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Eliza Shares What She Learned the Hard Way about Being a Godly Mother


Oh if only I had known then what I know now and what Eliza is about to share with us! Listen up ladies, this is CRITICAL, life-changing information you are about to learn! It will save you untold heartache if you apply God’s wisdom to your life ASAP!

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Greg (April’s husband) with our son as a newborn


This post is a priceless treasure for those of you who are mothers. May God richly bless your walk with Him, your marriages and your children as you seek to honor, wholeheartedly love and obey Christ! (Warning – you may need tissues for this one )

From a precious sister in Christ, Eliza:

I don’t feel like an old lady speaking to younger women. I still feel very young and find it pretty hard thinking of myself as a woman in her early 50′s. But I definitely am an aged woman as I have raised my family from beginning to end. So, I’ve experienced the end result and know the full spectrum from sowing to reaping. I really hope my life experiences can help other women be the mothers God wants them to be. And HE can accomplish it in our lives if we simply submit to His principles with our children as we also diligently submit to the principles we are putting into place regarding our husbands. They really go hand in hand. To God be the glory for all He has accomplished in my life!

For some reason, however, it isn’t necessarily the pain of what hurt I caused my husband (although I deeply regret hurting him and it breaks my heart that I hurt him so much), but it is the pain I caused my children that hurts the most.

They were innocent and weren’t part of the dynamics of our marriage. You just absolutely cannot imagine how painful it can be to have your children tell you the hurts you caused them. Not sure the rest of my life is enough time for healing for that. I agree that you cannot have a testimony without having first had the trials. I’m not trying to make anybody feel bad about that… I just wish I had learned a lot sooner. But, I’m choosing not to lament over it because it isn’t the attitude God wants when He did so much to accomplish forgiveness for me.


Because my husband has a very meek spirit and he also has the gift of mercy, he was very gracious towards the kids’ “mistakes, sins, disobedient behaviors.” I was very militant with the kids, and lacked greatly in the mercy department. I was really strict and was always trying to keep control of everything and everybody.

  • It hurt the kids to see me control their dad ~ they thought he was the best dad ever.

But I was really tough on all of them too because I was so controlling. They did not feel loved by me. (did you hear what I said??) Imagine your kids telling you that!!

I was blind. All those years I thought I was a good mother. Then they sat me down and told me otherwise. I thought I was going to die of a broken heart. I was devastated. The truth is that the Bible advocates Mercy AND Truth. God always puts the two together. You can’t have Mercy and no Truth, and you can’t have Truth with no Mercy. Look up mercy and truth and you will see how God puts them together in His Word.

I needed somebody like Debi Pearl  (“Created to Be His Helpmeet”) to wake me up and show me what I wasn’t seeing. Her book did exactly that. And I am confident that that is the kind of book God ordained that I read because I needed that to wake me up. I experienced great conviction, as I said, and I repented. I apologized to everybody and now I am trusting God to heal all of our relationships. (For Nikka’s review of this highly controversial book, please click here. April has not read this book as of yet.)

Slowly, He is doing that, and I am grateful. But I will go to my grave knowing I caused such pain and hurt to my precious babies. I am so so so thankful God got a hold of my heart through this book. He has changed my life. Praise God, my children have all forgiven me and we are now working on building new relationships with each other. I know they are shocked to see me so calm and so peaceful. It has given them hope. I know God will accomplish much in His timing.

I should have relied more on God’s Word, strength, and Holy Spirit power when I was raising my kids. I was prideful; I thought I was doing great. I don’t recall ever asking God for His opinion. Yikes! It’s just nuts how you can think you are A-OK and then God shows you otherwise. It’s pretty humbling. But I praise God for His humbling me and showing me who I was and the hurt I was causing. I never want to act like that again…I am determined to continue to learn and grow and trust in God’s power and not my own. I am so dependant on God now and don’t trust in myself. I was so high strung before because I was doing it all on my own. And now, I have God’s peace and He enables me and keeps me on track. It’s a night and day change in my life. And I am eternally grateful to the Lord to lead me to April and Nikka’s blogs because they have been such a blessing to me. Thank you, Ladies!!! And praise our awesome God!!


One area I feel I really negatively impacted the kids is in the area of discipline. What I would do differently now is submit to my husband’s choice or method of discipline for the kids. Resisting his authority in front of the kids by taking over was SO disrespectful!! For whatever reason, I always thought I was pretty good at it.

