I’m not sure when it started but Kayla’s tantrums were getting more difficult. She would start to hit me and mumble angrily (can sound funny to me at times oops) at me. Was she imitating me when I am angry? Have I set a bad example in managing my emotions recently? While nagging thoughts like that haunted me, I tried everything I had read and learnt about discipling thus far. While it worked sometimes, say distractions or a 3 minute time out, and even caning, it seemed temporary. They didn’t seem to treat what was really wrong.
It got to a point when she was crying non stop, shivering in anger, screaming while refusing to do what was needed. Qingwen and I were quite clueless what else to do. I have to describe what happened tonight to remind myself in case my pea brain forgets.
She was inconsolable at bath time. She didn’t want to bathe, and when I said she had to go for her time out then she ran to the bathroom and insisted on peeing- all the time crying.
When she couldn’t pee, and she wants to see her pee come out every time she goes up the toilet bowl, she cried and fussed all the more. This time, she closed the door while I was trying to assure her that she can try again later. I know, it’s getting long.
I stepped in and said it’s time to stop crying so she can bathe- for the 10th time. She started hitting me, and twice at my tummy where Ian was, where I knew she knows her little brother exists. For some strange reason, tears welled up in my eyes.
I was angry but I was more sad that it has gotten so bad.
Suddenly a question my friend asked me recently popped up in my head. “Has Kayla received Christ?”
As I held her (and she’s still crying and saying “Sorry Mummy”) I told her. “It hurts Kayla, cos you hit Mummy. But you know, Mummy forgive you because God has already forgiven you. Remember Jesus? He died on the cross so that God can forgive us when we do something wrong. God loves us. And we cannot continue to do the wrong things after we have been forgiven, ok? No more hitting Mummy or others ok?”
Somehow, that dissolved something hard inside me. Yes, in me. I don’t know about Kayla really. She did get better. But for me I suddenly felt like I could carry on because I knew I’m doing something right. To just live as a forgiven sinner, a forgiven parent and to parent from the impact of God’s love and grace. The cross held new meaning for me that second. And I believe that revelation or whatever you call it in me resulted in a change in Kayla’s response.
I don’t know what I will do from here. Say if it happens again. Or if a new discipline issue crops up tomorrow. But I think this is a significant step in my parenting, not for Kayla per se but for me primarily.
It somehow added courage to what I’m doing as a mother, a courage that makes me free.