For When You Don’t Like Your Kid

praying for your happy buddyI looooooove my children.

They are absolute miracles.  Both of them.  The first one they said we would never have (and we did), the second one they said would never make it to his first birthday (and he did).

They are my angels, my heart running around outside my body, my answer to prayer, my joy.

But they are also my sanctification.

Especially my firstborn.

In this 4th year of his life, it seems that no matter how hard I try, no matter how many Bible verses I share and memorize and sing with him, no matter how many times I say, “We have helping hands, not hands that want to smother our brother with a pillow!!!”, no matter how many times I remind him of what a respectful tone of voice sounds like, no matter how many times I’ve had to stop playing with him because he was being too micro-managing and bossy, no matter how often we pray together or read Scripture together, or no matter how many times he’s received a consequence for throwing a tantrum in front of the entire church during fellowship hour when he’s discovered that the cookies have run out…

No matter any of this, the Happy Buddy continues to do his own thing.

I’ve said this before, but it is the truth that on more than one occasion I just want to get that miracle boy in bed and close the door behind me!

And possibly lock it.

I looooooove him.

But I don’t always like him.

I was sharing some of this with my mother-in-law one day and her response was rather immediate.

She said, “You need to get in his room and pray over him before you go to bed.”

She went on to say that she and my father-in-law did this very exercise with their son, the Happy Hubby, who, I am not even kidding when I tell you this, made his dad’s hair go from blond to completely white during the first year of his life.  The Happy Hubby was a wild child, full of spirit, throwing homemade popsicle stick Chinese stars at the living room blinds and launching his mom’s glassware off the roof with a friend.

The nightly prayers were clearly needed. :-)

That evening after I got ready for bed, instead of crawling under the covers, I crept down the hall and quietly pushed the Happy Buddy’s door open.

As soon as I tip-toed to his bed and saw that precious, resting face, I felt a wave of renewed love and compassion wash over me.

No longer was I thinking about the way he had colored on our bedroom comforter, or embarrassed me at church, or spoke disrespectfully to a teacher, or argued with me about going to the potty before bed, or broke my favorite plate, or snatched a toy out of his brother’s hands.

The sweetness of my little boy’s sleeping features was enough to fill up my heart with thanksgiving and contentment.

And a peace that it was all going to be okay.

I gently rested a hand on the Happy Buddy’s back, closed my eyes, and began to pray out loud in a soft voice.

I do not remember much of what I prayed.  Probably something along the lines of, “Thank you, Lord, that there is NO SEED of rebellion in my son!  Thank you that he is going to grow up and love you and have an understanding of the fruit of the spirit of SELF-CONTROL.  Thank you that you have a plan and a purpose for his life.  Thank you that he and his brother will be best friends.  And thank you for his future wife who will have more patience than a saint.”


But what I DO remember is that the longer I prayed, the more I wanted to take the hand that was gently resting on his back, give it a little shake and wake up my kid so that we could snuggle and play.

I even felt strengthened enough by God’s grace to handle any bossy behavior!!

Being faithful to pray for my boy changed my perspective. 

It was a reminder that God is in control – that He sees my faithfulness and that is ALL THAT MATTERS.

I was laying on the bed in a heap of self-pity a few weeks ago, whining to the Happy Hubby (with my arm thrown across my forehead for added effect) that I thought the Happy Buddy was turning into a disaster and how will he ever keep a job as an adult if he tries to tell his boss what to do about every. single. thing. and throws fits when there are no more donuts in the break room?!?!?!

The Happy Hubby patted my dramatically placed arm and said, “Julie, we just have to keep being faithful.”

He left the room and I did not feel fully satisfied with his response.  I wanted him to give me an easy 1-2-3 step plan for fixing our son’s behavior immediately.  But then I opened my email and there was THIS POST as further affirmation to the message my sweet man had shared with me.

The message that we Mommies are not responsible for the harvest.

We are simply called to persevere – to be faithful to plant the seeds.

And many of those seeds are sown in the prayers we pray for our Happy Buddies.

(Just look at how amazing the Happy Hubby turned out. ;-))

So wherever you are, whatever time it is when you read this post, whether you are currently liking your child or not, I encourage you to make a note to use your stealthy ninja skills, slip into their room tonight, and pray over their adorable, peaceful, dreaming selves.

I promise you’ll like them again by the time you say, “Amen.”

– Julie

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9

**Not sure how to pray or where to begin?  You can print out THIS simple PRAYER GUIDE to help!**

35 thoughts on “For When You Don’t Like Your Kid

  1. Wow, do I need this! My 9 yo first born daughter sounds just like your son – and I struggle with the same fears and emotions that you do. Thank you so much for this – it sounds like you have a very wise mother-in-law.

  2. Wow! Thank you first of all for always keeping it real and for always seeming to know just what I need to hear. I’ve had a trying parenting week, and I needed this reminder to pray over my children and see past the craziness of the present day. Thank you!!!