  • Time has brought the truth to light that I wasn’t so good at it! I was too militant and harsh as a woman.

I think it was a contradiction in itself to be a woman and be that way. It confused the kids.

  • They really wanted their mom to have a meek and gentle spirit.
  • They wanted me to submit to and respect their dad.
  • They wanted to me speak few words.
  • They wanted lots of hugs and encouraging words from me.
  • I was too busy being in control of everybody to be a soft place for them.
  • They needed mom to be softer and dad to have full control.

He also always disciplined in love, and he definitely had a lot more self control than I did. I could get pretty upset and emotional. I 100% believe now that the husband should make the decisions regarding this area of parenting.

I just did whatever I thought was best — I didn’t take my husband’s preference into consideration.

When this happens, the kids can see that the parents are not in agreement. That’s never a good thing either. It makes the kids feel insecure. They need to see their parents in agreement; and if the parents are not in agreement, they need to see the mother defer to the father.
Not being respectful to my husband in other areas also really caused the kids some deep hurts. “No man can serve two masters.” The kids should not be torn between having to please both parents & when they are not in agreement, that makes it very tough on the kids. God wired the kids to thrive in the environment that He ordained for the family. There is a chain of command that God set into place, and if we do not follow that, we will have problems and it will affect the children in negative ways.
Debi Pearl also said something that impacted me. She said that control and dominance are masculine traits and that a woman’s calling is to be submissive and yielding to her husband. I never lived like that and that was NOT a good testimony to my children…now that I am living according to God’s Word, I see the kids noticing and I hope they learn from what I am practicing now — not what I practiced when I was in rebellion to God and His Word.

Unfortunately, I now only have one child left at home. Maybe I will be a better grandmother than a mother! I’m trusting in God’s goodness and mercy. I want Him to use all my mistakes for good, and I do know and understand that He can use all this for good if I use it for ministry to help other ladies. I want to be used by God to warn women that there is a day of reckoning and it just might be extremely painful. It doesn’t have to be that way. God can change us before it is too late.

“A child’s view of God is formed in the likeness of his dad.”

I read your article on “Respecting our Husbands as Fathers,” April, and it was point on!

I am extremely thankful that your statement (above) is 100% true and my own experience confirms it too. I can tell you for certain that God allowed our children to take on more of the character of their father, not me. They all love and adore their dad and are very similar to his personality and temperament. God graciously allowed them to learn to emulate him, not me. It is as though the Lord caused the children to retain what he taught and set by example and reject all the negative, unBiblical stuff I was doing. God put it in children’s hearts and minds that the father is meant to be the head of the household, and they seem to want to live that out whether or not the mother and wife applies it herself.

God honored my husband’s behavior and rejected mine.

You did such a good job teaching the children to treat their father the same way you did. That is how it should be!! In your situation, God honored your teaching because it was Biblical and so He allowed the children to emulate it. Mine NEVER emulated my behavior — thank God!! You have saved yourself so much unnecessary pain. I encourage you to continue to apply these principles no matter what! Thank you for seeking God in your life and learning the proper order for the home before any major hurts occurred. I praise your efforts and am so thankful for all the wisdom the Lord has given you. May God do this same work in homes across our land and even throughout the world for His honor and glory!!

40 thoughts on “Eliza Shares What She Learned the Hard Way about Being a Godly Mother

  1. Wow! It is amazing what God can do. He has to break our stony hearts in order to replace it with a heart of flesh. It hurts to know ou are wrong but awesome to know that the Great I AM is the one who told us and the only one who can heal us.He might take us aside for a ‘heart to heart’ chat or maybe ‘out to the woodshed. Both show mercy and truth. His grace is truly sufficient.

    “Praise God, my children have all forgiven me and we are now working on building new relationships with each other. I know they are shocked to see me so calm and so peaceful. It has given them hope. I know God will accomplish much in His timing.”

    Thank you sis Eliza for the testimony. It is VERY ENCOURAGING. I am so glad God can heal the collateral damage we cause.

  2. Wow! April was not joking when she said we would need tissues for this one. Eliza, this is such a touching story. But there is beauty in it… you see, you have acknowledged where you went wrong, repented and now you are on the right path. It’s ok, because God is merciful and forgiving. As Lori said, he does restore the years the locusts have eaten, so I trust that the relationship with your children will overflow with abundant joy. You are not alone, so many of us, wish that we knew God’s commands for our lives a long time ago.

