Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Time and attention - the most precious things in the Universe


I only have one child, so you would think that I don't have deal with jealousy issues.

Well, somehow my son managed to be jealous to his father, cousins, random adults and even the phone.

Just when I would be talking in the phone, in the middle of the conversation, he would come to me to ask something.

Nothing really important, just some random fact or piece of information he supposedly needed just now.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Or he would be shouting mom, I need help. I need a sandwich. I want you to see this, just about anything urgent, according to him.

The situation would escalate to me yelling at him to be quiet while I talked on the phone and him yelling me back or crying his eyes out because I was a bad mother.

He would actually say that to me, you are a bad mother, he would scream me.

Let me tell you that it can break your heart hear your six year old son, sobbing his heart out and telling you that you are a bad mother.
Deuteronomy 6:7  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 

Other moms would tell me that it would pass.

That their children would do it also.

That it was normal and he just wanted the attention.

I knew he wanted the attention.

But what I didn’t know was, how to give him a feeling that I was there for him but that at that moment I had to attend to someone else.

How to teach him to be considerate, to see things from other person’s point of view, without a sibling?
“The family should be a closely knit group. The home should be a self-contained shelter of security; a kind of school where life’s basic lessons are taught; and a kind of church where God is honored; a place where wholesome recreation and simple pleasures are enjoyed.”~ Billy Graham

Finally I had to sit down and pray.

The situation was out of hand.

I was going against my principles.

I was shouting at my son, getting angry at him.

And he was interpreting it as I didn’t love him, that he didn’t matter enough to me to leave the phone or the other person and give him my attention.

He wanted to be the center of my attention.

But he was at an age that he needed to learn to wait his turn.
“A child needs both to be hugged and unhugged. The hug lets her know she is valuable. The unhug lets her know that she is viable. If you’re always shoving your child away, they will cling to you for love. If you’re always holding them closer, they will cling to you for fear.” ~ Polly Berrien Berends

I had been practicing a stern look with him.

I have always loved Mary Poppins movies and movies and books about nannies and how they would just look someone and they’d be quiet at once.

I thought that was phenomenal.

I didn’t want my son to be afraid of me and calm down because of that.

But I wanted to give him a bodily sign that what he was doing was incorrect; instead of trying to yell harder than he was shouting.

So, I tried the same thing with the phone.
A wise person truly said, “It ought to be as impossible to forget that there is a Christian in the house as it is to forget that there is a ten-year-old boy in it.” ~ Roger J. Squire

I would raise my hand, sort of talk to the hand gesture, combined with the stern look.

Besides this I had a talk with him where I explained that it was impolite of him to interrupt when I was talking with other people or on the phone.

I explained that he was the most important thing for me but he needed to wait his turn.

Then I promised to give him my full attention.

When I was a child, I remember how disappointed I was when my parents wouldn’t keep their promises, no matter how tiny things they were.
Matthew 7:12  “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

This is why I have an absolute, if you give a promise you must keep it, no matter the cost policy.

I never want my son to lose his confidence in me.

If I promise something, I’ll keep it, period.

So, every time, he would stand there.

Looking at me with his big eyes, his lips trembling, sometimes his whole body trembling with the energy charge.

Sometimes he would start talking and I would give him another look.
I believe that if an angel were to wing his way from earth up to Heaven, and were to say that there was one poor, ragged boy, without father or mother, with no one to care for him and teach him the way of life; and if God were to ask who among them were willing to come down to this earth and live here for fifty years and lead that one to Jesus Christ, every angel in Heaven would volunteer to go. Even Gabriel, who stands in the presence of the Almighty, would say, “Let me leave my high and lofty position, and let me have the luxury of leading one soul to Jesus Christ.” There is no greater honour than to be the instrument in God’s hands of leading one person out of the kingdom of Satan into the glorious light of Heaven. ~ Dwight L. Moody

And when I ended the phone conversation my time would be just for him.

It was hard, for us both.

But what I learned is that the most precious thing for my son was my time and attention.

That was what he craved for and that was all that he wanted.

Maybe it was a minute that he would invent something he supposed came to tell me and run back outside to play.

Maybe it would be five minutes to make him a sandwich and watch him eat it.

