Are You Exhausted Teaching the Same Lessons Over and Over?

by Courtney on June 9, 2011 in Inspiration in Child Rearing, Responsibility, Training Ground for Mature Adult Character, Uncategorized

There are times in motherhood where I have been both frustrated and baffled. Frustrated because I am disciplining my child for the same thing over and over and over and over and baffled because I am consistently giving consequences over and over and over and they are not changing.

I remember when my son was around 3 and we would go places. He would inevitably do something aggressive which would shock me as much as the other moms watching! I would discipline him and watch for those same behaviors at home to be sure to work on them in privacy. But it seemed inevitable, the next time we were in a social setting he would do it again.

By the age of 4, I was exhausted with dealing with the same behaviors he was displaying at 3.  I remember receiving the same advice from multiple sources – “be consistent“. The baffling part – I was being very consistent – and I had a child who was being equally consistent in his misbehavior.

5 years later and my son is now 8 and though he still makes spontaneous decisions without thinking that lead him to trouble, I do see progress. What a relief to see progress – but we aren’t out of the woods yet!!! A wise woman once told me “Courtney, work on progress not perfection.”  Some personalities are bent in a direction that are harder to straighten than others. Some misbehavior is very obvious while others can be more sneaky.

So this brings me to the point of the above story.  My daughter and I attempted to complete a new assignment from Polished Cornerstones page 300 (here’s us working on the assignment over breakfast).

We had missionary guests staying with us all weekend and so before the family arrived I went over with my daughter ways that she could be hospitable to the little girls that would be staying with us. She made a list of activities she could invite the other girls to do in our home.

The list was made, the house prepared, the missionaries arrived and my daughter went into a funk. Let’s just say that nothing we had planned for her to do happened. If you follow my blog – you might remember that we had


And so this means we must try again another time. In training my children over and over and over and over I have learned a few good lessons as a mother:

1. Galatians 6:7 says “A man reaps what he sows.” I must continue to sow seeds of righteousness because in “due time I will reap a harvest IF I do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).

2. Persevere. Training a child up in the ways of the Lord is not for the weary at heart! Persevere!

3. Be humble. My children keep me humble. You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make him drink. Just when my children couldn’t make me any prouder – they go and act their age and embarrass me! My prayer life has grown as God daily humbles me and keeps me on my knees. It is very clear when they do what is right that God deserves all the glory.

4. Be patient. I try to remember when I am frustrated that my daughter has only been on this earth 5 years. She is still learning and growing. I expect to see bits of maturity over time rather than an overnight morphing of a butterfly! By God’s grace, by the time we double her age to 10, I know I will see some fruit of my labor now. Be patient.

5. Remember that God gave Adam and Eve a perfect environment and even they made the wrong choices. We can do much right as a parent and our children still make wrong choices.

So dear Christian sister and friend, if you are weary from teaching your children the same lessons over and over and over and over – you are not alone! ME TOO!!! We are in it together – DO NOT GIVE UP!This is my life verse – Galatians 6:9 “Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due season you will reap a harvest IF you do not give up.”

Walk with the King!
, Women Living Well



Courtney blogs over at Women Living Well. She has been married to her high school sweet heart for 13 years, home schools her son and daughter and is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute. Her passion to see women living well landed her on the Rachael Ray Show in November, 2009. Since then, she blogs regularly about marriage, parenting, homemaking and more. She also blogs at where she leads on-line Bible studies and tech accountability groups.

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ladyscott June 9, 2011

Perfect timing as I embark on some serious training up with my daughter. She just turned 3, is very strong-willed…VERY…very emotional, and refuses to potty train or eat anything fruit or vegetable (or most foods for that matter.) She’s SO strong willed that she would literally rather let her skin burn and itch from waste than go in the potty or let me clean her. If she doesn’t like the food I give her, she’ll go satisfy her hunger pangs by eating non-food items. Constant, constant, constant. Her older brother also has repetitive misbehaviors that leave me wanting to pull my own hair out. Your post has been helpful for me.