    1. PrayinglikeHannah,
      I cry every time I read it! And I have read Eliza’s story quite a few times, now. I try to warn my sisters ahead of time so that they don’t read it right before they leave for work and have mascara running down their cheeks! 🙂

      Thank you for sharing how Eliza’s story touched you. 🙂

  3. Faithful instruction spoken like a Proverbs 31 woman. Thank you Eliza for the gift of your wisdom and perspective. Beautiful.

  4. Eliza,
    This touched me and I wept as I read it. I didn’t realize until I got to the end that I was raised in this same environment (thus I relate to your children’s perspective). I knew at a young age I did not want to be anything like my mother whose words cut deep wounds to those she loved. Our home never included biblical instruction or talk of God and it wasn’t until my mid 30s that I had a radical experience with God (during marriage struggles) that brought me to my knees and everything began to make sense. I never held anything against my mother as an adult, but my sister still struggles to this day over it. My mother is also a changed woman, she no longer acts like she did when we were growing up, she is a wonderful grandmother full of remorse for how she treated us as kids – and it’s hard to get her to understand that it’s okay, that was the past and I’ve forgiven her…it’s clear she hasn’t forgiven herself.

    Because of the way I was treated as a child, my understanding of emotional suffering is so much more robust and I can relate to those that experience emotional suffering today – whether it be through their marriage, their family, their friends, etc – and can be a source of encouragement for them. It’s hard to see how God could use things for his Glory, but Eliza he is! Your children witnessed both Godly and unGodly reactions to situations and circumstances, and God will use that to work in their hearts to lead them down a Godly reaction path.

    My child is still young (8) and I struggle daily to not react in an ungodly way – I don’t always get it right, but man it sure does feel great when I do! We can only strive to keep growing and we must forgive ourselves so we can move on and up.

    I pray the Lord brings you peace regarding your past behaviors and that you continue to grow in the Lord’s ways.
    Much love Eliza!

    1. AtPeace,
      I love your screen name!! 🙂

      Thank you for sharing that you experienced this environment as a child – I think your perspective brings a whole new dimension and clarity to Eliza’s story. Praise God that He drew you to Himself and that He changed your mother. WOOOHOOO!

      It is so hard to forgive ourselves. That is the hardest forgiveness to learn, in my view. But – thankfully, Jesus’ blood is more than sufficient to cover all of our sin! And if God is satisfied, we, too, can be satisfied that what Jesus did for us on the cross was more than enough to pay all of the sin debt we owe to God. Every penny of the “billions of sin dollars” – Jesus has paid on our behalf in full, if we will but receive His grace, mercy, forgiveness and new life!

      Praying for wisdom for you! I lost my temper with my children last night myself. We ALL have a lot to learn and much room for growth. I know I do and always will have plenty of room to grow in Christlikeness until the day I die.

      Much love!

  5. In my journey to become a godly wife, I have indeed become a much more godly mother. My eight year old wrote me a note just last night before bed …. “I love the books you are reading mommy, they are making you a better mommy and you don’t even yell anymore”. (Exerpt) Um, hello wake up call!!! Thank you God. Thank you all for sharing your stories. Even if I am unable to restore my marriage, I have indeed restored my relationships with my three daughters. Amen.

  6. I love how Eliza is living up to the Titus 2 elder call and how I am learning so much from her. Her story shows how our disrespect impacts our children, not just our husbands. Being human, no man is an island. Every action we do affects others positively or negatively. Her story validates me and my decision to let go and let God and to submit to my husband, Dong.

    Thanks sister Eliza! You will be one spunky Grandma in the future! 🙂



    1. Nikka,
      You are so right – what we do affects many others – more than we probably will ever realize here on earth. Isn’t Eliza’s story so powerful?!? I know that would be my story, too, if God didn’t wake me up 5 years ago.

      Much love, my friend! I hope you are feeling better!

  7. I just want to share a comment my pastor makes occasionally…its not how we start our race in this marriage and family arena in this case….It’s how we finish…God knew we were going to make the messes we did before He in His infinite grace and wisdom let us raise our precious kids…Eliza I relate all too well…I am mid 50 and lament at times my rebellious and unsubmitted attitude toward my husband that rubbed off on my 3 girls…yup but its under the bridge and now its up to how we finish and call on Him to undue the messes we’ve made…It’s all by His grace anyway…bless you ladies this mother’s day!!!

