The “attitude of war” is becoming all too familiar. The emotional rollercoaster in our pre-pre teens has began a while ago. We would be in denial not to acknowledge it. The difference is stark between a 5 years old and a 8 years old. 

Something triggers her. Maybe she didn’t sleep enough, or too much. Maybe she just woke up Grumpy. God forbid we ask anything of her. Life is hard. We all know it’s hard sometimes. Especially when we have responsibilities.

Her bad attitude earned her short answers from her dad, without him getting flustered. It’s like they are playing poker and he would match and raise the bid. I confess I’m familiar with the game. We can outlast the kids, if we match the moodiness. But we are bigger, stronger, wiser and kinder.

The biggest issue that day was a huge amount of math homework she had. She dreads doing math homework, and put it off for nearly a week. But things are not improving or solving on their own. That’a lesson we all learn sooner or later.

J went to the reading nook and started sobbing softly, crying just loud enough for us to hear. We let her be for a while, and then I went to her. I sat down and we talked. It was emotional, intense, long. But I had the energy to spend. I even recorded the last half an hour of truth, encouragement, connection, commitment, bringing God and his Word into our conversation, hearing her heart.

She said at some point that even if she tries, it’s very difficult to focus on math. It’s just hard. And I hear her. She is worried she doesn’t know the multiplication table well enough, and even though it’s just the beginning, her stress freezes her. Instead of progress she gets stuck and looks lost. Even though her brain is proficient, math drains her confidence. 

As we spent time connecting (a lot of time) we made a commitment to pray before doing math homework. I would pray for patience. She would pray for clarity and understanding.

Connected and refreshed, we tackled an hour and a half of math and she did great! Brilliant!

But prayer us not a coin you drop in the slot machine. Connection is more than going through the motions. Preparing our mind and bodies takes commitment and perseverance.

As I write this she is at school, doing a supplementary hour of math. I pray she gains confidence and feels encouraged.  

Our kids success is not a reflection of our success as parents. Their struggles doesn’t mean we parent wrong. And it’s not their fault they struggle either. Oh my, when I told Jackie it’s not her fault math is hard, she asked me with big eyes: “really? Then whose fault is it?”

It’s just hard. And when she is stressed she gets into survival mode, not growing and learning mode. 

Conrad asked me what we should do to help. All I could think of was to tell him to help her feel connected and relaxed. He used to do math (learn the multiplication table) while playing chess, and she did well then. We struggle with this. It’s crazy. But how great that she has a family and parents to help her through this season of hard.

Parenting is hard, adoption has its challenges, success is hard earned, building a strong connection takes time. But we don’t look back. My kids belong to God. I am their protector, teacher, guide and mentor, while I have breath and life in me. And I often feel I lay my life down for them, and I wonder if they understand or appreciate any of it. Yet. But God sees. God knows. God redeems. God rewards. To Him be the glory.