Maybe it would take half an hour of reading with him or sitting next to him while he watched the TV.
Proverbs 1:8
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

But if I gave him the time when he asked, he would be perfectly happy to continue without me.

Now he’s bigger and he doesn’t ask my time and attention the same way.

And to tell the truth, it makes me sad.

He’s almost ten, so it’s time he learns to be more independent, to do more things by himself, to not to depend on me.

But being the most important person for your child is something precious.

Something that nothing else can replace.

And I miss it. I miss my baby.

155 comments:

  1. What wonderful advice. It is so hard to do sometimes but it's so important.

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    1. Thank you Ellen. And you're right, it's hard but really necessary to do.

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  2. I know some adults who still don't know better than to not interrupt and it's frustrating. Sometimes my 8 1/2 year old son still forgets to wait a moment if I am on the phone. What's even worse when everyone is in the living room and it's quiet, but the moment I take a call everyone is talking to one another. Really?? Ahhh people! :P

    Your son is adorable by the way, it's always hard to watch them grow up while at the same time amazing.

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    1. He is the cutest, Kisa, lol. I have noticed the same. As soon as I have the phone in my hand the circus arrives. It's unbelievable sometimes.

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  3. He is still very young, and it will pass.. you are his entire world! Enjoy it, because when they get a little older they want nothing to do with you..

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    1. You're so right Kung Phoo. I am already afraid when that will happen.

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  4. Let me just say, your son is absolutely adorable!! My son is 6 too and I know all too well the screams and claims that I am a bad mother, but at the end of the day, when he climbs in lap for cuddles before bed, it tells me I am doing alright!!

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    1. Awwww... I love the cuddles also Lena. My son is already nine. So he is a bit better already. But it's hard sometimes because he really wants to be the center of my universe :)

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  5. Your so is so cute! Love him! It is so hard to teach patience, especially when you are talking on the phone! I have 2 boys and playing the attention balancing game is hard.

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    1. He is so cute, Karen. I'm his mom so I can say he's the cutest, lol.

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  6. Oh how precious! My son is now 12 and it seems literally like yesterday he was 6! Enjoy and relax! It goes by so quickly.

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    1. Mine is nine now, Kelly. Time flies and they grow so fast.

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  7. What a beautiful boy! My daughter is almost 20 months and wants my constant attention. It's hard to always give it to her but I can't resist when she looks at me and smiles. Yes, she has me wrapped around her little finger :)

    Michelle F.

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    1. At that age she deserves it. The best gift you can give her is your time and attention.

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  8. This is something that we are working on together as a family. Every one giving each other kind, loving attention.

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    1. That is so nice to hear Becky. I really wish my son had siblings to understand this better. But that was not possible.

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  9. Your son is very cute :) I absolutely agree that children must learn patience. Often when I talk with parents about the law of attraction they assume they must let their child do whatever they want. I feel that as parents we need to provide a safe and positive environment for all of our family to grow. In my opinion it is not a positive family when a child gets whatever they want instantly at a cost to other members of the family.

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    1. I agree so much with you. Usually children that grow up in an enviroment like that feel very insecure and even can feel that nobody loves them. We need love but with clear rules.

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  10. Your son is adorable!! I agree with you that they grow up too quickly!! I miss the baby phase where I was the only one they wanted or needed. I like the feeling that they were dependent on me. Funny story about the 'look'. I tried that with DS5. I kind of narrowed my eyes and gave a stern look. Instead of fear he laughed and asked what was wrong with my eye! lol I guess it didnt' work!

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    1. I have had years as teacher to learn "the look" Jennifer. Sometimes the best thing to do is to be really quiet, not even give the look and let the tension grow until they understand that something is wrong.

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  11. You have a very cute son:) Hope you have had a good week so far?!

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    1. Thank you for asking Jeannette. It's been busy but he's been balanced and happy. So I'm happy also. And he is the cutests, isn't he?

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  12. This happened to me once when I was giving attention to a special needs little girl. My son came and tried to push her right out of my lap. He was 3. He also learned that day that I'm his Mommy and reassured him. Never happened again. Children all react differently and learn in their own time.