    1. Pearl,

      Love this! Thank you for this great encouragement.
      One thing that encourages me is to know that nothing can take my children out of God’s loving, sovereign, holy hands – not even me! I love to rest in God’s sovereignty and trust Him – it brings such peace. And I know that He is able to use even my mistakes, failures and sin for His glory – in my life and in the lives of my husband and children. Praise God that He is GREAT and He is GOOD and He is completely trustworthy and faithful even when we are not.

      This has to be ALL about Him and His power working in us. Amen!

  8. Eliza, I have such a hard time with wanting to control my kids! I have gotten better about letting go of control with my husband. I realize that most of the issues with my kids are because they aren’t doing what *I* want them to do! I fear that my pre-teen daughter does not feel very loved by me. it seems like a daily struggle. She’s the “perfect student” at school and all her teachers praise her, but she seems like such a different person at home. She doesn’t want to do her simple, few daily chores and I seem to be nagging her about them all the time. I’M SO TIRED of it all! I’ve felt like I’ve been up against a brick wall for so long. All she seems to be concerned with at home is her self and wanting to play and good off all the time. We’ve tried so many different approaches to try to get through to her, but nothing has.
    So, what am I suppose to do? Just back off and be a kind and gentle spirit and just smile when she blows off her responsibilities???? HELP!!!!!!!

    1. Gottaletgo,

      A mother/child relationship with children still at home is NOT AT ALL the same as a husband/wife relationship. A mom does have authority over her children and it will be a very gradual process of letting go. There do need to be boundaries, rules, consequences, etc… for children. Your husband may have much wisdom to offer as you seek to find the right balance (which changes over time and is different with each child) of love, nurturing, loving discipline, firmness, instruction, consequences, responsibility, etc.

      I’m sure Eliza could add more. My goal is to use a gentle tone of voice with my children, but if they don’t obey and don’t obey, I will eventually raise my voice. I also check with Greg to see if he feels I need to change my approach. How old is your daughter?

      Are you giving her chores and limiting screen time?

      Much love! Praying for wisdom for you!

      1. She’s 12 1/2. She has had the same daily chores for a very long time: her room, garbage/recycling, dishes. On Saturday: dusting and bathe the dog. I don’t feel like this is too much for her to attribute, maybe I’m wrong though. Recently, we’ve been asking her to do a little more. We’re in the middle of a remodel and my husband wants me helping him. I have tried to explain this to her, but she ends up disregarding what we’ve asked and it ends up with me nagging. 🙁
        In the past, they have definetly had too much freedom with screen time and we’ve tried to change that. We tried 2 hrs/day, but over about a months time it just kinda faded back to the way it was. My husband recently got fed up with their laziness and shut off ALL screen time altogether until their attitudes changes for a substantial amount of time and I was so proud of him for stepping up and leading. It was so hard for me too cause we have a 4 year old at home and was a huge adjustment for him and I stood my ground and stuck to it. It lasted for about a week and my husband started coming home and sitting down and watching TV, so it all went out the window. In the past, we’ve tried taking away her extracurricular activities like Girl Scouts until she became more responsible, but she just seemed to adjust and still didn’t motivate her to try harder. His other method of disciple is to yell, belittle, and threaten things that they know there will be no follow thru.

    2. I found it very helpful to read “5 love languages”. I learned what makes both my children feel most loved. Instead of thinking I have a good relationship with my kids just because they are obedient, I have found what fills them up with love and it has been instant change. We are commanded to love them too, I want them to feel that love, not just obey me to shut me up. Very eye opening!

  9. Hello, Gottaletgo!

    April talks quite frequently about that fact that we cannot change our husbands. Not only can we not change our husbands, but we cannot change our children either. Only God Himself has the power to change people. This is critical to remember.

    My first question would be: do both you and your daughter know Jesus Christ as your savior and Lord? This changes things quite drastically because if you have not yet received Jesus Christ as your savior, then you do not possess His Spirit, and if you do not possess His Spirit, then you do not have His power. Without His power, you will be operating by human effort and that will not produce good fruit in your life. Jesus produces “fruit” in the life of a believer; we do not produce that fruit. He said in John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” If your daughter does not have God’s Spirit either, then you are trying to deal with a child who is governed by her sin nature, and that is quite difficult because she will not have the Holy Spirit’s conviction when she does wrong. So, if you would say that you have not yet taken this critical step, then you can go to April’s post on Receiving Christ (not sure of her title for this post) and learn how you can receive Him as your personal savior.