  3. I’m smiling, because my five-year-old made a brand new batch of Chinese throwing stars out of Popsicle sticks just yesterday. I kid you not! We’ve spent countless nights praying over sleeping sons (and daughters) who had left us feeling exasperated in their wakeful hours. God is always so faithful to hear and answer those prayers, and to renew the strength of all who wait upon Him. Thanks for your very candid and encouraging post, Julie. May God continue to bless your faithfulness to Him.

  4. I just started doing this about 2 weeks ago! We made these adorable prayer cards for all our MOPS moms as gifts. Sort of like the Stormie book about praying for your kids. Each card has a verse and a short prayer. I stand outside their rooms with my hand on their door praying for each kiddo. So powerful!

      • I want to see these cards too. ;) Julie. …u ROCK!! :) XOXO what a true post…bc no matter how much u looooove them, there r just some days u just don’t like them very much!! Although I think my happy buddy #2 will require ALOT more prayers in this matter!! ♥♥

  5. Wow!This was one of those moments like when you open your bible And the good Lord takes you straight to the verse you need! I was totally needing to read this tonight of all nights! Thank you!

  6. Thank you so much for writing this! Just what I needed to hear. I have been feeling guilty recently for loving but not liking my 3 1/2 year old son. I have never heard another mom say this and so I am glad that this feeling is felt by other moms too!! What a sigh of relief…I was beginning to feel like a bad mom for feeling like this. I feel better now. Thank you! :)

  7. Thanks for this post (and I especially liked the one about the prayer chair). I just prayed over my daughter and will pray over my son when he wakes up for his nightly feeding. I know this is something we are to do in order to protect our children and keep our children close to GOD. The month full of prayers really helps me because I never new what verses to pray over my kids. Thanks again. I’m really happy GOD sent me to your blog. It has been a blessing reading your posts.

  8. What a precious mommy you are to your kids and a beautiful source of encouragement to mommies like me who are in the exact season of mothering you are in. This post really couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Thank you for taking the time to write down your thoughts and be so transparent (you just might be inside my head).

  9. Coming from a Mom of a now 16 year old, I can assure you there will come a time that you almost forget the days where he might be swinging from the chandelier, leaping tall buildings in a single bound, eating all your baking chocolate and then hiding the papers under his bed (for a year, before you found it, and kept replacing it over and over) hiding every note that teachers gave him since P-K4 thru Highschool, ect. Then all of a sudden you forget that you didn’t like him and are amazed that the boy that made you cry more often than not, is almost a man, on his way to falling in love with our Lord, having a helping hand and stand back and finally realize that all my fussing and cries to our great God was heard and he actually is becoming a Godly Man. Hold on, not going to lie, it is going to be a crazy, heartbreaking ride, but oh the rewards of a loving, prayerfull, obedient Mom, will not go to waste and you will finally see the fruit of your years of labor and it will be so worth it. xoxoxo

  10. Great advice! I need to do this more often. I used to do it sometimes but have lapsed. Btw, my babies never had the terrible twos-they had the terrible fours!! This too shall pass ;)

  11. Julie-thank you for this post. It reinforces what my mom was telling me just yesterday. She told me to pray a blessing over each child every morning-OUTLOUD and in front of the others. See, I just had my third-she just turned 2 months. I have an 18 mo old son and a 3-going-on-30 year old diva daughter. And let me tell you…terrible twos never happened in this household. But now…now, I FEEL YOUR PAIN!! We’ve had prayers like yours…’God, please help us with our attitude and help us to obey. We cannot do it by ourselves (read:especially after we acted the way we did today!). We need your help, Lord. Help us learn right from wrong (read:please, BEFORE mama is bald in the insane asylum).’ She even prayed one night that mama and daddy would be mean to her anymore…well let me tell you how well that one went over! Daddy sat that sweet little girl down and explained we’re not being mean. We are teaching her right from wrong. If we didn’t love her, we wouldn’t care how she behaved. And we could teach her at three OR God *could* just ‘wipe her out’ when she’s older. She then decided maybe that spank wasn’t soo bad! Haha. But seriously, this mothering business is NOT for the weak or the faint-of-heart!! This is SERIOUS! Especially when you look at the ‘ramifications’ of NOT doing our job-they’re all over the news! Now that’s not to say all bad things that happen are a direct result of parents/mothers falling down on the job, but I think that that number would be embarrassingly decreased if we as Christian women would stand up/continue to stand and claim our children for the kingdom and continue to bless them and teach them and pray with, for, and over them. That is all. :)

  12. You just have absolutely no idea how perfectly timed this was for my life this morning. I would love to go into detail, but I won’t. I will encourage you to just keep on doing what you’re doing because you are doing it right. Be steadfast, unmovable, always about in the work of the Lord for your labor is NOT in vain.
    I pray for wonderful days for you and more nights filled with wonder. May the Lord bless you abundantly, in ways you can see for your encouragement and in ways you can’t see for your faith.


