Monday, November 7, 2011

Living for the Prodigal

It isn’t every day that one lives with a child who sincerely disregards all better options only to ensure that they disobey and disrespect at a level that will soon drive them to view the interior of a prison or at best the interior of an otherwise empty home.

And yet, every day I wake, I have been living for a prodigal. Some of you have been making a decision to live for your prodigal for weeks, months, even years now and every day it is the same life sucking event. This prodigal has the potential to ruin your moments, your days, your marriage, relationships and lives. No matter which way you look at it, this one child, person or individual can and will with or without intent continue to destroy the people around them. And choosing to live for them is wrong. Yes, you heard me CHOOSING TO LIVE FOR THEM IS WRONG.

For me, it really wasn’t the disrespect or even the down right manipulative aspects of my child but really it was the unique amount of selfishness he seemed to be able to pack into his tiny 6 year old frame. The ability to always want everything to be centered around him, to threaten his brothers stability of enjoying life to the point that no one wanted to be around him, and yet he could still manage to influence them all. He really makes the house an awful place to be. After much research I came across an amazing link that assisted me in better understanding just how selfish this little boy was.

According to an ODD pamphlet distributed by,

Those with ODD, “like to see you get mad. Every request can end up as a powerful struggle. Lying becomes a way of life, and getting a reaction out of others is the chief hobby. Perhaps hardest of all to bear, they rarely are truly sorry and often believe nothing is their fault.”

Sadly, the pamphlet didn’t offer some amazing cure and even left little hope for those thinking the behavior would somehow amazingly change. Actually it indicated that most people would go on to become yet another statistic or label that would otherwise be recognized as a psychiatric disorder and altogether excuse the individual from their selfish tactics.

As an individual who believes that all issues, on most levels, stem from selfishness. I recognize the issue at hand but realize that short of losing his arms or legs and having to become dependant on someone, my son has a limited understanding of what it means to be selfless. And, in some cases even such an awful event would only render him a more deeply seeded selfish jerk.

So back to reality, earlier I said living for the prodigal is wrong. I meant that. So perhaps it would be better to understand what I meant. There are days when I would get up and my decisions were made in a way to attempt to avoid his outbursts, to work around his manipulations or even to eliminate his opportunities to damage me or my other children.

The most recent bouts of tantrums and disrespect finalized as my son kicked a large hole in his bedroom wall. It took everything in me to not send him flying through the window! As with any parent dealing with a manipulative and selfish driven child you are constantly challenged, by the child, by others and even by your own internal need to take a break. My son got an appropriate punishment and then he was taken to visit a friend of ours while I took the time to recover and begin to assess what I should have done differently.

It didn’t take me long to realize what I should have done.

1. When a child who knowingly and willingly destroys property as a repeated offense. CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT



I conclusively decided that if this occurred again I would follow the above steps because I love my son, I love him enough to understand that all my love will NEVER make him respectful, it will never make him want to love others, it will never make him love himself enough to make a respectful person of himself. All my love can NEVER do these things. That’s a lot for the mother of a prodigal to accept but it is the truth.

So, after a week away my prodigal will come home, his room has been repainted, the hole repaired, a new bed set, a writing desk and a lamp with a cars themed lampshade sits nicely on the desk, his pillows have been fluffed and we will celebrate his return! But, his return will not be without a strong warning, “if you ever choose to willfully destroy property or harm another person, we as your parents, without hesitation will call the proper authority to detain, charge and keep you until you have completed the time or sentence that the judge sees appropriate to give you.”

We will make this choice because we love you.

There are so many people I know even in my own family, that are living with a prodigal and they are serving that prodigal, they are hoping and praying that their unwillingness to give up will make that prodigal change, but it is at the lowest point that a prodigal learns what it means to turn from selfishness and it is at the lowest point that a person learns what it means to be loved and to love others. A prodigal is, when enabled, incapable of seeing the need to change. A prodigal will drain you and make you incapable of seeing how drained you have become. I had to learn that it was not respectful or motherly to drain all my energy on my prodigal and leave little time or patience for my three children who where in good earnest trying to respect, honor and obey. I had to learn that the priority I made for my prodigal was inappropriate and unacceptable and I will be telling my prodigal that the time will be delivered when it is needed, not when it is wanted or demanded. My time will not be determined by my prodigal and my prodigal will not dictate my going and my coming.

If the time comes that I must let go, I would rather that the God almighty give me the strength to let go than sin consume me that I am so selfish to let my other children pay the price for my prodigal. This lesson is not without a heavy heart but it is definitely better learned now while I still have many years to raise my boys! I would hate for the prodigal to distract me from all the wonderful things they will do in the years to come. I will pray for my prodigal, and with strength, raise my boys.

A Mother’s Prayer for her Prodigal

I love my child, with all I am
No matter where the sin may send
But all my love can never change
Choices made when selfishness reigns

My choices will be hard at best
My heart will cry, my lips never rest
Prayers of hope and words of wisdom
But no longer will I be drained of living

For on the bench sit my others
Missing dearly their distracted mother
All my love so carelessly placed
I’ve seen the pain upon their face

Lord, give me strength to realize
The ones you gave me
Are precious in Your sight
And while in love you’ve entrusted me
Sometimes they belong back with Thee

So in Your wisdom let me be
Better prepared to let my prodigal be
To let them be alone again
To let them be alone in sin
To let them choose the way they will
Within the restraints of laws and judges

I pray you keep my child safe for me
But never so safe they can harm others freely
I pray you reach their heart for me
But never at the cost of another heart
I pray you open their eyes to see
But if when opened they turn their back on Thee
I pray you give me strength to let the child go
Back to the merciless law and foe. AMEN

1 comment:

  1. I'm praying for wisdom for you. Thank God he has a mom like you who is willing to make the tough calls when necessary but who loves him no matter what. But that doesn't make the situation any less stressful for you. Thanks so much for your vulnerability and openness.