    Assuming, however, that you both know Christ, then I would start by honestly saying that if your daughter is a pre-teen and she has not yet learned how to obey you and your husband and submit to your authority, then you have a tough time ahead of you. Because, if she is not submitting to your authority at this point, then she is probably not going to submit very easily. She is going to have to start learning some hard lessons. And you are going to have to let her learn the hard way now. You will have to give her some tough consequences. I don’t know your daughter, so I don’t know what would hit home for her but always remember, “the punishment has to be greater than the crime in order to be a deterrent.” If it isn’t, then it’s a joke to kids. Whatever material possessions she has, take them away. Withhold privileges like, going to a friend’s house after school or having kids over, watching television, maybe a book she is reading right now (that you approve of) could be taken away, telephone privileges, etc. (Remember, these things are privileges – not rights). She has to earn the right to have them. Also, your goal is to bring her to repentance when you chasten her and discipline her. If she doesn’t show signs of repentance, than the discipline is ineffective. Remember, Proverbs 13:24 teaches parents that if they don’t discipline their children, then they really don’t love them. God disciplines His children – read Hebrews 12:5-13. Verse 8 says that if you are saying you are God’s child and you sin and aren’t disciplined by God (sooner or later I mean; God is very long-suffering, so He usually shows a lot of mercy before he really gives a good “spanking!”), then you are probably not His child. God is the best Father there is and He is also the best disciplinarian!

    Your daughter is disobeying God’s basic, fundamental commandment to children. (If you search God’s Word you will see His only commandments to children are to obey their parents.) See Exodus 20:12, Colossians 3:20 and Ephesians 6:1.) This is Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” God intends for children to grow up knowing this mandate. The parents are to teach them this principle of obeying authority so that when they grow up, they will obey God. Children need to be taught to obey without question and to obey quickly ~ slow obedience is no obedience! God wants them to learn this from their parents so that when they grow up, they will also obey the Lord without question (by Faith) and obey Him quickly (not to doubt or question Him). Children learn submission and obedience to authority much easier in their earlier years. They want to please their parents more when they are young than when they become teenagers. Things change quite drastically once puberty happens. From that point, these lessons are not learned as easily. Children will question things and resist much more once the hormones start flowing. This is a fact.

    Once we were saved and learned what God’s Word said about child-rearing, we started teaching the children by using Scripture when we corrected them. Scripture convicts their hearts just as it convicts ours. (And God promises that His Word does not return void. So, if we use His Word, it “…shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please…” Isaiah 55:11) We taught them Ephesians 6:1, Colossians 3:20, and Exodus 20:12. If God’s Word is in their heart, then the Holy Spirit can bring it to their remembrance to use as conviction ~ either 1) when they are being tempted or, 2) if they give in to temptation, then He will bring it to their remembrance afterwards to use to show them they transgressed. The transgression is always disobedience. This is because, initially, we would teach one of the kids something that we expected, or a principle of God’s Word, or a rule that we had. After we instructed them on this particular thing, if they violated it, that meant they disobeyed us. They were always disciplined for disobedience because when they disobeyed us as the authority, then they were disobeying God, too, because He instructed them to obey their parents. (We did this so that they understood that when God says something, we are to obey even if we don’t understand. “Obey now, understand why later.” God calls us to simply walk by faith even if something He asks doesn’t make sense to us. This is why we teach our children to walk this way. They must learn to trust and obey that what their parents are teaching them is for their good and that we have their best interest at heart. (This is, of course, assuming the parent is raising the children to honor and obey God.)

    Also, there was never discipline if the child didn’t know or understand something. We first had to teach it to them. If they did something that they had not been instructed on as of yet, then we simply corrected by explaining why it was wrong or unacceptable. After they had been taught this particular thing, then, if they disobeyed, they would be disciplined for their disobedience to what we had taught them. When they were corrected, we would make sure they understood what we were saying by asking them, “Do you understand this?” And then we would ask them to repeat back to us what we were teaching them so we knew if they understood or not. What’s good about this is that if they can repeat it back in a way that you know they understand it, they cannot say later that they didn’t understand us. Then, we would have them recite one of the above three verses so they would understand that they had disobeyed their parents and that the Lord instructed that they are to obey their parents. The verse would bring them conviction when they quoted it which produced a repentant heart. Sometimes, if they were being a little stubborn, we would tell them to go read God’s Word and pray about it and to come back and tell us what God’s Word spoke to them. (This, of course, was after they learned to read. Before this, they usually repented pretty quickly.) Kids will get more and more stubborn and rebellious towards authority as they get older (if their wills have not yet been broken). They will not submit as easily when they start to feel like they can think for themselves. That’s why it is important to make sure that at least by the time a child reaches puberty their wills HAVE been broken. It is important to discipline 100% of the time in love (this is the part I struggled with…now I’ve learned to have my husband to deal with certain things if I am getting upset or emotional), however, so that a child’s spirit is not wounded. The goal is to break the will without wounding the spirit.