  13. I see the same qualities you described in our oldest as well. And if I had to guess, I’ll bet Happy Buddy’s behavior got worse after Happy Baby was born. ;) Anyhow, I have read several books by Dr. Leman (a Christian psychologist and author). He is absolutely phenomenal and has put my mind and worries at ease. THANK YOU for sharing! I am so glad that none of us are alone on this difficult parenting journey! As you said, God is in control, and we must press on!! :)

  14. Dearest Julie,   A very wise Godly man once told me (after my son’s antics at church), “They are the ones that grow up to be deacons and pillars of the church.  He was so right.  Proverbs 22: 6  Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Just remember to be consistent and say what you mean and mean what you say. We learn line upon line and precept upon precept, Isaiah 28: 10.  So. don’t get discouraged and keep praying and teaching and he will respond.  After all, he has had a LOT  to contend with in his short life.  First he was the ONLY one and then he had to share you with Jet and all his health issues. I see from your blogs that you spend a lot of time with him so just keep on keeping on !  I think Grammy was wise in her disciplining the children.  She would have them search the scriptures and find examples of why they should or shouldn’t do this or that.  Of course, Noah is a little young for that but I wish I had used that when my boys were young. As I pray for your family , I will certainly keep this before the Lord.  BTW, I remember my “preshus” angel Ryan being nothing but an angel who kept me laughing all the time. I know they were taught RESPECT, OBEDIENCE AND RESPONSIBILITY that has bode them well for all of their lives. They were also taught what the word “STOP’ meant “STOP” and whether it be before running into the street or during a tantrum, when they said “STOP” , the children knew to “STOP” or suffer the consequences pre determined.  Personally, I am not against spanking (never in anger) when nothing else works. Never threaten to do something and not back it up. For instance, if you tell them you will throw them out the window if they do such and such and they disobey, you MUST throw them out a window !  So, be careful what you say and then DO IT !!! Another bit of advice is to NEVER embarrass them before their peers. Take them outside, away from everyone and discipline them alone.  Make sure you have eye contact and they are paying attention to your instructions.   These are just some of the musings of an old lady so feel free to discard some or all of them.    Love you,   Grandmommy   I think you are doing a fabulous job as a parent so don’t be too hard on yourself ! God knows your heart !!

  15. Dear Julie ~ Dee is right! I was given the exact same advice from someone when my children were little. One of them was *very* strong-willed! I would go into the bedroom after they were asleep, lay my hand on their back, and pray specific scriptures out loud over them. My very strong-willed son is now becoming a minister. :-)

  16. this is a FABULOUS post! Thank you for sharing. I am in the same boat with my #1 and am learning that this parenting process is actually more about me and my sanctification and not what I can teach my child. :) Parenting is HARDER than I ever thought it would be!!! Thank you for encouraging me to pray over my kids. What a wonderful and Biblical thing to do! You are a great mom and a faithful one. Praise the Lord!

  17. Thanks so much for this Julie! I have the SAME 3 year old son as you do:-) I am afraid I will wake him up, but I will step out in faith and do this tonight! Thanks again for all your wonderful encouragement to us ladies!

  18. Thank you ! You have no idea how much I needed this! I am currently in my room cause I needed a break from my adorable 3 yr old energizer bunny. As I kept reading I kept on saying “Andres does that, and that…” Thank you again for always encouraging us!!! I went on your blog looking for a meal plan for this week and God spoke to me through your post because it was exactly what I needed!

  19. After last night’s meltdown, The Lord was so gracious to remind me of this need to pray over my kids this morning as I saw them off to school. Thank you for the confirmation. Sometimes, even us Mommies of older kiddies forget how we survived those early years. Thanks for the reminder.

  20. Oh I had to giggle at some points – the tantrums, bossy playing…my life!! But what a great encouragement! Thank you, cuz I find myself not liking my one either sometimes. Tantrums are the worst

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  22. Thank you so much! My son is so strong willed I have no idea what to do….most days I’m counting down the hours to bed-time. How do I have more patience? My son, when he knows I’m at my wits end says, “smile mommy…be happy.” I don’t want him seeing me angry all the time. But, he is sooooo willfull!!!!!

  23. Between the stresses of life and motherhood, there are days when I am at the point of meltdown. My oldest has challenged me since he was born. Now at over 3 and a half, he is barely talking as a means of communication (despite his obvious intelligence), refuses to even try to use the potty, climbs in our bed the middle of every night, and challenges me in darn near every way each day. Oh and I also have a one year old… Need I even say I am exhausted? But it is so reassuring to know that I’m not alone. (Despite being very alone where I’m at now.) I’ve got peace knowing that I’m not the only mom who doesn’t “like” my kids somedays. And it is so funny how the simplest solutions like a simple prayer over that sleeping little treasure could be what I need.

    Thanks so much for this post and this blog. I was literally in tears reading it. I’m going to be thanking God for you in my prayers tonight :-)

    God Bless~

  24. I just found your blog (I’m a little late to the party), and wow… I so needed to hear this. My daughter just turned 4, and it sounds like she and your son have a LOT in common. I’m going to start praying over her tonight. Thank you for letting God speak through you! This two-year-old post is truly a blessing to me today. :-)

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