The Change in a Challenging Child {after the cross}

Apr 2, 2013

Many of you have kindly asked how I’m doing lately. The quick answer is…oh so much better. Soon I hope to write a post with specific ideas which have helped me “feel more like myself”.

Until I get my booty in gear & write that post, I’ll briefly share one thing I’ve done; once a week a seminary student comes over and watches the boys for me. Her help allows me the chance to “catch up” & breathe (she also organizes my kitchen & bakes yummy treats…like that birthday cake you saw a few posts back). When she arrives in the morning I head out the door with Price to drive him to school.

The conversations he & I share during the 15 minute drive to school are priceless (well…not exactly Price-less…he’s there…but they’re special…oh, you know what I mean).

Last week’s discussion was worth sharing:

P: “Were robbers ever little kids?” (my boys still ask about robbers even though our home robbery was a year ago)

M: “Yes, everyone was once a little kid.”

P: (with complete shock & horror) “What? How could a bad guy once be a nice kid? What makes a kid want to be a robber?”

M: “Well, it depends on how that child grew up. Maybe no one ever told him there is another way to do things. Maybe a mommy never told him to be kind and share. Maybe he knows the difference between right & wrong but doesn’t care if he gets in trouble…Or maybe he’s just desperate.”

P: “What does it mean to be desperate?”

M: “If he doesn’t have any money and his family needs to eat, he may steal food to feed his family…kind of like in Les Mis with Jean Valjean.”

P: “Oh tell me about Jean Valjean again.”

Yes, I have told my boys the story of Les Miserables…a simplified version. Jean Valjean’s imprisonment because of stealing a loaf of bread…being set free but to a lifetime parole…then the priest inviting him in for food & rest…then Valjean stealing silver in the middle of the night…police bringing Valjean back to the priest. Then the priest claiming he gave the silver, only Valjean had forgotten the candlesticks.

Grace in action. Undeserved favor. The encouragement to start a new life. To make things right.

M: “Valjean decided to start over. To chose to do right. To accept the priest’s invitation. In doing so he changed his name.”

P: “Like Saul changes to Paul? Or like how Batman’s friend changes from ‘Row’ to ‘Robin’?”

M: (laughing out loud) Um yeah, kind of. Although I don’t think Robin ever had a name change.”

Little did Price know, but I feel like we should start calling him by another name.  From challenging to charming. From frustration to fabulous. From stressful to enjoyable.

Was it really just last year (almost exactly) that I wrote a post on our new approach to dealing with our challenging child, aka Price? Only a year ago we were completely frustrated with his behavior and disobedience.

I wish I could remember some grand conversion conversation. A moment he said, “Mommy, I’m ready to pray.” I know he did at some point…but we’re seeing fruit of faith.

In the past year, a spiritual tenderness has grown in Price. He always had a sweet heart and is first to rush in and help someone. What I have seen grow is a desire to know God more. A thirst to really understand the heart of God & know the stories in His Word. This was his Easter present this year…The Action Bible

…I keep finding him bent over, studying it’s pages…and he can’t even read!

This is why I pray for my boys’ salvation at a young age.

When a child confesses a belief that Jesus paid the price of sin with his death on the cross & then defeated the power of sin through his resurrection, that child receives the Holy Spirit. And according to this verse…

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,” (Ephesians 13:1)

A believer is “sealed” with the Holy Spirit until the second coming of Christ when salvation is made complete.

On the flip side, a child doesn’t receive the Holy Spirit until confessing faith.  So I can’t expect that child to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control). 

Have you ever consider that? Your preschooler who is challenging you now…has a sin nature that is not controlled by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps he/she is in need of some extra prayers, am I right? Pray specifically for salvation at a young age.

I know in our home it makes working together as a team whole lot easier when a majority of us our filled with the same Spirit. Still a bunch of sinners…but sin has no power over us. Amen. 

 Have you noticed a change in your child after confessing faith in Christ?


  1. christenprice

    Needed this today! Our pediatrician just recommended James Dobsons The strong willed child to read for our oldest. I like your points about loving and not controlling 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      have a copy of that book next to my bed christen! Thought I needed it for my oldest, then my 2nd…discovering my 3rd may have the strongest will (well…I guess I should wait until the 4th is a lil older before I make that statement). I really love the “grace-based” parenting books for my strong willed boys. Also loved the book “The Spirit Child” (not a Christian book…but helped me appreciate their ‘harder’ qualities). Blessings friend!

  2. christie elkins

    Love this post! I think Price and my August would get along great 😉 We are in the “challenging” stage with him. Thanks to Price, for showing us that the future looks bright!

    • Joyce and Norm

      A friend was asking for prayer for her son who has been a challenge to her, and I told her that I used to be that kid, that stubborn, had-to-have-it-my-way kid who threw tantrums, no apparent reason for getting upset…. I think everyone in the room was shocked, they always are. When I look back at it, there really was a turning point for me when I accepted Christ as my Savior that June day in 1989. There’s hope. 🙂

  3. Stephanie Rische

    Such an encouraging reminder that Christ can change all of us! Love the car conversation.

  4. Joyce and Norm

    I’m so happy to hear this, Heather! That is so wonderful.

    Our next door neighbors’ house was just burglarized recently, so my girls have been asking questions about why people do bad things, etc.


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