Amy has written a wonderful post on raising boys that I think every mom of boys should read. I had asked her about things she and her husband do to teach their oldest son (who is newly 8 and adorable) to be chivalrous and responsible and, well, a good man. It was so sweet of her to write something for me! Since I became a mom, I've been looking for moms who were at the same stage of parenting and a little ahead so that I could learn from them - asking questions and observing the *fruit* of what they're doing. The moms around me in the real world are wonderful - many of them are dear friends. But few of them have a vision for their children similar to the one that God has given Casey and I for our family. That is why I feel so blessed to have this blogging community of women who are so open and so willing to share what they're doing that works and what doesn't.
Which brings me to the topic of this post - what we've been doing that ISN'T working. Now don't get me wrong, I think Levi is a fabulous kid:) He's very interested in learning more about his Heavenly Father, he loves to help his earthly dad, he's very sweet and funny and loving. He loves boy stuff like baseball and fishing. Just one of my three favorite kids on the PLANET:) But lately we've been noticing a few things we really don't like and aren't willing to tolerate. Mouthiness, disrespectfulness, selfishness. We've tried some things that are *supposed* to work - being very firm, removing privledges, tomato staking, and yes spanking. We've even, I'm ashamed to say, done some stuff that we know doesn't work and isn't right - yelling and lecturing. Everything had some effect. Some things were much more effectual than others. But the bad behavior still lingers.
*I've got to stop and say one more time that overall, he is a great kid. I think that may even be why this has been bothering me SO much. He's just usually so great to be around that this seemed even worse by comparison to his usual personality.*
But after a lot of prayer and reading Amy's post and a few other things like this great post from Molly, I think I've figured what I'm doing wrong. Or maybe I've just opened my eyes to what God's been showing me. We've spent much to much time trying to correct wrong behavior instead of building the right attitudes in him. He's been watching a few too many movies (we're cautious about what he watches, but even the movies that seem good to me have *bad guys* for him to emulate). And he's been around a few bad influences. DH has been working incredibly long hours (bless his heart!) and I think Levi is missing him. It's been rainy and yucky a lot (when it's not really hot) and we haven't been outside as much. I've been busy with figuring out how to juggle the needs of a preschooler, toddler, newborn, and hubby. And, well, just busy. And I think I especially have been turning a blind eye to the fact that he isn't a baby anymore. How awful to think we haven't been giving him exactly what he needs! And how humbling for someone who gets a little prideful about her mothering sometimes.
So dh and I are developing a new game plan. So far it's going to involve a lot of outside, running around, boy-time. A lot more one on one time with dad. A lot more responsibility. And a lot more praise for all the things he does so well. A lot of all the good stuff. And a mom who's a lot more cautious about what he sees and hears, but a lot less nitpicky about the *boy stuff * like yelling (it has its place) and being bossy (he is the big brother, he just needs to learn the right way to lead). I'm really excited about raising a young man! And so a big THANK YOU to Amy and to Molly and to my Father for helping me out of this funk!