How many times have you seen it? The helpless, ragged mom in the store looking down at a the flailing child on the floor who seems to think that mom saying “No” to him is just not going fly. The fit is thrown. Awesome. How many times have you been the helpless mom? CanIGetAnAmen?
What about your own kitchen floor? Ever seen one of your children getting a good look at the crumbs you didn’t sweep up. Yes, those are moments that make a mom feel super.
The fit. The flailing, fall-down-on-the-floor fit. Why do they do it? Where on earth does that instinct come from? It’s not like they’ve seen us do it. (If your child has seen you throw yourself on the floor kicking and screaming and gnashing your teeth, then maybe we should talk.) But, I am assuming that your children are not simply mimicking what you’ve done. So, why do they do it? Honestly? I don’t know. I’m not a child psychologist, but I do know a few things. I do know I have had four kids try fits on me…and lost.
Teach me this secret, oh mom of four. I know, I know, I sound pretty amazing right now to brag about how I don’t have fit throwers. Now, I am not saying my kids haven’t ever cried or gone berserk about what just happened to them or didn’t happen to them. I’m not saying that my kids haven’t pushed the envelope when it came to fits. What I am saying is that my kids simply were not allowed to fall down on the floor and flail around in weeping crazy fit just because they didn’t get their way.
For example, I have a four-year old son. He’s my fourth, for the record. We were in the kitchen and he wanted more chips. “Sorry Buddy, no more chips.” He asked again, I said “No.” He dropped to his knees, then put his head on the floor and was just about to make a break for the fit when I said, “Stand up.”
That’s it. Stand up. I might say something else like, “Stand up. You can be mad and you can be sad, but you will not throw yourself on the floor, and you will look at me.” If he challenged me further, he would end up sitting on his bed, or he might find he gets a little “laying on of hands.” Usually, a firm and controlled voice does the trick. My husband and I decided that fits were simply not allowed. If you are upset, you will stay on your feet, or you may sit down, you may even sit on your bed, but you will not fall down.
A fit is quite different than just being upset. You bet, little human, you can cry and you can ask why, but you cannot show to me that you will completely lose control just to get your way. Not going to happen.
How many of us have thrown a crazy baby fit before God about something? We may even end up on the floor in tears asking Him why and wondering why He won’t give us what we want. Truth be told, we know why. We know that giving into a child who is flipping out on the carpet will be one of the worst moves we can make. We know that gaining control of the situation and lovingly reminding that sweet child that we are the parent and he or she will not behave like that, will bring about great results. We know why He doesn’t always give us what we want.
God loves us through the hurt, through the disappointment, through the anger, and calmly reminds us by His Spirit that He is in control, He has the authority, and that He will be honored and glorified. Through this we will be changed by His great love and patience with us. He will not be disrespected and calls us to Stand Up in honor and faith.
Next time your sweet pea is about to fall into crazy town, take a moment to get hold of the situation. Tell him or her calmly, yet firmly, “Stand up. You can cry and you can be mad, but you will not lose control. You can tell me what you want and why you’re upset, but you will not be disrespectful.” Try it and see if that sweet baby doesn’t respond. Then, honor God for treating you the same way. For there is honor in owning you’re upset and respecting God during it. There is a strength that comes with humility on your feet. And there are eternal benefits that outweigh the short-lived satisfaction of a tantrum appeased.
Sometimes our sweet children teach us more about ourselves and God than we ever dreamed.