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    1. That is so true. They just need to feel secure. With my son ADHD adds it's difficulties but in general he's happy as long as he knows that I'm there for him.

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  13. My son is an only child, and you are so right that jealousy issues are still there. After my divorce, I put off dating and a social life for many years because my son was so needy and demanding of my time.

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    1. That's basicly what's happening with me right now too, Angela. Can't really bring anyone in our life until he settles down.

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  14. awwww.....and with kids - time and attention are SO important...

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    1. Yes, Andrea. I think they matter so much more than anything we can buy or give them.

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  15. Loved reading this post and the pics are fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Cindy. I'm so glad to hear that.

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  16. You are a wonderful mother Joanna. My greatest struggles are with teaching my children how much I love them, respect them and their time. They have all my attention at all times but trying to teach them that they have to respect Mommy's time too is so hard! Your child is lucky to have you :)

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    1. Thank you, Carla. I hope that's true. I think every child is so different that if we let them, they actually raise us to be their parents. I try to be the best parent possible to my son and answer to his needs.

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  17. gotta love our kids and them learning! Like what you did to accomplish his manners - yep it can be tough to discipline them, but they will thank us later.

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    1. That's true, Leona. Good manners are so important in life, even if it's dating or your job. And if you don't learn them at home, it's really hard to learn them later on.

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  18. There's no doubt that family time, especially with the kids, is the most important time! Great post! :)

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  19. Thank you for sharing this post. It's important to spend time with the kids but not let them think they should always be the center of attention.

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  20. I remember when my oldest used to demand my attention when I was talking on the phone. It sounds like you did the right things with your boy when he was younger. Sometimes parents need to be reminded to be patient and teach our kids patience too. Have a terrific day!

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  21. Great advice. I know it's not always easy, but it's something we all should remember.

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  22. My kids still do that, and then its who gets more of Mommy's time the oldest or the youngest. But we have turned this jealousy into something positive. My youngest loves to cuddle and give hugs, so the oldest has started giving us more cuddle time and hugs as well, so he can be like the younger sibling.

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  23. I look forward to reading your posts. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us.

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  24. Awe, that's so sweet and a good reminder on how time flies. :(

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  25. You have a very good looking son! What he was doing back then was manipulating you--kids are really good at that and you handled it perfectly. Glad to hear that he somewhat out grew that stage even if you miss it a bit!

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    1. Thank you! He is handsome :) And thank you for thinking I did the right thing. It's true, he understands better now.

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  26. It seems most kids want their parents attention and they want it NOW!! As they grow up, it is the parents demanding their attention... LOL.. Great Post!

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    1. Sadly that is true, Terry. I hope my son will give me his attention later on.

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  27. Your son is a handsome young man. I enjoy everything with him, time passes so fast.

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  28. I always love reading your blog posts:) Your little guy is a cutie for sure. I myself have a 7 year old and often find he is jealous towards me doing other things. But a child always speaks the truth and I knew then that I was spending to much time with the computer, phone etc and not enough family time. we now make more of an effort to do things together instead of separate:)

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    1. Thank you, Tiffany. That is so true. Children don't act out just for fun. There is always a reason behind.

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  29. First and foremost, your son is absolutely adorable! He is so handsome! My son is exactly the same way, he always seems to need something from me when I'm doing something. They just crave the attention of their mommy, I guess. You shared some great tips on getting through it, though!

    Thanks so much for sharing on Turn It Up Tuesday! We love having you! :)

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    1. Thank you, Natasha. You know that warms my mother's heart :) Glad you liked the advice and I'm very happy to be part of Turn It Up Tuesday!

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  30. mine are 4, 6 and 8 and it's constant interruptions. i'm going to try your tactic!

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  31. My daughter is 6 and always tries to interrupt. I hate it!

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  32. I've just stopped talking on the phone all together now. It seems like anytime I have my phone to my ear, all hell breaks loose. ;) But I do like your message behind this post. Its important to give our kids the time they need.

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    1. I am a firm believer of practice and constancy, Heather. If you practice enough times (with someone who doesn't mind your child screaming on the background) and act constantly the same way, they will learn.