Homeschool on the Croft June 9, 2011

Oh boy, which of us couldn’t have written this?
All the way through, I’m thinking, ‘Oh, you too?’! Because there’s one thing sure: It was me too!

Yet we love them unconditionally, as He loved us. But we hate sin in their lives, just as He hates sin. Being consistent and being balanced isn’t always easy. (Er, what am I talking about…. it’s NEVER easy!) x

Gail June 9, 2011

Thank you for sharing this! I too get frustrated saying the same things over and over to my children. They are all very young, so it’s the same things day in and day out. It is a comfort in itself to know I’m not the only one out there who has to tell their kids the same thing more than once 🙂

Heather June 9, 2011

Great post….couldn’t come at a better time for me! Been needing a little ‘encouragement’ with raising 2 toddlers. 😉

Kimberley Byrd June 9, 2011

Oh my….this was so uplifting to me but yet I feel so terrible for saying that because you are suffering also:) I have two like this and they have emotional issues from adoption also on top of all of it. I can leave hope for the woman who has trouble with her child potty training. One of my duaghter’s didn’t poop in the potty until she was 6 1/2 (just a couple of weeks ago) so I CAN really relate to the statement “work on progress not on perfection”. Praying for all of us!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jennifer June 9, 2011

Wow this was definitely perfect timing!!! Praise be to God! Thanks so much!

Amy @ Homestead Revival June 9, 2011

By the above comments, I can see that this is timely for a LOT of us. Apparently in the transition from school days to summer days, our kids all think it’s time to “party”. I’m dealing with issues with a 12 year old (keep in mind I’ve already discipled my 18 year old through this period in life) and I was so discouraged the last two days. My children are so vastly different and this second child requires even more tenacity on my part! At first glance, I felt that the child I’m dealing with was the one with the issue, but when I really reflected on my parenting, I realized where I’ve lacked some consistency, been less than patient, not given clear directions, accepted a poor attitude as being good enough, and most of all, not followed through on my end – like checking chores carefully. When I shared some of my frustration with my husband, he was able to provide balance, wisdom, insight, accountability, and encouragement. Then I sat down with my daughter, had a good discussion on the heart of the issue, and we both felt better about it and both our attitudes had improved. Your post is like icing on the cake, reminding me that my daughter is “normal” and we’re all going through this because we’re all humans in need of regeneration! Thank you!

Sarah June 9, 2011

Thank you for this post! I was just in the nursery rocking the baby to sleep and praying, praying, praying for this day – for God to give me wisdom and patience, for Him to remind me that I am mothering for His kingdom and His glory… I too have a 3 year old. He’s always been very sweet and well-behaved until, well, he turned 3 a couple of months ago. He’s still sweet, just more “loco” (that’s the word he calls himself when I try to calm him down). I find myself now at a loss at times when it comes to training and discipline. Thank you for helping me realize that this is normal, that I’m not alone and that this is a part of being a parent! I live in another country where discipline for young children is definitely not the norm, so it’s good for me to read other moms’ experiences from my home culture!

Mary Newman June 9, 2011

What fabulous perspective! Thank you so much!!! (I have a 6, 4 & 1 yr old so really can relate to this!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love the line: “I try to remember when I am frustrated that my daughter has only been on this earth 5 years. She is still learning and growing.” Wow! That’s a life changing quote! Thank you.

Lauri B June 9, 2011

I am the mother of 4 who totally identifies with this article. When I am in the midst of the millionth time of teaching/instructing/disciplining…and am tempted to say something totally self-righteous like “didn’t we just do this yesterday/this morning/an HOUR ago…” I think to myself that the Holy Most High God NEVER looks down at His beloved sinner and EVER is tempted to say such terrible things to me. The other thing I must keep in the forefront of my mind is that my job as the Deut. 6 my job is NOT to rid my children of their sin, my job is that of a taller sinner leading their smaller sinner to the cross!!!!!!

