Question: I was wondering if you have any advice/thoughts on dealing with a child whose personality is strongly different than my own. She's my oldest, 6 yrs old, and extremely independent, strong willed, and loves people! She is a dear sweet child, but has never been the type to "need mama", it seems. She never had separation anxiety, never met a stranger, etc...I felt rejection from it early on, as still sometimes. My husband and I prayed about homeschooling because her kinder yr proved her to love the attention of peers over our values at times. She goes with the crowd. But the talk of home school made her cry, she'd miss her friends and would choose them over time with me. My youngest is 4 and stuck to my hip, would go anywhere with me, and it's hard dealing with the differences. I never show favoritism, and I pray more for this mother-daughter relationship than any in my life after marriage, I just struggle with my feelings!
So sorry this got so long.
Thank you for your time.
Answer: Thank you for sharing the details of the differences and the heart aches, it did help me to understand your situation. Let me encourage you that YOU were created to be the perfect mother for this child! God didn't accidentally put the two of you together. He has you together so that your differences, together, can draw each of you closer to Him, glorify Him, and testify to the world of His amazing love! You are wise not to take her behavior personal. She isn't rejecting you, she is just being a little girl who needs some guidance.
I too have children that are very different than myself. I strive to understand their needs and prayerfully and very purposefully mother them. I don't take anything for granted nor do I wake up and just "go through my day" I have a planned, prayed, and pursued each of my children's hearts on purpose! I encourage you to do the same! Prayerfully find ways to win her heart. Just as the Lord has reached each of us in our need, in our own place we should reach our children.
Let me encourage you that she does need you! The enemy would like nothing more than for you to feel that you are not needed. Dear Sister, nothing could be farther from the Truth! She needs YOU to actively invest in her! Teach her that God has a special place for her in the home. She has great influence over her siblings and can bring great peace to her parents by her willing and servants heart.
Here are a few suggestions:
Figure out how to say, "I love you" in her language. Does she do well with one on one time? Making a meal together? Shopping together? Creating a craft together? Playing on the swingset together? Find out what it is that really means a lot to her and then make time for the two of you to enjoy that time together.
Tell her you love her at random times of the day. As you fold laundry simply make eye contact with her and with every bit of love in your voice tell her how much she means to you. Tell her stories of when she was little and how you delight in her.
Write her love notes and leave them on her pillow or other places you know she will see them.
Sometimes I'll just reach over and hold a child's hand, smile and perhaps whisper, "I love you" or "you mean the world to me" and then continue on with my driving.
Remember to love her enough to discipline her. Don't be afraid to have rules on acceptable behavior. If she does something or says something that is unkind call her attention to it. Patiently teaching her how she is to behave and speak with "the law of kindness on her lips".
There are many other ideas but for now, I will close and let you ponder these ideas. Please do not hesitate to write me for more ideas, sharing or thoughts. I will keep you in prayer and be faithful to do so each time the Lord brings you and your sweet family to mind!
With much love,
Mrs. Joseph Wood