Conclusions. For now. Sort of. I think.

So.  There are some “issues” in my house right now.  For the first time in six years of homeschooling, I’m feeling somewhat compelled to ship at least my oldest two (ages 10 and 8 ) off to “real” school.  That feeling, however, is really drastic and reactionary, and there’s a 98% chance that it will not happen, especially when my husband said a shocked, “No!  No way!” when I mentioned it to him.

Still.  That illustrates how drastically important it is to me to see some change happening in my kids and our relationship and our day-to-day lives.

I’m still not sure what’s at the core of the dilemma.  Are my expectations too high, or otherwise wrongly placed?  Have I prioritized something incorrectly, or otherwise led us down the wrong path?  Is my kids’ behavior normal?  Is it just that there’s a clash with all the noise and busyness of four active children and my own need for quiet and calm, being an intensely introverted person?

I don’t know.

Thankfully, though, my husband, Martin, is very supportive of me, and so are others who love me, and that means a lot to me.     

Here’s something my pastor’s wife, Nancy, said:

Don’t think you have the worst kids in town. They are charming and delightful, but wild. I have often wondered how your house stands.

That would be funny if it weren’t true.

I think where I despair is that my kids seem to be full of stuff not put in there by my hubby and me.  I really don’t think we have modeled the level of insolence, unkindness, selfishness, and apathy that we see in our kids.  We reap what we sow, right?  So, it seems to me, that after 10+ years of parenting, we should be seeing at least some good fruit, and I have a hard, hard time seeing good fruit right now.

Is the not seeing good fruit because I’m focusing too much on the problem, and not enough on the solution, and not enough on the good things in my children?  That seems to be a pattern with me.  I despair of becoming my father, in that, no matter how good we were, no matter what good we did, he only saw the negatives, and had nary an encouraging word, ever.  Have I become that?  Good Lord, please say I haven’t become that.

My parents, especially my Dad, were ALL law, and ALL obedience, and ALL “behavior.” There was little love, and no heart in it, no mercy.  Our needs were barely considered, and our wants were not considered at all.  After deciding that that’s not the way we wanted to parent, Martin and I have aimed to be balanced: to expect obedience, but to be loving and affectionate, and careful to value our children’s hearts, their thoughts, their emotions, their needs, and when we can, their wants.  So far, it doesn’t appear to be working.  Or, at the very least, it’s not having the blessed success we thought that it surely would reap. 

Also, what is achingly difficult for me to process is that my children don’t seem to trust my intentions.  At all.  It was really enlightening to me when I found out, a number of years back, that other Meyers-Briggs ISTJs also have a near-desparate need to be trusted.  It’s because our intentions are so pure.  Truly.  There’s no guile there, no underhandedness, nothing you need to read between the lines, no ulterior motives.  We’re telling you the truth, OK?  So, when I tell my children that I love them dearly and sincerely want the best for both them and for our family, so “X” needs to be done, it injures me to be met with a response that shows that either they don’t believe me, don’t trust me, or something, because they give virtually no credence to my instruction.

~sigh~

I’m really not trying to bag on my children.  Each of them are incredibly dear and have great worth to me.  I’m exceedingly proud of all of them.  But, there’s also heartbreak involved, too…

And I’m just trying to sort out

  • what I need to keep at without losing hope or faith or motivation
  • what I need to do differently
  • where I need to adjust my thinking and expectations

I felt a need to do something immediately, so I figured that, even if this has absolutely no effect, it’s been something that I’ve wanted to try, but just haven’t had the gumption, and now’s a good time to start:  So, I’ve made all the kids, effective when the current gallon of milk runs out, gluten-free and casein-free (dairy-free).  You may be thinking, “What??  Why??”  but it has been shown that a GFCF diet has been useful in helping kids’ processing skills.  Wes is already GFCF (as is Audrey).  Our occupational therapist suggested long ago that I try Grant on a GFCF diet (his learning/life disorder — nonverbal learning disorder — is somewhat similar to autism, considered by some to actually be within the autism spectrum) and MANY an autistic child has seen miraculous improvement on a GFCF diet.  Also, allergies — specifically to milk — have been shown to be a cause of some children’s ADHD.  My oldest son, Ethan, does not have ADHD, but he has — since toddlerhood — shown some symptoms and behavioral similarities with ADHD… and since it is apparent that other children in our home have a severe allergy to milk, milk could be affecting Ethan, too.