Lauri B

Christin June 9, 2011

Awesome, awesome, awesome. It is truly refreshing to know I am not alone and that other people deal with the same thing I do. It’s comforting because it shows this part of growing and maturing is NORMAL.
Thanks Courtney!

Patti June 9, 2011

Have you been in my house watching me with my 5 year old and almost two year old? It’s like you’re speaking directly to me! The only explanation for the amazingly PERFECT timing of this post is God. My sweet 5 year old can behave SO well and make us absolutely so proud of her with her excellent accomplishments in schooling , AWANA, and our church children’s musical, etc. and then do a complete opposite turn around and behave SO disrespectfully and be so disobedient. I was about to rip my hair out trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. She is SO hot and cold. But, this post made me realize that she is still only 5 and I do see God working in her newly saved little heart. I have to remember that she is not a butterfly, as you put it so well, and she will not just one day transform. We are all a “work-in-progress.” Thank you, so much, for this post.

Sheree June 9, 2011

I do not want to be offensive, as I know sometimes this can be but I just wanted to share a hought with you. You might consider taking your daughter in to see a developemental specialist. We had a foster child who exibited all of the same things your daughter does. It turns out she had a condition that was very correctable with some nutritional supplement drops. At first they thought the child was autistic but later found, with some alternative medicine, that was not the case.

Cookie June 9, 2011

Oh my, indeed … this was such a blessing! Praise the Lord for His encouraging us in every way. Thanks for this.

LaToya June 9, 2011

Courtney I was just crying out (or whining) to the Lord about this today with my boys aged 5 and 2. My oldest came up to me this morning and said “Mommy I’m not going to play around so much today.” I wanted to cry when he told me that and gave me a hug. Something seems to sinking in, even if it only lasted about 15 minutes.

Amanda June 9, 2011

The social setting really speaks to me. My daughter, who has been find when out and about since she was born, has now started throwing temper tantrums in restaurants and at stores. I don’t even know what to do about it. We have to go out because we have to buy groceries and other things during the day, but she just rebels against being stuck in one place. I like your life verse. It is fitting in so many different ways.

Becky June 9, 2011

thank you for your timely blog. I appreciate it seeing as how my daughter has hit a stubborn streak at only 18 months old. This got me to crying because there are so many times when I just almost pull my hair out thinking “what am I doing wrong?!” Again, I appreciate all your good thoughts.

I Live in an Antbed June 9, 2011

Amen! We cannot give in to frustration. We must continue to teach and reteach the lessons that must be learned in character, no matter how long it needs to take root. After all, the Lord is still teaching me many of the same lessons that He started decades ago–and I am still learning. 🙂

Kari June 9, 2011

I love our Christian sisters that take the time to talk real to us and break down the meanings in the bible to our everyday lives as mothers and woman of Christ! It is also humbling to see that mothers all over are going through the same challenges daily as I and my children are.
I too have to stop and think the same way “my child has only been on this earth… ” and it seems to humble me. I am praying more and more on my quick anger that I get when things are just too raveled in the day.
Thank you again Courtney for your love and concern for all of us, together we’ll make it through by trusting in God that our harvest will come! 🙂

Jenna June 9, 2011

Just what I needed to hear today to feel blessed and uplifted! Lately I have often reminded myself that if children already knew how to do everything right, they wouldn’t need parents (job security for me, right?). But still I can get discouraged! So to remember that practice (and more practice and more practice..) may never make perfect but will make PROGRESS I feel ready to continue training my children in the way they should go and not feel discouraged by the lack of reward I see now, but in hopes of the rewards that will come in the future. Thank you!

Laura June 9, 2011

Thank you! Much needed encouragement to know I am not alone. My strong-willed boys are 2 and 3. I am very consistent and just like you said, so are they in being nuts… a lot. Thank you for the encouragment to work on progress, not perfection.

Stacie June 9, 2011

Oh that was so good!!! I could identify with this only my son is 10. There are days where I am baffled at the lack of self-control he has. People think I don’t discipline him, that I must not be consistent or that I can’t keep on top of it all because I have six children. It’s not true. I am the most consistent with this child and am dealing with him 80 percent of the time. It is just the way it is. I can only pray that people with give him and I grace as he learns to control his behavior. He is a work in progress. He is not a finished product, but still on the assembly line. Great article. I was very encouraged.

