My beautiful five-year-old daughter Myley reminds me of the ocean. She is full of life like the ocean and so complex and deep. However, we never know if she will be serene, as calm as the most peaceful waters, or if suddenly we will be faced with fierce ups and downs.
Myley has explosive tantrums when she does not get her way. Her will is a strong rip tide. She wants things a certain way and to be able to do what she wants when she wants.
What’s ironic is that she has the cleanest room in the house. What is concerning is that she obsessively cleans it. Not having everything perfect is an issue because it can set her off easily if something is not in the right place. It pains me to see her so worried at such a young age about something as trivial as a toy sitting on its side.
I have realized that Myley is the most chaotic and organized, controlled and uncontrolled child I know. My husband and I are trying to understand how she can be all of these rolled into one adorable five year old.
She has learning struggles and finds it difficult to learn the same way as other students. She has trouble focusing and going from A to B without going the long way around. Yet, she needs this insane control of her surroundings.
I was explaining this to one of my oldest friends who is now a teacher. She blessed me with some much needed wisdom. She explained that the chaos caused by someone like Myley in her mind is offset by the need to control the world around her in any way possible. She is trying to maintain some composure while feeling out of control. She knows she does not do things the same as other children; this has actually made her upset at times.
My friend then gave me some amazing advice. She told me that when dealing with children who feel different from others, we must help them understand that they are who God made them to be.
She told me to encourage Myley’s strengths, such as her creative side and her love of animals. If I nurture the parts of her that she may feel insecure about, I will be showing her my acceptance and love. Rather than punish her for being a daydreamer, I need to understand that God created us all the way we are for a good reason.
Of course, Myley needs to learn to focus and we cannot allow her to just run wild and have tantrums and problems controlling herself. She will have time at some point during the day to release the natural energy God gave her. However, she must listen to adults and respect their time as well.
We have begun to give her time to paint, create crafts and even focus on a new hobby. Knowing she will have this time calms her chaos during times when she needs to focus.
Like the ocean, our children experience ups and downs, waves in their moods. If we do not learn which undercurrents to help them avoid and which waves to ride, we will be fighting a losing battle.
Let’s parent them with the understanding that each child is different and that the path God has for them is sacred.