Abundant Frugal Life

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The Heart of Children’s Friendships – Part 3 of 3 (A Mother’s Response to Her Children’s Difficult Relationships)

Posted by Lisa

While we and our children have difficult relationships to deal with throughout life, how do we, as mothers, respond when we see their little hearts break? It’s precious to watch our children experience (what to them is) a huge relational hurt. You can see the pain on their faces, you know the pain they’re feeling and, at times, you know you’re feeling it in your own heart much more than they are. Ahhh, motherhood. If only we could carry the burden of all their little heartaches…but they would never grow up.

It is times like these that a mother stands at the crossroad and guides her children in the way they should go. Your children will watch and listen as you guide them in how they should act and react to others’ unkind behavior. If you fail to step up to that crossroad and give them direction, that will make as much of an impression on their hearts and minds.

There are times to let children work it out amongst themselves, but they must first learn the skills of working it out. I know it’s a tiring, thankless task, but you are the one God has given the job to. How you handle yourself means so much.

Do you blow the children off and let them duke it out? Do you yell at them and not get an obedient response? Do you have their hearts?

In these situations I long to be a woman full of grace. I know children who were rotten when they were young and grew up to be perfectly fine adults. I’m one of them! I want to give other peoples’ children the grace to grow up and mature. I don’t want to judge them or their parents. Not everyone parents the same. There are many different philosophies, methods, etc. Differences can be extreme at times, but we all (for the most part) love our children and seek to do what is best for them.

Not only do I want to be gracious in my thoughts, I want to be gracious in my speech. I remember countless times of comforting little hearts. When something went wrong with a friendship, instead of gossiping and saying something like, “She’s a brat”, I would ask my children how the situation made them feel. I would ask them what they would have done differently, how dealing with an issue straight on would have been better, and when I honestly could say it, I would say, “I’m glad you don’t do that and hurt other peoples’ feelings.”

Listening and talking through friendship issues, and praying with your children are some of the biggest helps you can offer them as you stand at that crossroad for them and with them as a mother.

My children enjoy one-on-one time with me. It seems funny because we’re all home together 24-7-365. My husband even works from the home so we are all really together all the time. You’d think my children would be sick of me.

When we have “Mommy and (insert name of child) time”, we go into my bedroom, close the door, sometimes eat a snack/drink hot chocolate and talk. Sometimes there is an issue on the heart he/she wants to discuss. Sometimes I start with asking questions, or I have them fill in the blank with sentences like, “When I’m a grown-up I will never _____.” I see where there hearts are with those kinds of questions. It’s a precious time – especially if I get a back rub.

Sometimes you just have to take a hit for your child. I will allow myself to be the scapegoat if my child feels he/she is in a predicament. I’m willing to look like the bad guy if it saves major face in certain situations. That can be a tricky though. We want our children to take a bold stand for truth and what is right. However, there are times when their young immature hearts can’t handle peer pressure. I’m fine with them saying, “My parents won’t let me do that.” if they’re tempted and pressured beyond their own abilities and need me as their out.

Finally, though I hurt for lonely hearts, I know that loneliness is far better for a child than bad influence. I would rather my children make friends with books and use their imagination in self play, and play with one another than keep company with corrupt acquaintances. I would rather they be painfully lonely than endure what long term consequences come from keeping bad company.

You’re in a serious, precious position of guardian over your children. Keep at it, press on, this time is short. I know it doesn’t feel like it when you’re in the thick of diapers and spit-up, but God is at the crossroad for you. Lean on him.

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