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  33. Your son is such a lil cutie! I have three sons and one daughter. My two youngest sons are very close in age so they are constantly arguing and fighting. They are 15 months apart in age, but wear the same shoe and clothing size so they have to share, which results in arguements,lol.

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    1. Thank you, Lawna, he is :)
      I think it's wonderful for children. I was very close at age with my little sister. We didn't share clothes though, but toys and everything else. And I think I learned a lot from it.

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  34. He is so handsome! I have 5 kids ages 8 years to 9 months - it gets crazy! I am the only child so sometimes it is so hard to relate to them when they bicker!

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    1. Thank you, he is :) I can relate to bickering, lol. I always bickered with my little sister but at the same time she was my best friend and if someone tried to act the same way as I did with her, I was her best defender. It's a sibling sort of love, lol

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  35. You son is sooo cute and sounds like a mama's boy for sure. My son is now 19 and still mama's boy. He always tells me how much he loves me and I know one day a woman will come and change all that, but for now, I'll enjoy him thinking I'm the most important person in the world. It's the best feeling.

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    1. Thank you, Nancy. He is, both of things, cute and mama´s boy. I'm also enjoying my time as the centre of his world. One day it will be over, I hope later than sooner, so he'll be adult when he falls in love.

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  36. I feel the same way. I only have one little guy ans did not think i would have those issues either but he is 3 and boy do I. All we can do is show them love and let them know we are their. But i know i will miss these days when they are gone he is my angel.

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    1. You're right, Tabitha, we need to give them love because the time flies so fast.

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  37. It is so important that we teach our kids to be independent but as mommas we have a hard time letting go! We must let go as Proverbs says and they will not depart from the teachings we gave them.

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    1. That is so true, Pamela. We must trust that we have done a good job and that God will carry on.

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  38. I always hated when my parents wouldn't keep their promises. It is something I have promised myself that I would never do to my kids. So far, so good. Thanks for sharing, I'm sure I will need this post soon with my girls!

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    1. Glad you liked it, Amberlee. I agree, it wasn't any big things but it really made a huge desapointment when my parents didin't do what they said they would.

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  39. Your son is so handsome! I agree though letting kids be independent (as a mommy) is so hard to do sometimes but we gotta do it sooner or later ;)

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    1. That is so true, Teresa. Hope I will know how to let go.

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  40. Each stage is so precious! I miss the ones that are past, but I enjoy the stages my two children are in right now :)
    ~ Kimberly

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    1. Me too, Kimberly. Although I would like to have another little on to enjoy that time again.

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  41. What an adorable boy you have there! Raising kids is never easy... but we do the best we can!

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  42. I wish I had more time. Every day. With four kids and a full time job, its hard to balance.

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    1. It must be, Melissa. But little moment of personal time just alone with mom takes a long way. Even if it's only ten minutes.

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  43. I think it's universal to children, that phone impatience. It's really nice that after you got off, you did give him focused attention.

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  44. Dont worry lots of kids gets beside themeselves, but most definitely have to break him out of talking back, & telling you that you are a bad mom, because you are not. Just sit down & explain to him that he cant do that while mommy is on the phone, If not it may become an issue later down the line, but dont never second guess your parenting you are a wonderful mom, sometime times kids get that way so dont worry yourself.

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    1. Thank you so much. It can really hurt when your child critiques you.

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  45. Oh yes that stage would surely pass. My 9 year old when he was about that age did the same thing as well. I remember him also packing up his backpack with toys and saying that he was running away from home. You're a great mom and he's just pushing it to see how far you will go.

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. I did that too, so when my son did it, I just smiled at my memories. But it does hurt when you see your child is hurting.

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  46. It's amazing how much our kids learn from us and how much we learn from them. I hope that he remembers the things that you have taught him when he is much older. He is such a cute boy!

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  47. Your kid is cute. They do know how to test you though, when they want attention, lol.

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    1. Thank you, he really is cute. But he knows how to do the testing part too :)

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  48. I am glad that you recognized that jealousy can occur even amongst only children

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    1. It is interesting, Amanda. But I guess it's question of being the centre of attention, not who or what is stealing that attention.

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  49. Great advice! He looks like such a happy little boy. Congrats!

