Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Smashed Windows and Angels: Parenting In The Extremes

If, like me, you are blessed (I convince myself of it daily) to have a child with an extreme temperament then you will be familiar with the following description.

Passionate, emotional and often loud, the child with an extreme temperament will throw themselves, heart and soul into the things that are important to them.  Emotional reactions will often be violent and physical, and they will sometimes be confused and even frightened by the strength of their own emotions.  Happiness can easily and swiftly transform into rage.  Utterly convinced and un-persuadable, they will immerse themselves in their beliefs (even if they are incorrect).  Yet at the same time they have a soft heart towards others and take a passionate stand against injustices.  

We find ourselves parenting one of these almost indescribable creatures who swings from the rafters in joyous celebration and sobs from the depths of his soul. 

One minute he is smashing windows (double glazed - how?) with a football and screaming because he thinks his younger brother is laughing at him.

The next he is serene, face shining, telling us about the angels he has seen and how much he loves to be in the presence of his friend Jesus.

There's no doubt about it, he is an odd boy who makes us laugh and cry in equal measure.

We love a challenge, but how, oh how, do we parent a child like this?


I refuse to be discouraged by the negativity surrounding anger.  I refuse to allow his anger to be his identity.  I refuse to let this anger define the rest of his life. 

I choose to believe that my boy, passionate as he is, will use his anger for injustice to make a difference in this world full of evil.  I choose to believe that his Jesus, who he adores, will use him in ways I can't even imagine.


I refuse to pretend we can do it all ourselves.  I refuse to play the 'I'm a great mum' game.  I refuse to become all-knowing in my self-sufficiency.

I choose to depend on our God who promises to be enough.  I choose to let Him take the credit.  I choose to ask Him to be generous with wisdom.  I choose to let Him father me as I mother this boy of extremes.


I refuse to squeeze my boy into a box of 'being normal'.  I refuse to try and make him into someone he is not, and can never be.  I refuse to be embarrassed about his eccentricities.

I choose to embrace the boy he has been created to be.  I choose to love him, including all his quirky and odd ways which make me feel uncomfortable sometimes.  I choose to love despite the pain.  I choose to accept him and present him to the world around us as an accepted boy.

And so, as our boy decides to do body-building poses in front of the mirror instead of getting dressed, or forgets to wear his underpants to school again, or comes home full of his news about how he has saved yet another boy from 'the bullies' at school, I am overwhelmingly grateful for all he brings to our lives. 

There is no doubt in my mind that the world would be an infinitely more boring place without him in it.

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