When Doing What’s Best For Your Child Makes You Feel Like Crap

My son is a very smart boy, but he doesn’t fully understand. 

He can’t comprehend the very serious consequences he could face.

All he knows is that he’s sick of doing chest therapy, breathing treatments, taking handfuls of vitamins and eating healthy. Who could blame him?

He just wants to be a “normal” teenager. And to him, being “normal” doesn’t include any of the above.

Micah doesn’t completely realize it, but his life without his cystic fibrosis medicine is not one he’d enjoy. For 13 years, God has used caring doctors and amazing medications to keep my beautiful boy breathing deeply. He plays baseball. Rarely misses school. Makes straight A’s.

I want to keep him well. And so, I’ve had to be willing to feel rotten:

Micah: Why, why do you make me do this? How would you feel if you had to do this?! Why do you even care if I do my medicine? I’ll be the one to pay the price!

But the price could be so much higher than he realizes.

Me: I make you do your medicine because I love you. I give you consequences for not doing it because I love you.

Micah: Well, it sure doesn’t feel like love! If you loved me, you wouldn’t nag me all the time! You wouldn’t make me do this! You hate me!

Me: Micah, I know you’re really mad at me. That’s okay. You can even not like me very much.  I’m willing to take that. But just take your medicine!

Each time this scenario plays out, my heart is pumping and I’m on the verge of tears.

I don’t like being the “bad” guy.

It goes against every (recovering) “people-pleasing” fiber of my being.

The idea of loving our kids evokes warm, happy feelings.

The reality of love with our children is that sometimes we feel awful and misunderstood. 

The idea of love suggests deep closeness.

The reality of love means that we have to be willing to accept feeling isolated from them at times. Pushed away. Disliked. Labeled “the enemy.” 

After 16 years of parenting, I’ve learned to accept the reality of love. Because that’s the kind of love that provides true healing.

I think about how I have a Parent who does things that sometimes don’t make sense to me either: 

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord.
And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

And, though, I don’t always understand His ways, I know His love is real. And for my ultimate good. 

Even though it sometimes hurts.

Recently, a friend’s husband encouraged me with these words: “Remember, Melinda, one day, the ‘bad guy’ will become the ‘good guy.’”

That day may be a long way off, but when it comes, it will feel great.

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Melinda Means

Melinda is mother to a strapping teenage son and a beautiful and entertaining teenage daughter. She has written for Focus on the Family, CBN.com, In Touch and Lifeway’s Journey. Melinda is also a regular contributor to The Mom Initiative and iDisciple. She is the Team Leader for Moms Together, a highly interactive Facebook mom mentoring group. Melinda is co-author of Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family (Bethany House, 2015), available on Amazon. You can visit her blog,  Mothering from Scratch.