Friday, 10 March 2017


Quite a few years ago now, I was in a car accident, with  my three older girls, just our vehicle, turned on its side. 

I was driving and I came around the turn too fast on a newly-graded gravel road, and lost control of our twin cab.  It veered one way and I tried to correct it, by over-correcting, and we ended up on the other side of the road and I had a split-second decision to make - the fence or a huge tree.  I steered for the fence and over we went.    We all managed to climb out of the vehicle with a few bumps and bruises and the car's panels on one side all smashed up.  

I was reminded of that experience today, not because we were driving.  We did that yesterday.    What reminded me today was knee-jerk parenting, on my part, driven mostly by repressed anger and tiredness - and fear.    I over-corrected today, like I did back then. 

Let me explain.   Yesterday we drove nearly two hours to visit my parents, and catch up with daughter number three, albeit briefly, because my parents' town is kind of halfway between our house and her current place of residence.    We took my Mum out for lunch and a bit of shopping and everyone seemed to enjoy the experience.  

But - there's often a but, isn't there?   When we got back to Mum's house, my father had gone through her things, again, and thrown some of it in the garbage, then taken the key to her cupboard and hidden it.  No, he doesn't have dementia.  He was punishing her for going out without him and for enjoying herself.    Lest you think she did the wrong thing, he goes out!   Yep, you can probably work out I'm a bit ticked off.  It's not the first time he's done it, probably won't be the last. 

But, why the connection to knee-jerk parenting?   Well, you see, my gorgeous little 4yo madam is SO much like him!   And today, after yesterday wanting to get stuck into my father and having to walk away, again, I repressed that anger again (just adding it to many years' worth, really) and it came out today in frustration with a little person who just can't take no for an answer, who can't see why demanding and shouting and bossing is not on, who can't see that thinking you own other people is not on, can't see the damage that does to them, and to you.   

From what I've been told, my father was compensated and placated by his mother as a child when he did these things, because his father didn't love him.   And ever since, he has surrounded himself with people who give in to him, who are afraid of him, and he receives any kind of 'no' as rejection and 'punishes' people, particularly Mum.    Yesterday, apart from being punishment for Mum, was a bait to see if I would fight with him, would once again decide whose side I'm on.  I walked away, again, not because I'm frightened of him, but because I won't fight with him on his terms, in front of my children.    One day, the time will be right to confront.  

So, today, Miss 4 continually defied everything I said, continually made excuses for why she couldn't obey, continually made excuses why she couldn't tidy up her little messes, resisted me at every turn, argued about everything, baited her sister continually, and made many loud demands that were unreasonable.   Was today any different to any other day?  Perhaps a little worse than normal, but what was definitely different was my frustration levels, my tiredness, my fear.  I am afraid for this child and for those who love her.   If she doesn't change, she will end up like him!   And it feels like a huge weight on my shoulders to not let her do that.  So, we battle against each other, almost hourly, it seems at present, because I will not let her treat me or other people the way he has treated everyone who 'belongs' to him. 

But, with that determination, and with the fear of how much that could happen, I need to remember that she is only 4 years old and doesn't see the big picture and doesn't understand why today I shouted at her.   I need to not over-correct and end up in a ditch.   Praise God His mercies are new 

Lamentations 3:22-26
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him;
26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

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