During a lesson at Church today, a mom burst out a question about how to handle her stubborn daughter. She cried as she described how difficult it is to get her to do ANY-thing she says.
I felt reinforced (especially after The Saga last night).
Immediately, numerous women starting piping in with their experiences with raising their own children. After a large discussion, the consensus was: the most important thing to do is to love them and teach them that Heavenly Father loves them.
I thought this was interesting, mostly because I was probably looking for a different answer. I had been brainstorming creative ways to punish my 7-year old, not love him, (who, by the way, refused again to take a shower before church).
The teacher said that she recognized very early on that her stubborn, oldest son would never do anything for her, or for any other person. She knew that his motivation had to be greater than that. She decided that if her son felt Heavenly Father's love that this would be his motivation, rather than her nagging and begging. She said that he is now a happy adult because of many good decisions he has made.
Later, after church, my 7-year old asked me if he could give the Family Home Evening lesson tomorrow night. I said, a little surprised, "Sure!" And he said, "Thank you, Mom!" and gave me a big hug. We have had our kids help us with lessons, but never give their own. He raced around looking for ideas and gave everyone else assignments for the night. I was completely thrown back by his delight in being in charge of teaching his family about the gospel.
I think the teacher today had a valid point. When we feel the Spirit, or Heavenly Father's love, we are more motivated to do good things, even if we are 7 and determined to do the opposite of whatever mom says.