Natasha Miller June 9, 2011

I so appreciate these words of encouragement. I can relate. I have two children that it seems like we go over and over things with. When I express my frustration to my husband he says, “Well, have you told them 100 times yet?” It’s our joke between us because nothing comes easy. But I’ve always wondered if I’m doing something wrong. Thanks for sharing!

Rachel June 9, 2011

Thank you! I am posting that verse on my kitchen cabinet right now!!

Kelly June 9, 2011

So true. Sometimes its good to just know that ou aren’t alone in this.

Nicole June 9, 2011

Such an encouragement! Thank you! 🙂 We have been dealing with some pretty serious character issues with our eldest and though our correcting is consistent, we see small growth. Nevertheless, small growth is better than no growth. 🙂 Such are the lessons God is teaching me in parenting, and when I see that others are learning the same, my heart is ever encouraged to keep on… And you’re right… “Training a child in the ways of the Lord is NOT for the faint of heart.”

Daisyflowers111 June 9, 2011

Believe me when I say this, there’s nothing that can get me totally angry or high tempered. However, when it comes to my kids, I blow a fuse. I mean I just lose it! I lose it by training over and over again. It get so mundane that even attending bible studies, going out to coffee, sometimes isn’t enough for my needed break.

Many times I have learned to lean on God, dig into the word, and pray. I mean I will pray until I believe that there is a calmness, peace and joy that’s been stirred into me!
God can be so patient with us but when it comes to us and OUR kids we totally lose it! Oh God is so holy, sovereign, and super natural. If only we could be exactly like that…


Nikki June 10, 2011

Great advice! and so challenging at times. This reminds me of a thought I had recently, that we are to “train” a child in the way they should go. Training implies doing the same thing over and over and over again. So often I expect to be able to tell my daughter something one time and she be able to “get it”. What an unrealistic expectation, I’m certainly not able to always do that!

Jaime June 10, 2011

Courtney, thank you for this! I definitely call my disciplining my children into question when it seems like it’s just not working. I feel like a broken record and wonder if I’m getting through, and have to remind myself of Galatians 6:9 many times over. It is comforting to know that other moms are struggling with the very same thing, and perhaps we can pray specifically for one another in this area.

Sarah June 10, 2011

“IF we persevere”!! Okay!

Lacinda June 11, 2011

This is so encouraging to read!

Shawn Heeney June 11, 2011

Thank you Coutney for your post this morning. This is so where I am at. I can get so worn out with repeating myself and teaching my boys over and over and over. Praying…when is it gonna sink in? I have to remember that my children are in train, just like I am in training. Gods ways around us (only christian in the family) are so new and out of the norm. Like you reminded in Galatians…I have trained my children in the ways of the WORLD. And now with the Lords grace, love and mercy…train them up in the ways of the Lord. THANK YOU

Kimberly June 15, 2011

Thanks for the timely reminder! God is good!

Ellen August 13, 2012

I would recommend to anyone who is struggling with discouragement in this area to read “Parenting by the Book” by John Rosemond – it is Biblically based and very encouraging. He talks a lot about how secular psychological theory has dominated parenting topics for years, teaching us to approach our children from a “behaviorist” perspective. Humans cannot be “trained” into or out of behaviors like animals can, because they have free will and are choosing their behavior for reasons based in their relationship with you and their own emotions.

The most helpful part to me was his explanation of consistency – sticking to a single parenting “script” or technique can lead us into unproductive struggles with our children, and focusing on extinguishing certain behaviors can be discouraging. Our role is to teach from the basis of who God is and His principles. As long as you are faithful and consistent in *who you are* and *what your standards are*, you can often gain a lot in your relationship with your kids by adapting your discipline methods to the moment or looking for new ways to direct them into constructive learning and looking to Jesus.

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