture a topical guide for teachable moments by Kara Durbin.
    The one I find myself saying most through out the day to my three little ones is "are you loveing that (fill in the blank, toy, book, snack etc.) more than you are loveing your (sister, brother, friend)? What are we called to love the most? Is God honored when we put others first, or when we are selfish"
    It is amazing to see how God uses these instances with my children to point out sin in my own life as well!
    Deuteronomy 11:18-19 is a great passage for reminding us to continually be teaching our children, always pointing them back to Christ and our need for Him.
    Would love to have coffee and a play date with you and discuss this more! Good stuff.

    1. THANK YOU! This is exactly the kind of reply I was looking for: concrete Biblical advice!