When Your Kids Need You To Be Stubborn

When Your Kids Need YOU to Be Stubborn // jessconnell.com

We all start out with high hopes for our children.

But over time, as moms, we get worn down.

The years… the fussing… the hormones… the reality of daily life with sinners– it all swirls together and we find ourselves in a mental “place” we could not have foreseen when we stared down at our newborn with awe and a fierce resolve to do right for this amazing new little person. It can be easy to give up and give in.

Once-high goals, like:

  • preschoolers who pleasantly obey and don’t throw fits
  • children who work with diligence in their schoolwork
  • kids who learn to sleep well and gratefully eat what they’re served
  • good communication & relationships with our teens
  • youth who exhibit wisdom in opposite-sex interactions and relationships
  • children who know the Gospel and may prayerfully submit themselves to God

sometimes fade over time and turn into:

  • preschoolers who leave me alone and give me some peace and quiet, or at least have a diagnosis that tells me why they can’t.
  • preschoolers who have figured out how to appease us just enough that we don’t get to “three,” or get mad enough to take away their toys
  • children who don’t make any waves at school
  • embracing internet validation about why our kids can’t sleep and eat well
  • being thankful for any relationship at all with our teens
  • youth who don’t do too many visible bad things in relationships with the opposite sex
  • children who know how to play by the rules: sit quietly in church, not hit, not cuss, not roll their eyes to your face, etc.

What I want to encourage you toward, today, is long-range stubbornness in your mothering.

Now, stubbornness isn’t always a good thing.

Stubbornly refusing to submit yourself to God and insisting that you know better than He does is wicked. Stubborn commitment to an ineffective, unbiblical parenting method is a commitment to future regret. Stubbornly refusing to seek forgiveness from those you have wronged (including your kiddos) is pride.

But what I’m talking about is a different sort of stubbornness.

Here are some synonyms:

  • tenacity
  • persistence
  • firmly committed
  • relentless
  • refusal to give up

This is a gritty, determined resolve to do whatever it takes to see something through, as much as it is within your power.

 

THIS IS STUBBORNNESS FOR THEIR GOOD.

 

I think this is a missing element in our collective mothering.

Oh, don’t get me wrong– I see people determined to “just get through” tantrums, sleepless nights, or “terrible twos.” And there seem to be a lot of parents whose goal is just to “hang on and make it through the teen years.”  Some moms appear firmly committed to Pinterest-worthy snacks, Pottery-Barn-catalog bedrooms, designer kids’ clothes, and a busy schedule full of activities. Others are stubborn about sideline things like cloth diapers, a particular parenting book, which sort of carseat they’ll use, and why they won’t use Tylenol or vaccinate.

But our children don’t necessarily need those things– what they need is determined mothers with whole-hearted, full-bodied, blazing-passioned, fierce devotion to their maturation and character.  

They need moms who are firmly committed to LIVING AS Christians, and parenting THEM according to the Bible.

Our children need mothers who will:

Our children need our stubbornness. 

But be careful what you’re stubborn about! It can be easy to major on sideline issues and miss the main things. It can be easy to focus on external conformity but miss the internal things happening in their hearts.

Are we focused on sowing seeds of

  • sports,
  • organic food,
  • made beds, and
  • classical education

instead of seeds of

  • truth in their hearts,
  • biblical thinking, and
  • an eternal perspective

that may — by God’s grace– lead them on the path to eternal LIFE?

 

Paul put it this way in his letter to the church at Galatia:

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Gal. 6:7-9)

Do you see it there in the last six words– “if we do not give up?”

What that means for us is:

Oh, Mama, don’t give up! Don’t grow weary. BE STUBBORN!

  • When you are fighting tantrums, stubbornly hang on, one-time-longer than they do, FOR THEIR GOOD. Don’t give up! Sow to the Spirit! Sow self-control and peace.
  • When you are insisting on diligence in the way they do a chore, keep on training and encouraging them. For their good, DON’T GIVE UP. Sow perseverance and self-mastery.
  • When you are toe-to-toe with a rebellious pre-teen or teen who wants to do things the world’s way in their attitudes and actions toward the opposite sex, and you feel like backing down because they’re just so stinking strong-willed, HANG ON AND DON’T GIVE UP. Sow to holiness (set-apartness) and Gospel truth and Christlikeness.

They need you to be stubborn for their good. 

As their parent, you have:

  • an awareness of their long-term good that exceeds what they are capable of seeing.
  • a fierce, loving commitment to their long-term joy and peace in life
  • a familiarity with the consequences of wickedness, or laziness, or cruelty, or selfishness
  • experience-laden wisdom that they do not yet possess.

So, press on, Mama!

Sow to the Spirit. Sow seeds of wise parental control in their choices, and pray that the Spirit of God will save them, take up residence in their hearts, and work self-control in their hearts. Sow the Gospel in their lives. Sow God’s Word in their hearts. Sow wisdom in their thinking.

Galatians 6:7-9 // jessconnell.com

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” ~Gal. 6:9

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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7 Responses

  1. Carissa says:

    Convicting! Thank you! Such a hard thing to do at times. I have definitely found myself weary with it all at times and not been stubborn enough, so we pay for it.

  2. Jessica says:

    I think for some personality types and high energy people this comes somewhat more naturally but it IS a challenge for all moms to some degree at least. For me it’s a huge challenge. So thanks for the reminder. Now to ask God for loads of wisdom as to what things to make issues daily. I need to know the issues that are crucial to be super firm about. Then the times to relax a bit more.

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