Perhaps that sounds a bit far-fetched.  But, it’s worth a shot.

I figure that I might as well weed out as many biological issues as possible.  I remember before Grant was diagnosed with NLD, when he was nearly 5yo, so many of the issues we had been addressing simply as behavioral were actually tied to the way his brain was (incorrectly) functioning.  So, I don’t want to go there.  I mean, no matter the source of, say, a total lack of self-control, my children are still, when it comes down to it, responsible for their own self-control;  I’m not giving anyone carte blanche excusal pass for their poor behavior.  But, neither do I want to pound my head against the wall combatting something that, with a simple dietary application, could be eliminated, and not be an issue.

Last, though certainly not least, I need to become more diligent in my prayer for both my children, and for myself as a mother.  Every time I pray for myself, I fight thoughts of, “There are so many other things, other people out there that need prayer.  It’s selfish to be praying for yourself.”  But, bottom line is, I need help from God my Father.  I need help as a mother from the only true source of wisdom, energy, hope, joy, and love.

I’ve printed out the e-mails I received from my plea to Nancy and to Martin, and am going to use them as a basis for prayerful consideration.

So:  GFCF diet.  Prayer.

More to come out of the prayer, I’m sure.  But, that’s the focus for now.

Lastly, I leave anyone who needs a little encouragment with a word from my hubby:

Hang in there, my dear, and cry out to the best Father of all for energy and hope. His Spirit will come to you in your time of need. This is the time of year that anything and everything in this world and in the spirit realm that can break in and steal joy will come. However, God is sovereign, He sees and knows your need, and He knows that you want to love as He loves.        

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About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on December 19, 2007, in Christian Living, Dairy-free, gluten-free, Homeschooling, Motherhood, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Parenting, The Dear Hubby, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. (((Karen)))

    I hear you about those wild kids. My oldest is too. I think about sending him off about every 10 hours, even when he’s asleep. Not just off to school…off to boarding school…there’s a nice little military school down in Carlsbad…*sigh*

    I wish I had some perfect answer for you, I think the GFCF diet is a great idea. I’ve heard that it can work wonders. I really hope it does the trick.

    I will be praying for you. It is so tough as they get older. I so often worry about what my son will do when he is finally out there on his own. I have tried to instill in him the things I know he needs. I have apologized for things I know I did wrong when he was little and shown him how we’ve done it differently in his brothers and how there is such a huge difference in their behavior. I hope that he can figure a way to reconcile that and do the right thing when it comes down to it.

    God bless.

    Sara

  2. I sure wish I could give you the answer to fix everything. It’s tough when we go through times like that. Know that there are seasons though and even though things might be hard right now they will improve again. We have valleys but we also have mountains right? 🙂 I pray that God will help you through this and show you just what it is you need to do right now. Don’t give up – especially on the homeschooling. God will bless your family through that and you’ll see the fruit of your labor before it’s all said and done. 🙂

  3. Like MLBAH, it is a season and while not what we want, something we need to go through and remember it too shall pass. I will be interested in your GFCF outcomes as the Princess has a milk allergy (not severe) but her processing can often drive me batty.

    I think Martin’s words are wonderful and prayer is truly the key. Like most moms, I too need to be more intentional in my prayer for my kids (even at this age) and for myself. Blessings to you and know that I am praying with you and for you.

  4. I think you are going about this beautifully! Diet and prayer is totally the place to start!

    Another idea is exercise. What about setting up stations like jumping rope, bouncing a ball, jumping on a mini trampoline, jumping jacks ect. then have them draw a card as to what activity they will be doing and do it the full length of a song. Then when the song is over, draw a new card. This helps is get through the long winters!! Gotta find a way to get that energy out! I have a “wild” one too 😉 ((((hugs))))

    Sending them to “real school” won’t help. It will just let them pick up all of the bad behaviors of all the other kids. So hang in there! If you seek (an answer), you will find one.

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