    If your daughter is doing well at school and then being difficult when she is home it may be partly because, as you mentioned, her teachers praise her. Sometimes as parents, we forget to praise our children. A little praise goes a long way. You and your husband are the ones trying to teach her and train her, so you are coming off probably as “the bad guys.” Maybe she feels you are being harsh. I don’t know ~ I’d have to ask a lot of questions to determine this, but you can go to the Lord if He is your Father and ask Him to examine your heart. Psalm 139:23-24 is a very good prayer. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” God will certainly show you what you may be blind to if you ask Him. Also, pray for wisdom. We need to ask God daily for wisdom in how to raise our children for His honor and glory. Pray for your daughter to have a tender and pliable heart in God’s hands and ask Him to give her consequences because He knows what she needs to go through to break her will so that she gets to the place of saying, “not my will but thine be done.” Make sure you and your husband are in agreement. If you aren’t – defer to him. Show your daughter unconditional love. Even when she is sinning, love her. Make sure you don’t yell or scream. You absolutely must be walking in the spirit at all times. If you don’t, apologize to her. Confess your fault to her and humbly apologize. And be consistent with your discipline. Do not let anything slide. Keep your word. Don’t say something and then neglect to follow through with it. Give an instruction and require immediate compliance. If that doesn’t happen, don’t reason or negotiate; give proper consequences or discipline. Sit down with your husband and agree on what your method of discipline will be. It will have to be in line with the infraction – as I said, the punishment has to be greater than the crime in order to be a deterrent. Trust God to back you up. If you are obeying Him. He will do just that. We also have this promise in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” If you do your part, then God will faithfully do His. Use God’s Word when you talk to your daughter. He will speak to her Himself through it. And if she already isn’t having her own time with the Lord in His Word, this is a good time to have her start doing that. And find Scripture you think would benefit her and have her memorize it. That will be a great blessing to her!!

    God Bless you!

    1. Eliza, yes we both know Christ. My biggest problem is being consistent with discipline. My husband and I will come up with a punishment and then he won’t follow through with it. For instance, she had gotten a new laptop ad was being careless with it and dropped it. My husband grounded her from it for a week and 3 days later, let her take it to a sleep over. I know I can got to him and respectfully tell him that I think it’s a mistake to not follow through with her punishment, but ultimately it’ll still be up to him and then it’s out of my hands. Which is why I feel like I’m up against a brick wall. The situation feels hopeless. I Pray that he will come to know Christ. I’ve talked to him respectfully before about his lack of consistency with disciple but he always takes is as an attack on his character an it never solves anything.

      1. Gottaletgo,
        I do think you can humbly, respectfully, gently, softly approach him about the sleepover thing and day something like, “Honey, I would really love for our daughter to go to the sleepover, too. But I would like for her punishment of being grounded for one week to continue for the full week, please. I want to support the punishment that you decided was appropriate earlier and support your authority as her father so that she understands that she will always experience the consequences that she is first told she will experience. Thank you for being such a loving, involved dad.”

      2. gottaletgo,
        I understand how you feel. Raising children can be quite challenging! We’ve been parents almost as long as we’ve been married, and we learned a lot of really good parenting principles along the way that worked great. But, the most important thing for the kids to see is for the mother to respect and submit to the father. You have a difficult challenge since you and your daughter are believers and your husband is not. You have different desires and motivations than he does. But he still has a God-given desire for you to be respectful and submissive. No matter what good parenting you do for your daughter, she needs to see you respect, submit to, and defer to her father more than anything. This will impact her and influence her behavior significantly. Even if you see he is inconsistent with discipline, it is more important for your daughter to see you honor him than to make sure he keeps his word when he doles out the consequences. You can set a good example for her to obey and honor you by obeying and honoring your husband yourself. That is the one thing I wish I had learned a long, long time ago. I would step in and take over if I saw something like this happen. I would have spoken up and reminded my husband that he said one week and then gave in after 3 days. It was this type of behavior on my part that really hurt the kids. If I had it to do all over again, I would have just focused more on my respect and submission and deferred to my husband when things like this happened. Just realize that how you relate to your husband as the wife when these things happen are impacting how your daughter will relate to you both as parents more than anything else you say or do. I wish I had always respected my husband in front of the children and never corrected him or disagreed with him in front of the kids on any parenting issue. I wish I had just supported w/e he said or did in front of the kids, and then after much prayer, speak to him respectfully in private. I just learned that the greatest parenting you can do is to lead by example yourself and always practice Biblical principles for the family that God set in place. God will honor your desires by dealing with your daughter’s heart Himself if you do what He has asked of you. Try not to get frustrated. Kids go through different seasons just like we do as adults. Just try to be consistent with the discipline you give her and pray for your husband to make wise decisions too. Give her lots of hugs and encouraging words. She’s heading for puberty and that’s a difficult time for kids. She needs you to love her and pray for her. God will stand with you!

