My little Isaac was being so very rebellious. He was being that kind of kid who purposely does exactly what you just asked him NOT to do. To put it frankly, it was getting to where I didn’t even like the kid– loved him, of course, but didn’t like him much. One day I just could not take it any more. He was driving me nuts all day long and to top it off, he wouldn’t stay in his bed. I remembered a story my dad told of my little sister in the grocery store.
He said he had been shopping and shopping and had finally reached the check out… where my sister proceeded to throw a fit. A serious fit. On the ground, heels kicking, screaming her little three-year-old lungs out. Dad didn’t know what to do but just hug her to him. He hugged and hugged and hugged all thru the line and out to the car (how he managed the groceries, I don’t know). I don’t remember what the end result of the story was, but it must have been good because it became his go-to solution with her and he suggested it as my go-to solution. He tells me often that when I just don’t know what to do with a kid, hug ’em.
So that’s what I did with Isaac that night (it was hug him or choke him!). We sat on the couch and I just held him and held him. He fought me, but I made him. The whole time I kept thinking I was rewarding him for bad behavior and this was NOT going to work… but what else was I going to do? I was so frustrated with the little booger I was feeling downright violent! Soon enough, he fell asleep. I kept holding him. I stayed for quite a while there on the couch with this little man who suddenly looked like an angel with his long dark lashes, perfect little nose, perfect little mouth. I prayed and sang and just stared at my boy.
The next day, he was a changed kid. Eager to please. Wanting hugs and affection at every turn. Smiling (seemed like it’d been a century since he’d smiled something besides a devilish little grin). He wasn’t stealing his brothers’ toys, he wasn’t screaming for no reason… and he was actually paying attention when I spoke to him. The difference was as night and day!
Ever since that (amazing, wonderful, unbelievable) day, whenever he starts to get a bit ornery, I know just what the problem is. He needs my attention and affection… and that’s just what I give him. I try to make sure the balance in his little love bank remains high, but if it’s slipped, he lets me know! So we hug more. He sits on my lap during story time. I tickle him extra. I turn him upside down again… and again… and again. We have a raspberry war (and I let him win).
And soon his sweet, kind, loving heart is shining through again.
Do you have a trouble kid? What do you do with him/ her?