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  50. Aw :( He still very much needs you! And he will even when he's out on his own, I promise! Kids ALWAYS need their mommas :)

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    1. Yes, that is so true. I still need mine :)

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  51. I only have one child as well, but he is super jealous every time his dad comes home or the phone rings.

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    1. I think it's question of being the centre of attention, not who or what is stealing that attention, Samantha.

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  52. At that age youa re really the only thing he knows. Cherish the time you spend with him wanting all of your attention, because I'm sure as he grows you will be hoping he would want to spend time with you. Why do they have to grow up?

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    1. That's what I ask myself too. It will be so hard to let go.

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  53. Awesome advice. I have 7 children and to give them all equal attention, I find difficult. Now that I have 4 boys are are pretty independant, they don't ask for much. But my little ones who always want my attention need to learn that I need to take a call w/o them crying or whinning or when me and another adult or child are talking, that they need to wait their turn. It's a waiting game, but I know they will catch on sooner than later!

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    1. Thank you, Kristin. I am a firm believer of practice and constancy. If you practice enough times (with someone who doesn't mind your child screaming on the background) and act constantly the same way, they will learn. But it does hurt while they are learning.

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  54. Jealousy issues are always there, I had them with my oldest when I was a single mom and now with my youngest. My youngest does not want me anywhere near my husband or his brother - he can be around them but I am his and his alone!

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    1. I know what you mean, Jennifer. I remember hugging his father (when we still got along) and he would come with this really hurt expression and push us apart.

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  55. it's so sad when they grow u and don't need us as much someone once gave me a quote I forget who by but it read "we only hold our child's hand for awhile but we hold their hearts forever" it's pretty cool to remember that

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    1. That is a beautiful quote, Becca. Thank you.

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  56. What a handsome young man! It is great you are there for all stages of his growth and life

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    1. Thank you so much, he is very handsome :)

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  57. I struggle with the same thing with my two-year-old. The minute I start something I can stop is the minute he needs something really really badly haha. He's learning patience though.

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    1. At two patience is so hard, Elise. But it's good he's learning.

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  58. Your son is a beautiful boy! My son's 21 months, and he's not a baby anymore. :( He definitely wants my attention 24/7 and gets jealous. He needs to feel loved and safe, but he also needs to learn patience and to think of others. It's a difficult line to balance, and of course he's still really young.

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    1. Thank you, Elisebet, he is :) your son is still very young and learning patience takes a long time. He also needs to learn to trust. Trust that you really are there for him and he can wait it without getting anxious.

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  59. Such wise words. :-) It seems like the phone is the magnet for my kids to come and ask me something all the time. They are starting to get a little better with it though! Either way, I think it definitely is important to just take some time to spend with them. I am trying to get much better with this. I seem to always have so much to do and am running behind on things that I sometimes forget to just stop and be with them. I love the bible quotes too under the pictures...so fitting!

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    1. Thank you, Jodi. I think it's also a trust issue. When the children learn to trust that you will be with them after you are ready, like you told them, it's easier for them to learn to wait patiently.

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  60. Humorously there were times when my daughter was a young teenager that I made her spend time with me. She didn;t like it but now she tells people how much fun she had on our adventures.

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    1. It's true, Pam. In adolescense things change completely. I'm a bit afraid what will happen with my son. But I'm sure God will be there to guide me.

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  61. You are teaching your son good lessons as he grows, and learning, yourself, at the same time. That is one of the best aspects of being a parent.

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  62. You have an adorable and handsome lil guy. i think he used with the attention all to himself. one or more than one kids they always have jealousy issue and kids typically are attention seeker. I have two and they fight all the time. the sibling rivalry issue sometimes gets on my nerve. now i know how tough that might have been for my parents to raise 6 kids.

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    1. Thank you, Sheila. That is true, with only child they are used to get all the attention. Sometimes I'm really sad he doesn't have siblings.

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  63. He is so adorable. My parents are always on me because my son interrupts and just doesn't understand patience very well. I think it's something they will eventually get but just time and our own patience is needed :)

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    1. Sometimes our parents forget how long it took them to teach us patience and trust, Lexie. Just believe in yourself.