        1. Eliza and Peacefulwife, thank you so much for your godly mentoring. Eliza, I needed that reminder about not disagreeing with my husband in front of the kids. That has been a HUGE issue in my past an something God has shown me since I’ve been reading Aprils blog. I didn’t realize how enormous my pride was and didn’t even think of that as pride!
          God bless both of you

  10. Do you have any advice for how to discipline an almost-7-year-old who still has potty issues? (I apologize in advance if this ends up being TMI! I’m just at my wits’ end!)

    My daughter has been on Miralax (half a cap) every day since she was around 2. Some days she won’t use the restroom at all (other than to urinate), and most days she will end up going in her panties. Not necessarily an entire amount, but enough so that they get stained and she has to change. It’s even happened at school, but she doesn’t seem fazed by the possibility of being made fun of by other kids. We’ve tried taking away her game privileges (we have a ton of games, books, learning things on our iPhones), and she’ll be good for a while, but then she’ll go right back to it. And she will rarely, if ever, tell us when she needs to use the restroom – we have to guess when she might need to poop (is there a more delicate word to use?) and argue with her to go. She hates using the restroom, she says it’s boring.

    She’s going into 2nd grade next year and I just can’t allow this to continue, but I’m at a loss. My husband, her stepdad, is the one who suggested taking away the games (and my daughter’s father holds that up at his house as well), but neither of us has any other ideas. I don’t want to shame her. I’m just so frustrated.

    1. M,
      As a pharmacist, I would suggest talking to the pediatrician first about this.

      But, you may also be able to allow her to have a tray with some toys/books in the bathroom. That may help a bit.

      1. Thanks April! 🙂 Yes, we’ve talked with her pediatrician about it and she talks with my daughter about the feeling in her tummy when she has to go, and how to recognize it, and making sure she gets to the potty on time. My husband also installed a little magazine rack in her bathroom; she keeps a Precious Moments Bible in there and reads that – along with a copy of the children’s book “Everyone Poops” to make it more “normal”. I’m hoping it’s something she’ll grow out of but to have her in 2nd grade and still going in her pants…I’m just praying she grows out of it.

          1. I’m not sure, because there are times when she will go, rare as they might be. We always praise her when she takes herself to the restroom. More often than not, she knows she needs to but just doesn’t, or she will tell us later that she went in her pants. If it is a control thing, I’m not sure what to do about that. However, I do think she has control, but it’s not “important” enough to her.

            I’ll bring it up with her pediatrician again at her 7 year check up next month. Thanks for your suggestions!

    2. M, I’m no expert on child rearing, but I do have 2. I’ve been reading about your situation and just had a thought for you. Have you ever tried letting her go without underwear? I know she’s in school now, but when summer hits I wonder if that would be something you could try. She might be a little old to run around the house naked as a JayBird 😀, but maybe a loose skirt around her, or tie a towel around her to make it feel obviously different. ?????? Praying that you get it resolved quickly

      1. gottaletgo,

        That isn’t something I’ve thought to try before! I will discuss it with my husband, as well as my mom who watches her while we’re at work, and see what they both think. Obviously it would have to be at home only, because in public when she wears dresses or skirts, we even make her wear shorts underneath. At only 6 years old, she’s not exactly modest in how she sits and plays! 🙂

        Thanks very much for the suggestion!

        1. M, your so welcome!
          Hey, another thought…… if she has an accident in the floor, let her clean it up (gloves of course). My 4 1/2 year old kept “missing” when he peed and I got on to him time after time until one day………. I decided I would make HIM clean the toilet and around the toilet (I had to stay in there and instruct and walk him thru it) every day. After a couple days, guess who had expert aim. 🙂 time well spent!
          GOOD LUCK TO YOU!

