I have four pretty great kids.  They aren’t saints by any stretch of the imagination.  They have their flaws just like every other person on this earth.  Overall though I can say, they have pretty good behavior most of the time. So far they are growing into good-hearted people who love the Lord.

Then there ate the times when I shake in frustration because none of what I just wrote seems to be true.  At the moment I feel like the worlds most magnificent parenting failure.  I wrack my head for reasons things seem to be going so wrong. What’s changed?  What did I do?

When I get over the moment and take a more pulled back view, I have come to realize something.  Children go through cycles. There are times when they just aren’t themselves.  They get away from behaving and treating others the way they usually do and the reasons why can seem to be a great mystery.  I’ve learned if I have grace and patience they this phase likely won’t last forever.  They usually come back to themselves with time.

I usually notice during these periods they are sleeping more, eating more, and maybe even complaining of some aches and pains.  Perhaps they are about to or are in the middle of a growth spurt? That changes their hormones. Perhaps their rapidly changing bodies aren’t the reason for the shift, maybe there is something else going on too.  I just have to remember that it’s likely not going to last forever.

The most significant thing I’ve learned in 12 years of parenting and four kids is that I have to remember that I’m a broken sinner just as they are. That I rebel against my father in heaven at times when I don’t even realize it yet, he loves me and extends his grace without measure. When I shift my perspective in this way, and I see my children the way God sees me everything changes. I’m a different person who can handle things better. Yes, you may need to sit them down and in plain language explain what you see and what the consequences will be and follow through with them.

But remember you are reaching for their hearts. They are not little robots to program.