Parenting my strong-willed child

My son Harrison is an absolute trip.  His laugh truly seeps into my blood and sends a rush of adrenaline up through my body.  I love it.  And I love him.

But nothing can get under your skin like a loved one.  I’ve realized over the past few weeks that I am inadequate as a father.  Not just because I get selfish with my son but in the fact that I truly don’t know what I am doing.

I’m not referring to the specifics of the job because I can change his diapers and take care of him when he is sick.  I’m referring to the fact that I sometimes want him to do what I want him to do and not just what he needs to be doing.  In other words, I’m just plain selfish.

Vickie and I have been reading this book called The New Strong-Willed Child by James Dobson and in it, he talks about not fixing a strong-willed child but working with them to give them choices to make the best decisions for themselves that lead them to the best future possible.  And within these choices, I find myself trying to get Harrison to choose between two predetermined things that I want him to do and not to do something he wants to do.  The only examples I can think of are in relation to playing with toys or eating certain food items and giving him the choice of doing that or going straight to bed.

Vickie is quite good at giving him choices that are both fun and beneficial to him.  I on the other hand get caught up between do this or go to timeout.

So because of this, I realize even in small things, I am selfish with my son and I don’t want to be.  I don’t want him to do what I want him to do.  If he wants to be a scuba dive instructor off the coast of Australia or set the land speed record and that is what God calls him to, I don’t want him to take a more responsible job teaching or becoming a doctor here in the States.  I want him to learn to pursue God fully without having me around.  Because the reality is, I won’t always be around for him.

And that is why I am going to be pouring more and more prayers over him as the days, weeks, and years roll by.

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