Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Tough Love 101

Tough love is never easy. That's why it's not called 'Rainbow Unicorn Fart' love.

It's tough.
It's love.
And it breaks Mom hearts all over the world. Dad hearts too.

Parents don't want to tough love their kids. They want them to listen, learn, and as they get older, debate, learn more, and grow.

But sometimes debating turns to arguments. Ears close on both sides of the fence. And the fully fledged bird refuses to leave the nest. 

Parents have to make their babies take wing if they refuse to do it themselves. And it's one of the hardest things for a parent to do. 

We constantly ask ourselves...
Have we been too harsh? Not harsh enough? 
We taught them all we know- why aren't they flying? 
Have we made life too easy? Too hard? 
And what steps do we need to take now so our children can go out in the world and be the stellar beings God made them to be?

So what do you do with a child that doesn't make much effort to be independent?

You go to the Bible.

Proverbs 12:11 says Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.

Proverbs 19:15 says Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 says For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat."

You teach them God's will. You show them the scripture. You talk, help them come up with a game plan, but you don't execute it- your fledgling has to. 

Even our pastor was asking why we're still feeding our fledgling! At the time three square meals a day was the norm; we had to make some changes.

We did. Our fledgling just got used to the changes and made no changes to their behavior. We upgraded (or downgraded?) more changes with the same result. Nothing we did worked.

We had to start pushing our child out of the nest.

This is where a parents' heart breaks. We have to send them out into the world and lock the door behind them. In our case, The fledgling in question has Aspergers. Very high functioning and quite capable of holding a job, but makes almost no effort to find work- for more than six months now. 
We've done everything we can think of to help, but we're waved away like annoying insects. It's been a strain on the entire family, and though we hate to do it, we need to let our fledgling go.

We found a program for autistic adults. Our fledgling has a certain amount of time to find work, but when that time is up (by the end of this week), we have to make a call for this program to come and get him. They have the training, knowledge and the 'I'm not your parent' factor that will help our fledgling fly on their own. They provide housing, and teach the skills needed to be independent.

We love them enough to let them go. We have to. If we don't, we're enablers. And let's be honest here- we won't live forever (at least not on Earth!) and what will happen if my fledgling can't fly when my Father calls us home?

None of us would prosper from it.

Tough Love 101- As a parent, you have to do things you don't want to concerning your kids. You have to let them deal with their own consequences. You have to let them get hurt, flounder, and yes, even get into trouble in order to get them to understand the world doesn't owe them anything- and that they will prosper only if they are willing to work for it.

God does this all the time. His heart breaks when we mess up. Sometimes He rescues us, sometimes not- and we have to learn to do the same for our children when the time comes.

I pray that God gives me the strength to not only do this if I have to, but to not cave in if it does happen- and to give my fledgling the strength to fly.

We hope someday soon to see our fledgling soar!


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