Monday, November 15, 2010

Letting Go of Control...

Back in the day when I was a teacher, I remember a teacher friend saying to me (Sophie was just a baby) something like - "Enjoy this age.  It's harder when they get older."  I don't know if those were his exact words, but it was something along those lines.

I didn't really - agree - with him in the moment... I guess I couldn't really relate to him...

but - Today, his words jumped back into my memory.  And I'm pretty certain I know what he was trying to say. Because - I'm there now.

I believe I am there.  I am at a crossroads - of releasing my child - and giving her a little more independence - all while accepting her for the way God created her.

And, it's hard.

My oldest child is in 1st grade - and some moments are really tough - as I navigate through our relationship.  She's temperamental.  She's a leader.  She's controlling.  She's smart. 

But, don't get me wrong - she's amazing.

I think I'm realizing - we're a lot alike.  We both want control and we're struggling.

What I'm beginning to realize is - I can't control her.

I can't control what she chooses to wear - because she's so sensitive with textures.  I can't control how well she brushes her teeth - but I can keep guiding and teaching her.  I can't control how fast she eats her breakfast - because she's not super hungry first thing in the morning.  I can't control how much time she chooses to put into a homework assignment - because she gets these ideas and goes to town!

You may be saying or thinking - YES YOU CAN!  YOU BETTER CONTROL YOUR CHILD.

To me, it's a matter of us ACCEPTING our children for the way God created them and navigating our way through the relationships.  Each of our children are so different, and I catch myself comparing.

Of course, I can guide her, coach her, encourage her, shape and mold her, and lovingly discipline my child - and I believe I do all of that!

But I can't control her every action and thought - like I'd like to!  The choice is hers and she will face the consequence.

I believe that if I micromanage my children and control every move they make, especially as they grow older -

I become a nagging, yelling, stressed out, control freak and...

I'm NOT going to be that Mom.  I don't want to be like that.

I am doing my best to let natural consequences and reality discipline do the teaching - while continuing to mold, guide and lovingly discipline my children.

This is hard.

So, for those of you who have gone before me - or who may be experiencing this now -


I want to be a Mom who is filled with peace and joy - and I try my best to be that Mom each day as I roll out of bed - but some days are harder than others.


  1. You know I can relate to this. However, I think I have an opposite problem in a way. I want them to be independent, but sometimes need to offer more support. Our house guidelines are that we want each person to be who they are, but with the expectation that we respect one another. I think our society has let kids think they are in charge too often, and there is a general lack of respect. When mommy and daddy are talking, don't interrupt. When you are spoken to, respond. When at someone else's home, school, etc., you are a guest and will act as such.
    I think as long as each couple knows what their own personal core family values and expectations are, there is no wrong answer. We all raise our children differently, but as long as there is consistency within each home, I'm sure our kids will all be kind, respectful citizens! Right?!?! :~)

  2. Myah, what a wonderful post. As a three generation parent, I really concur with your sentiments about not trying to control your child too much. It inspires me to finish writing a blog post for my site that I have entitled "The Fundamental Parental Challenge: Letting Go of Parental Control". When is giving too much really taking? When is the issue really about "us" and not them?". These are important questions we need to constantly ask ourselves.


  3. Myah,
    I love your blog! It is so encouraging to me. I just wanted to tell you that I read a book recently that addressed this, because this has been a struggle for me with my strong willed child (I'm not sure if Sophie falls into that category or not). It is called "You Can't Make Me (but I can be persuaded)" and it is all about helping guide, but not control, your children--you're right, you can't. It was super encouraging to me, and if you get a chance, it is a quick read:) I also read "You're Not the Boss of Me (how to brat proof your 4-12 year old)" and it had great tips on 8 huge areas of character development. I loved it. That one isn't from a Christian perspective, but the first is. Hope those resources can be somewhat helpful! I'd love to hear your thoughts!!
    Karen :)

  4. Thank you so much, readers! I couldn't do it without you...
    Karen, thanks so much for the book suggestions. I will check them out and let you know what I think. Keep up the encouragement, you all! We're in this ride together. 1 day at a time... No Mom Alone!

  5. I must admit I struggle with this as well with Samantha. I do not like the word "control" though. I believe our role as parents is to teach and guide our children to make thier own choices and sometimes they have to make the wrong ones to learn. Samantha loves to pick out her own clothes and sometimes I am a little embarrassed of the outfit she picks out because it does not match, but she likes what she is wearing and she is happy. My only input on this is that it has to be good for the weather and school.
    I also used to get mad at Corbin for not eating breakfast fast enough then I realized he knows that if doesn't eat he will be hungry at school.
    I know it is hard and as the kids get older they fight for more control over thier life. We just have to hope and pray we are guiding them in the right direction. I am not sure how much help if any I have been, but I wanted to let you know I am right there with ya!!

  6. My sister was recently telling me about a book called Different Kids, Different Needs...not sure who the author is, but she said that she heard someone talking about it. It had a lot do to with your kids' personalities and how to work best with them. I think I'm going to have to read it!


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