Dear Mob Society,
I hover over my son. I know it’s not good for him, but I can’t seem to help wanting to protect him from everything.
Oh, how I understand! You see, my son is different. To me the “different” in him is what makes him unique, special and extraordinary. To my son, the “different” in him makes him feel unaccepted, lonely and unwanted. Especially by his peers.
We’ve had such a hard time this fourth grade school year. My son’s ADHD and compulsive tendencies to rock in his chair, chew on random items and walk back and forth while thinking can be quite the distraction to children around him. His preference for reading books versus joining in playground games and always raising his hand to give the right answer to EVERY SINGLE QUESTION have made him a bit of a social outcast. He’s struggled with making friends and has become the object of teasing when he engages in behavior that is frustrating or annoying to the kids around him. Because of this, he’s experienced physical, mental and emotional strain and has developed unhealthy coping mechanisms such as feigning indifference, resisting change and not cooperating with activities he feel will cause embarrassment or teasing.
It’s important to note that my son’s teachers and school counselors are well aware of all this and are going above and beyond to ensure all kids involved are apologizing and learning how to treat each other with kindness and gentleness. Even so, it’s hard to watch as his mama, and it’s even harder to realize that I can’t just swoop in and fix everything for him. After a ton of prayer and discussion with my husband, there are definitely actions I did take to protect him. These included seeking help from the appropriate school staff, working with my son daily on appropriate coping and relationship skills and taking him to outside counseling.
I also learned 5 key areas I needed to trust God in as it related to protecting my son versus hovering over him throughout this difficult process:
My son needed my prayers now more than ever
I’ve always prayed over my child…however this is the first time I have literally been on my knees begging for mercy and peace and guidance multiple times a day. I’ve been amazed at the clarity and discernment brought about simply by “praying without ceasing.”
My son needed me to teach him how to pray through REAL life struggles
This situation was the first time my son started to question God’s presence in his life and love for him. Because he felt God was not answering his prayers for relief, he started doubting. I started praying scripture over him and to him…this was instrumental in pointing my son back to the Truth of God’s word and allowing him to see God’s faithfulness to others who faced difficult circumstance in the Bible.
My son needed to be reminded daily that his identity is in Christ alone
One day I had my son make a list of lies he believed about himself and then find Scripture to combat those lies. He placed the finished product on his bulletin board, and every time he starts to dwell on one of the lies, he can read the Scripture that tells him how “wonderfully made” he is. His favorite verses from this list are:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. -Philippians 4:13
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:13-14
My son needed to have a voice
I had to respect that my son needed to deal with some of these challenges and learn to trust God in his own way. This meant that I had to back off when he didn’t want to talk, allow him input into certain aspects like choosing an outside counselor and really LISTEN when he did talk instead of always offering solutions. He needed me to allow him to process his feelings and come to me seeking comfort, instead of my forcing it upon him.
This mama needed to trust that God’s plan for my boy is perfect
The hardest part for me has been seeing my son suffer in what feels like an endless situation. Even though I say I want my children to learn to have their own faith, when it was actually happening I was initially distraught. I had to let go and let God work in my son’s heart and trust that these moments would further shape and mold him into the Man of God he is becoming right before my eyes.
I know the definition of your hovering may be different from mine, but we both love the same God and our sons. Have hope sweet mama – just keep placing God at the center of all, including the protection of your boy. You are doing a wonderful job!
This post is part of our first series of 2014, Hope for the Messiness of Motherhood. Find all of the posts in this series here.