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  64. What a beautiful post! I try to give my attention to y daughter as much as I can, but sometimes she just gets jealous if I'm not attending her. Your son is really handsome!

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    1. Thank you, Ave. I'm glad you liked the post. And he really is handsome :) Teach her to trust you, I really think the trust is the key, besides learning patience.

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  65. It's hard to teach patience with kids, he is so adorable though and it'll come sooner rather than later. Enjoy these years, as they go way too fast!

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  66. I believe this is something not all mothers or parents realized. My mom didn't "probably" realized this and I had struggles along the way on my growth. I'm okay and independent now.. but (took things the hard way as she has always been wanting to do everything for us - me and my brother) I totally agree with everything you said.

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    1. Thank you, Aisha. I hope you remember it with your own children one day :)

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  67. One of the few reasons why I choose to be a stay at home Mom while my kids are still little, while they still want us. I also feel sad when I ask them now if they need help and they are becoming more independent and would say that they don't need any help. I feel like they are slowly slipping away.

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    1. That is so true. Little by little they leave us.

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  68. My four year old has been screaming at me that I am mean or that he doesn't like me and it is driving me crazy, because my 10 year old is doing the same but in a different way of moping around. Kids are a handful and they all need their mommy at times and then they get mad when they can't have you. But you just have to bear through it and don't show any weakness.

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    1. Sometimes showing the weakness is the best thing, Zulema. When I felt really bad I would make really exaggerated sad face and tell my son, very quietly, that he hurt my feelings and that I'm feeling really bad. I didn't tell him to ask for forgiveness but acted like an actress from the old mute films, really melodramatic. He would get worried after a while and really start feeling bad for saying those things to me. But the important thing is to control your feelings. Because when he asks for forgiveness you really have to be able to forgive him.

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  69. This is a hard battle. And you handled it well! My kids do the same thing. And I have three of them. But we had to explain to them the importance of waiting until Mommy and Daddy could give them the full attention they needed before trying to ask us or tell us something. Often times it had to be conveyed through the hand gesture of holding a stop sign because I would be on the phone. But they are learning. And they are doing better. This way I can still take care of what needs to be done. But they still get the undivided attention they so crave.

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    1. Thank you, Amber. And great to hear how well you are doing with your children. I wish I will be able to be there for mine as he keeps growing up.

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  70. Your son is adorable. Parenting is hard and sometimes you second guess yourself and that isn't good. Go with your gut. It is usually the right thing. That and lots of love.

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    1. Thank you, Pam. I agree, lots of love :)

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  71. I've Been There You Have To Be Stern It All Works Out In The End!! XO

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  72. They really do grow up much too quickly.

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  73. Your son is really cute,and its not being a bad parent i think all kiddies go through this stage mine all have and well the younger ones still do my oldest is really good and helps me out when its just me and the kiddies at home she will tell them to wait or distract them lol,Just stand your ground and it will all be fine :-)

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  74. He is such a handsome young man and I can relate to your point about missing our babies as they grow up and ask less of us. Your approach to helping him understand the wisdom of waiting his turn was excellent and all kids ought to learn it too.
    Elizabeth

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  75. I have this issue with my daughter. We are deep in teaching respect. She is starting to get it, but its still going to be a long road.

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    1. I still battle with my son, Ashley. And he's already nine. It's like they learn one thing and the next morning they wake up in the next developmental step and you have to start everything all over again.

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  76. I agree...this is a struggle with this age group. The look of hurt and disappointment when they come running in, excited and bubbling over to share but are stopped because you are mid-conversation is rough to take on both parties. With my 5 year old, I will acknowledge him by holding his hand, placing a arm around his shoulder, something to let him know I acknowledge him but need him to wait his turn patiently. I, also, try to remember to give him the SAME courtesies when he is talking. Great reminders. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. That is a wonderful way to help your child, Michelle. And it's true, we must respect our children too, or they will never learn to respect others.

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  77. Wow! This is beautiful! I have a 10 and 8 year old. The 10 year old gets it now and the 8 year old is learning. It takes time, persistence and love. Thanks for sharing with Sharing It Sunday.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed it, Michele. And happy to participate in Sharing It Sunday!

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