Loving Her Enough

It was not an easy parenting night for me tonight. The day went well, the kids were happy, things were fine until I heard Lincoln screaming in pain.

“Luca pinched me” he hollered.

I saw a flash as Luca darted up the stairs and down the hall to hide in her room.

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Luca is an amazing little girl. She has never been in trouble at school. She is always reverent and engaged in primary. From what I have seen she is kind to her friends. She is easy to take on errands with me because she stays close and obeys. If I leave a treat laying on the kitchen counter I can count on her to eat it only if she has asked and been given permission.

So why has it been three years of working on getting her to stop taking her frustration out on her siblings by pinching and scratching, and it feels like we have made no progress?

We have grounded her from play dates, electronics, sent her to her room for the evening, taken away birthday parties. We still have incidents at least a twice a week.

So tonight we took away her bi-monthly church activity that she looks forward to more than anything else. She gets together with a group of eight to twelve year old girls and they spend an hour and a half making crafts, learning new skills, and chatting and giggling. They took the summer off and tonight was the second activity since they started up again and she has been talking about it since…well, the last activity that was two weeks ago.

I told myself we would never punish by taking away a church activity, but we have tried everything else and we decided it was the thing that would make the biggest impact right now.

I went in her room to let her know what we had decided and I could hear her sobbing under her bed. I didn’t know her dad had already chatted with her and told her she wouldn’t be going.

I didn’t scold her. She didn’t need it. I could hear the disappointment in every sobbing hiccup.

I told her that dinner would be ready in a few minutes and it would be her favorite. Chicken, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. If anything would make her feel better…

As I went back to the kitchen to put the food on the table I found myself wiping my own tears away. These are the times I hate being a parent.

The rest of the family started eating and she finally slid into her seat as we were about finished. Her eyes were red and her cheeks were tear stained.

We didn’t talk about it again. By the time she was done eating her dinner she was smiling and making jokes with the rest of us.

We ended up having a good night. The three big kids surrounded me in my bed while I read to them and we laughed and laughed at the funny shenanigans of Nicholas. By the time I kissed her goodnight she didn’t seem to hold anything against me. I love that about children.

I pray she will remember tonight the next time she gets angry. I want her to stop and think about her actions before she reacts.

But mostly, I don’t want to be the reason she ends up sobbing under her bed.

But I will. Over and over and over again I will. If that is what it takes to teach her an important life lesson.

I love her that much.

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