Over the last months I’ve been sharing from my husband’s web site: Intermin on parenting. This month will be the last in this series. We have been talking about different reasons children might not behave as you would expect. One reason is rebellion, another is discouragement, and this one is when they have a weakness. If we take the same approach to every misbehaviour, we will miss some of the most important opportunities to influence our children to do their best. To read the entire article go to: Help the Challenged Child.
There’s a mystery about Vincent. Here’s the explanation of it. Vincent has learning disabilities: special problems that make it hard for him to learn in a normal school room setting. His problems aren’t serious enough to detect easily, and that makes things worse. Vincent’s difficulty isn’t his intellect, but the way he processes information. With the proper help, Vincent will become an outstanding young man. However, if someone doesn’t help him, if he is ignored or misunderstood, Vincent’s true potential will be wasted.
A child like Vincent needs someone to help him conquer his weakness. Helping the weak means to bear part of their load when their load gets too heavy. The problem could be in any area: physical, mental, or emotional. Whatever the cause, this child needs our help. He doesn’t need our condemnation, for that would make his load heavier. Ignoring him or treating him like a misfit does more damage. He needs our help. Some weaknesses will correct themselves in time, but others will always require a helper. Will you be that helper for your child?
There are parents who don’t want to see their child’s weakness, for if they see it then they have to find a way to help. They may not know how to help or where to get help. They may even think their child’s weakness means that they aren’t good parents. And some parents actually see a weakness as something shameful.
Helping Our Children Conquer Their Weaknesses
Learn What Can Change and What Cannot
If we always try to change the unchangeable (like the father of my left-handed friend) we will frustrate and embitter our children. However, it is just as damaging to let our children live with a weakness they could strengthen with the right kind of help.
Recognize Your Wrong Attitudes
One common temptation for parents is impatience. An impatient parent produces uneasy children. We want instant change, but often it takes a long time to help a child become a conqueror.
Remember the verse from I Thessalonians, chapter five? Paul concluded his counsel to the leaders of the church with this reminder: ” . . . be patient with all.” Change takes time. Some foods are instant. Children are not.
Years ago I wrote this phrase in the front of my Bible: “Be patient with others; others have been patient with you.” Remember how patiently God cares for us, encouraging our progress, not damning our imperfections.
Vincent, the young boy in the beginning of this section, is a man today, highly respected, and successful. He is successful, largely, because his mother and father exercised patience and persistence. At times they felt like giving up, but they didn’t, and neither did Vincent.
Encourage Strengths, Strengthen Weaknesses
See your child’s potential, not just her problems. Look for your child’s natural gifts and talents, and encourage those special abilities. Encourage her to do her best, even if she can’t be the best.
Get the Best Available Help
Vincent’s parents found just the help they needed from a school counselor who understood their son’s behavior and knew what steps to take. Finding the helper you need may be hard for you, but don’t give up trying.
Remember to thank God for your child– problems, weaknesses, and all. Your child is still a gift from God to you, and to a world that needs people just like her who have learned to conquer their difficulties and weaknesses. Don’t give up! Your child could some day help thousands.
As you think about your childhood, do you have any memories of your mother and father helping you conquer a weakness or a difficulty? Did they help you to accept yourself? Or did they make you feel shameful for your weakness and differences? The way they treated you may be affecting the way you treat your own children. It doesn’t have to. You can recognize the wrong patterns and confess them to God. He will help you find the help you need. He will change you, and use you to change your child’s destiny.