Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Dark Side

Last night I wrote mostly about the warm fuzzies of parenting. Life with young children is as messy as it is warm and fuzzy, and in light of that, today's post is about yelling. As hard as it is, I want to be real - dirty laundry and all. A journalist merely relays information, but a writer speaks of the human condition. If I hope to write someday, I must be brave enough to reveal all sides of the human heart - mine included.

On the weekends, Daniel doesn't usually get his ADHD med. Meant for school days only - holidays, vacations and weekends are supposed to be med-free zones. However, we had school days to make up from the aftermath of Anna's December birth, and we've been using some Saturdays to make them up; on those days, we give the med. But with Daniel only having some Bible Study and science to complete yesterday, we decided he should skip it.

Well, he was horrible, from morning to night. Obviously the medicine is working better than we thought. We just needed a comparison. By midday, I pleaded with my husband to take the boys somewhere. I felt like I hated Daniel; I couldn't deal with him another minute. This is the tragedy of ADHD, and the main justification for medicine, in my view. These children, all children, need a sufficient amount of positive interaction in order to develop normally. That is jeopardized in an ADHD household.

How can a parent feel hate toward their child, you might wonder? You have to live it to understand.

Anyway, back to Saturday. Shamefully, I was yelling a lot, which wasn't fair to anyone in the family. Not all the offenses required a consequence - some were just meant to annoy, and were better ignored.

If you only have babies and toddlers right now, you can't envision ever doing any yelling. You will likely feel judgemental toward me for this offense, and that's okay. I felt the same way, back in the day.

I don't know how God speaks to you, but with me, he often uses phrases from the Bible, from the news, from my husband, from a friend or fellow Christian, or from one of my children. Today he spoke loudly and clearly to me about my yelling. I was reading a shocking article about five children who were slain by their biological father. Within the story was a quote from a neighbor: "We often heard the father yelling at the children." That sentence resonated. Feeling immediate shame, I knew I had to stop yelling, for the sake of my own family, and because neighbors might be taking it in. That would ruin any Christian witness, which is unacceptable to God.

The Lord was merciful, in pointing out that I needed to do something about my late nights. I hadn't connected the increased yelling to the lack of sleep, but God did. Beginning tonight, I will be in bed no later than 11:30 p.m. My justification for staying up has always been that I needed time to wind down from a full day with young, needy children, as well as to make a dent in the paperwork/housework. There is always a balance that must be struck, and I wasn't striking it.

When God asks something new of us, it is my experience that he partners with us, as long as we are willing to acknowledge his message, and submit our will to him - the craftsman. We are mistaken if we think he wants us to solve it in our own strength; we only spin our wheels and get discouraged. Mostly, our role is to acknowledge, repent, and step aside.

1 comment:

Steph said...

In my experience, sleep can kinda be like a miracle cure! Hope you get good sleeps. :)