Sunday, March 15, 2009

Witts end

Looking at the sweet face Izzy makes in this picture, one might believe she is a precious little princess who could do no wrong. What's the famous saying, "Pictures can be deceiving." I don't know if that's it exactly, but this picture is truly deceiving of my little Izzy.

From the day Isabelle was born she has made herself known with her continuous loud screaming as an infant to her now sassy tone and talk. She is my hardest child to deal with, to understand, and sometimes to like. I have prayed for her and over her more than the boys combined. I have shed more tears about being a parent to her more than the boys combined. I really don't know what else to do with her or for her.

We have raised the 3 kids relatively the same from my point of view (someone slap me with reality if this is not true- please!) The boys can get a wild hair every once and awhile where they want to walk the line of defiance and disobedience just to see what they can get away with. I think that's normal- I did it myself. The difference with the boys and with Izzy is that, she doesn't care about the consequence or correction. The boys will quickly come to a place of repentance. Not Izzy. She will apologize, serve her time, and 10 minutes later make the same bad choice with the same bad attitude as if she knew she was making the same bad choice, but didn't care about the consequence again.

We had a few episodes tonight before bed, so I probably sound like a very negative parent, but I have had it! Her is the hard truth- I do not like being around her. I can't tell you a time that I've said I had 1 full great day with her. She makes my life very stressful and our home very stressful. It's as if nothing I have taught her about how to talk to people, how to treat people, or what is ok or not ok has sunken in. Today I feel like throwing in the towel with her, because she shows no signs of "getting it" or wanting to get it.

So that brings me here to this blog entry. First, I read my devotional on wisdom- itronically it was about discipline (Proverbs 15). I then proceeded to cry my eyes out wondering how I had gone so wrong with her, wondering if she was doomed to have a life of definace and disobeience and desperatlely asking God to deal with her because clearly I wasn't doing it correctly. Finally, I called Brenton at work to vent some more and here I am, venting to anyone that is still reading this.

I LOVE my daughter, I would give my life for her, I would travel to the moon and back for her. But to be honest in this moment, I don't like her- and I am not sure what she needs from me, to make her a more enjoyable person to be around because she is bringing me and others around her down.


  1. This might sound harsh, but with an open heart and mind, I hope you will receive it.
    The problem is not with Izzy. The problem is with you.
    It's not unusual for kids to be defiant, strong-willed, etc. The hard truth is that she is that way because you have allowed her to become that way by being inconsistent and/or late in your discipline.
    In previous posts, you've admitted to correcting and correcting, over and over and over again until you blow up in a ball of fury (ie: "Wits End"). This is the problem. Start saying "no" once and ONLY once, and if she doesn't obey, give her a spanking. Not a time out. Time outs tell your child, "I don't like you right now and I want you to go away for a while. You were bad so you are disconnected from us for a time." Kids brew in the corner and get bitter and hurt. Spankings bring immediate "purging of sin" and restoration to the family. The key to this will be spanking right away (ensuring you're not spanking out of anger or frustrating), and spanking until she is repentant. Be sure to pray with her afterwards, too.
    Finally, you need to be willing to be inconvenienced to do this. It will not make your day easier. It will be harder at first. But isn't it worth it for your daughter's heart? Is anything more important? If your plan for the day gets screwed up, but your daughter overcomes her flesh, that's a good thing.
    Hope it all goes well for you and your family.

  2. Wow, Steph -- we've all had those breaking point days. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. It sounds like it's time for major changes, and I'd like to suggest this book:

    It's only about $6 and it will be one of the greatest investments ever. I read it over and over again and I'm encouraged and challenged every time. It's an easy read, too.

    We'll be praying for you guys!

  3. Anonymous, thank you for your words, I do accept them with an open-mind. I also fully own that this is about me and less about her. I should add that our family has always used the rod (spanking) as a form of discipline. We rarely use timeouts. My struggle is how Izzy doesn't care about he spanking or it makes her more aggressive and angry. The boys absolutely fear the spanking, but my daughter does not- I have to draw the line somewhere, I can't just spank her harder until she "breaks" or submits. I believe all children react differently to different forms of discipline and I want to use one with Izzy that she responds and changes her heart rather than her immediate action. That is my biggest struggle.
    We have tried to many different things, and we will continue to because you are exactly right, her heart matters more to use than anything.
    Thank you for your words.

  4. Thanks for taking them openly and not taking offense. I've been reading your blog for a while now and I can tell you love your family.
    However, I do think you CAN spank her until she "breaks." I think if the rod doesn't bring brokenness, it will always be ineffective. You have to help her come to repentance.
    Pro 20:30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so [do] stripes the inward parts of the belly.
    blessings to you and your family.

  5. Steph - as always, I appreciate your honesty and your humility. I know you love her and want to do what's best for her in every aspect. I will be praying for you and Izzy, especially that God shows you what to do next in dealing with her.

  6. Steph - Several things. Izzy is the most loving little girl and very cute and she is just that...a girl. You are comparing her to boys. Boys are different. I believe girls are more strong willed and independent so she needs to be loved differently. Also, she was added to your family in a moment of chaos, Jake was still very little, you had to deal with raising both. Maybe what she needs and desires is more one-on-one attention. You need to find out why she is acting out, not just react to her acting out. Get to the root of it. She is screaming for more attention inside. Also, think about how much stress all the changes in the past year have given to you, it is even more for a litle 4 year old who was used to having her mom around 24 hours a day and both of you home in the evening. Her world has been flipped upside down. Boys just deal with change better. Just know, you love her and she will turn out awesome. Believe me, we all have these periods of time as they are growing up, especially with those adorable girls of ours!

  7. Oh I know where you are coming from---being at your wits end!!! I feel like I'm at my wits end with Justin (5) so many times. But I felt that way with Haeley and Gabe also. They are now 11 and 8 and I think they have turned out pretty well. ;) However, we didn't discipline them the same. They don't all react to the same type of discipline. We've found that this is true with Justin too. Parenting is not an easy road we've questioned ourselves so many times. And I have felt like I have failed them time and time again.

    Justin is a lot like Izzy---spanking him makes him makes him more aggressive and angry as well. We have prayed and prayed and prayed for wisdom in dealing with Justin and reaching his heart. We picked up the book "The 5 Love Languages for kids" and in it there is a chapter on anger and love. It was really enlightening to me and it has helped us in dealing with Justin. Also discovering that his primary love language is quality time has been great! We have found that with him spending quality time with him has made a huge difference. He still has his outbursts, but they are fewer and far between.

    About a year ago I taught him James 1:19-20, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry...for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." I would have him quote it to me whenever he was having an outburst and then we would talk about whether he got angry slow or fast and what did the Bible say about that. It was really good for me to, because it helped me to model that behavior to him.

    I wish there was a formula that worked for all, but there isn't. I will pray for you and Brenton as you guys are dealing with reaching Izzy's heart. I know from experience how heartbreaking it is when you can't figure out how to reach your child. ;)


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