Then Nathan turned 3. And my attempts at breaking his will were turning him into a monster. He was angry and violent. It was so difficult for me as I thought I was the worst parent ever and would end up with a juvenile delinquent... the only 3 y/o to end up in jail. (Ok, not that bad... I'm being over dramatic now. lol )
I needed a new way of thinking and a paradigm shift started in my mind. I began to research everything I could about how the Lord disciplines us... I started looking at my own life and the lives of others close to me. I started searching the Bible & various parenting books, looking for answers. And what I found was completely different than what I went into parenting thinking was right.
Here's what it boils down to (in my mind right now)... the Lord gave my children (and each of us, really) a will. He gave it to us because He has a plan to use it someday. We can choose the break that will in our children and force them to become someone the Lord did not choose for them to be. (or force them to really struggle with finding who the Lord wants them to be) Or we can choose to redirect the will, teach them to handle it and provide them with opportunities to learn to use it in a positive way. It's like what the Lord does with us... he doesn't stand over us FORCING us down a certain path. He gives us the tools we need & the choices in front of us. We can either use His tools and choose the right path or we can ignore His tools and choose the wrong path. No matter which path we choose there will be consequences. Positive, uplifting consequences on the right path and negative consequences on the wrong path... but no matter what, the Lord doesn't stand over us breaking our will and taking the choices away from us. He wants us to trust Him, following the path He has chosen. If we don't He allows us to live with the consequences, forgives us and often opens opportunities to get back on the right path.
So my parenting views have changed over the past 5 years & it's been a work in progress. I'm still second guessing myself often and wondering how they will end up as teenagers and adults. We're only 4 years from Michael turning into a teenager and it's a bit scary when I think about it. However, I have changed my views with much prayer and Bible study.