By Sharon Autry
Taken from Hold You, Mommy ~ Moments with God for Moms on the Go (Bethany House)
We were clashing about everything: clothes, hairstyles, being upside down more than right side up, rolling eyes and disrespectful remarks to my husband and me. Anything I said made her angry and that made me furious! I was trying to think of something to say to her that would be considered “praise,” but I wasn’t coming up with much! How had we ended up here, on this bumpy detour? I didn’t know. Panic set in as I wondered, “If she’s like this at eight, what will the teen years hold for us?”
A couple of days into this relationship detour, we had dinner with some friends. After we left, their eighteen-year-old son commented to his mom, “There’s just something special about her (my daughter).” The next day my friend called me and passed on the compliment. My mouth dropped open. “What?” I wanted to say. “Are we talking about the same demanding, argumentative kid?”
The rest of the day, I looked at my daughter differently. I had been missing her. She wasn’t the only one who was on this demanding and disagreeable detour! In fact, I think I had driven her there! (Pun completely intended!) That little bit of praise from a trusted friend changed my perspective. I shared the comment with my daughter and she beamed.
From that experience, I learned some things. First, when I have a good word to pass on to another mom about her kids, I need to share it. Instead of noticing the negative things, praising the good qualities I see in her child might rescue that mom from a deep struggle she is having.
Second, passing on that compliment gives that kid an “I believe in you,” message that they could be longing for. When you hear those words as a kid, they have a way of sticking for all of your life.
Finally, I realized that if I’m on that disagreeable road with one of my kids, I need to try to see it as a detour. Detours are time-consuming, confusing, and bumpy, but they eventually wind around and get back to the main road. If you’re there with one of yours, let God guide you so that you can guide your children.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the reminder that detours have their place, and that sometimes the scenic route is a path of blessing.
“A word spoken in due season, how good it is!” Proverbs 15:23b KJV.
Sharon Autry is the wife and mom of 3. She has co-authored two books with her sister, Mom and Loving It and Hold You, Mommy. For helpful mom resources, visit www.momandlovingit.org