have come to realize that these personalities lend themselves to very different children. As much as most people are thinking I’ll take the passive child, I am not sure I would agree. First by aggressive I don’t mean exactly violent or hurtful, even though both of those can be a part of their behaviors. These are the children that embrace life. They fight tooth and nail for life. They have a never give up attitude, even when what they are fighting for is wrong. Let me explain what I see in my children that have me considering this in the first place.
I have two passive, and two aggressive children and 1 that is really not in either category. I would have to put her in the aggressive, if I had to choose.
MJ and D12 are passive. MJ is really struggling right now with lots of things because he won’t take hold of his past and fight through the gunk and be free of it. He is stuck making some stinking choices because the old way is the “easy” way. That said I am working very hard to make his easy way hard. He is on my radar and being held very accountable. He is very uncomfortable with this. He wants to fly under the radar, go unnoticed and continue with his shallow life. I want much more for him. He doesn’t want to feel. Passively living what is dealt him without ever really experiencing life or even protesting what is dealt him. God has much more for each of us than just allowing the world to run over us. For MJ to get in trouble is “OK”. He will just take the consequence, and never try to understand why he got a consequence or how to fix it. He has a beaten down view of life. He deserves what he gets and that is just how it is. Sad way to live.
D12 is the one that caused this to come to light. He was bitten by a ???? maybe a spider. This was Sat. two weeks ago. Sunday he told me he hurt his ankle. I hear I hurt something several times a day around here. I didn’t think much about it. Told him I was sorry. Monday he said something again about hurting his ankle. I ask him how he hurt it. He didn’t remember. Again not unusual around here where boys are boys often. Tue. He was limping on that foot. I did more questioning, still no real answer. Tue. Night I demanded to see it since in watching him walk I discovered it looked swollen. It was very swollen. I then discovered what looked like a bite below the ankle bone. I started taking aggressive measures to draw the poison out Thursday it was still swollen and as a group at the park we prayed for healing. That evening it ruptured. That was an answer to prayer for me.
What I saw with D12 was him retreating inside himself. I know it was hurting. I allowed him one day of just setting and sleeping or staring into space. I felt in my spirit that his vegging out wasn’t health. Next day I gave him choices of reading, playing, anything but setting and staring. Then if he didn’t I gave him something to do. Amazingly it took very little of this for him to stop retreating inside himself. I can see though that his passive attitude or failure would easily allow him to curl up and die rather than fight through a situation and not only survive but become a stronger person. His ugly horrible bite is almost healed. It healed amazingly fast. It is still draining a tiny bit, but a band aid covers it. Now my struggle is keeping it clean until it totally heals. If I had allowed him to retreat I don’t think he would have healed as well. His mental health was what was in danger. Like MJ he has this view of life that control is beyond his ability.
Now on the other side I have two aggressive children, D9 and MN. Both of them embrace and fight to survive on their terms. Yes, these children are tough! Yet there is a depth of survival in them that isn’t in the other two. They would go down swinging to the very last breath you would know they were there.
D9 is labeled ODD. That stands for oppositional defiant disorder. Think stubborn and take it to about the 100th power. Everything can be a power struggle. Choose carefully your battles, because the battle may last hours or days over something simple. Remember the 9 hours to sweep? D9 rages with his ODD. Think 2 year old rages to the 100th. Imagine being screamed at for HOURS while he avoids doing what he has been ask to do. Yes, this happens. Not as often as it use to, but the past 2 weeks it has again been rough. I finally, I think, figured out what is going on. He has always been able to battle and win control of any person/situation. Then he met me. I am a brick wall. He has spent 22 months trying to go over, around and under this brick wall to again gain control. Remember he thinks he needs to be in control because the adults in his world that were in control didn’t exercise that control correctly. He can’t trust adults to keep him safe. He is coming to the conclusion that I am really in control and he can’t manipulate me or steam roll or badger me into letting him be in charge. This is a very scary place for him. It is a very tough place for me, but exciting as I foresee a breakthrough in behaviors soon. Once we have breakthrough this child will be a leader of people. He will be a power to contend with because he has staying power in the face of opposition.
My other aggressive child while much like D9 in many ways was more passive aggressive in her stunts. It was seldom a screaming match, it was just one brick wall (me) meeting another brick wall (her). She was sneaky. She would look you in the eye and lie. In fact if she was looking you in the eye it probably was a lie. She did LOTS of things to incite anger, but she did them under the table. If you notice I use past tense with this as I describe her aggression. She has spent the last year allowing God to truly transform her. She is a new creation in Christ. He has taken her fight for life and transformed it into an amazing young woman for Christ. She now fights for things that He stands for with just as much passion and aggression as she fought first just to survive in an unbelievable abusive home, then for control from me for years.
I often wonder what my children would be like if they had escaped the neglect and abuse. How would they be different? I do think each of us is born with some distinct personality traits. I think that our environment takes that and forms it into who we become. Some things we have control over, some we don’t. I think we all have the ability to change to some degree the part of our personality that is formed by environment. The God given part is just that God given.
If you read this whole bog you may be wondering what the point is. I don’t really have one. I have been musing on this and decided to muse out loud. I would love to hear others thoughts. I don’t know that mine are right. I am just observing what I see in my children. I spend a great deal of my time trying to figure out what makes each of my children tick and how to take that God given gift and grow it while weeding out the environmental weeds from their past.