          1. She’s never had accidents like that (she’s never once had a urine accident!), but it’s just a little poop in her panties. Not a whole lot, but enough to stain them and her shorts. I’m definitely going to discuss having her go without panties for a while! I really appreciate all of your suggestions!

  11. I was so blessed by all the gracious things people said when they commented after reading about my journey. Thank you to all who posted a comment. It was really therapeutic for me to see how gracious people could be when they read about the hurt I caused my own children. That’s been very healing for me. 🙂
    The ironic thing about my testimony is that despite the fact that I didn’t have a hold on having a meek and gentle spirit (that does not give way to FEAR), and being submissive and respectful, the Lord STILL allowed me (us) to do a great job raising our kids. They all love the Lord and are serving Him faithfully. People praise us all the time about them (isn’t God good!!). We have learned a lot about child-rearing because we sought the Lord and He taught us. People would ask us for advice all the time; we were even told by people that we should write a book. That’s why I was so blind. I thought it was okay for me to be so militant and controlling because there was a lot of fruit in our kids. But I missed the very critical component of being the ‘kind’ of woman God wanted me to be – loving, gracious, meek and gentle-spirited, submissive and respectful to my husband. It just shows that even when a sinful person applies God’s principles, they will still bear fruit. I find that very encouraging, though! The problem with me was, I think, that I listened to the praise of men rather than seeking God for His approval. If I had asked Him for His opinion, I think He would have showed me a lot sooner that, although the principles were point on, the vessel applying them was still missing the mark. Kids just really need to see the parents fulfilling the roles that God created for the family. Even though we have great kids that love God, I would not have to carry the pain of knowing that I hurt them by not loving them the way a woman should love her kids. I wish on top of all the wisdom that we applied, I could have been the kind of mom that didn’t give way to fear (that’s where most of my control came from) and just trusted God and my husband more. I think a lot of us as mothers are fearful for our kids and try to control things because we are trying to protect them. My husband didn’t have those kind of fears. He was capable of dealing with them (and their sin natures) a lot better than me. I just know now, though, that the kids really needed and wanted to see me be more relaxed and at peace and trust my husband enough to let him have the control. I thought we should be more “equal” in that area but now I realize I wasn’t created as a woman to carry that kind of weight…I am the “weaker vessel.” I know that’s why I have so much peace now – because I let my husband carry the weight he was created to carry and I give him the support and encouragement he needs to do it.
    I have been so encouraged reading this blog – the posts as well as all the comments. And it is such a blessing to know that we have a gracious heavenly Father who stands with us and helps us and is so longsuffering towards us. Knowing that makes me want to be more longsuffering towards others. God has shown me so much mercy and I want to extend that to others now too. God is so good! 🙂 Knowing He is working all this together for good has given me the strength I need to continue on this journey by faith and trusting in Him. God Bless you all!

  12. M, can’t believe I’m sharing this poopy story but maybe it will help. You mentioned your daughter being on Miralax, so she has issues with constipation? When I was a little girl, I was severely constipated. I avoided going because it hurt and would sometimes be on the throne for over an hour. Eventually I found out that the only way I could tolerate having a movement was to do it standing on the seat; it alleviated the pain somewhat of the compacted material somewhat. My parents spent a lot of money on various meds and even manual intervention by the doctor. It was also determined that I had an intolerance to pasteurized cows milk and I had eczema which also cost a bundle in meds. Finally, one doctor told my mother to dump the creams and bathe me with a tar based shampoo, switch me to goat milk and to give me prune juice and bran to help with the bathroom issues. It worked. I don’t know if your little girl has any similar contributing issues going on. But the more natural interventions definitely helped a very painful situation. I have heard other situations where children who are too old to be having accidents were soiling themselves and in each case, the child was avoiding going to the bathroom because he or she was constipated and it hurt. I know how deeply concerning it can be when our precious child is in discomfort so I hope perhaps something here may be helpful. Blessings.

    1. patricia,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story! An intolerance to cow’s milk is not something I’ve considered before. Nor have I thought to have her stand on the potty instead. I could maybe start giving her prune juice in the mornings. How did your parents incorporate bran into your diet as a little girl?

      I appreciate you sharing would could potentially be an embarrassing story! I will talk with my husband and see what he thinks about these.

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