“He is NOT cute any more!”
Now wait a minute…..
this is my grandson you are talking about…..
…the one who dresses up as Gandolf, Batman, and Bob the Minion (my personal favorite)
Our daughter called to tell me our three-year-old grandson was no longer cute. He had expended all his allotted “cuteness quotient” and his behavior was no longer entertaining.
It was annoying.
His time had come.
He would now be held accountable for his behavior.
My friend, Alice Marie and I were talking about this and she mentioned that her little sister used to get her in trouble on purpose when they were young. Their father would threaten to spank Alice Marie if her little sister cried. It had to be Alice Marie’s fault since she was the oldest and knew better, right?
Her little sister would say “Me gonna scream, Daddy spank YOU!” when she wanted to have her own way.
Evidently, I did something similar to my older brother. I had polio when I was two years old. After being treated in isolation and released from the hospital, I was weak and had to have physical therapy to regain strength and function in my muscles. It was a difficult time for our family, and I must have started to take advantage of all the attention.
My mother asked the doctor how long I should be coddled and favored. The doctor told mother that each child was different, but that she would know when to return to treating me normally.
A few days later, mother said she came down the stairs to hear me say to my older brother – “You have to give me that toy because I had polio, you know!”
The time had come.
I was no longer the sick child who needed extra attention.
I was held accountable for my actions. Polio was no longer an excuse for bad behavior.
It is natural for us as parents and grandparents to require more from the older children and spoil the younger ones.
This is not fair, nor is it healthy for any of the children. I need to guard against giving in just because they are “cute”.
I remember Jay Fesperman teaching us as new parents – “What is cute at 5 years old is NOT cute at 15 years old. When do you want to deal with it? When your child is 5 or 15?”
Such words of wisdom.
There is a right time to hold our children accountable for their behavior and allow them to suffer the consequences when they disobey. They don’t finish their supper – they don’t get dessert, or snacks after supper. They throw their toys inside the house – those toys are put away for a week.
If one of our children is suffering, we are especially vulnerable to giving in to them. Sometimes they know this and take advantage of our weakness. But we are sending a very wrong message when we do that which is – “Just act hurt and you won’t have to obey, or follow through, or clean up. etc.”
We want to be sensitive to the right time to offer extra help or give our children grace for messing up. Doesn’t our Heavenly Father do that for us?
We need God’s wisdom to know when the “right time” occurs to hold our children accountable.
James 1:5 (ESV)
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
We must utilize this wonderful promise from God’s Word!
I need to pray for wisdom from God each and every day as I parent and grandparent.
God will show us the right time.
God is faithful.