Are You Exhausted Teaching Your Children the Same Lessons Over and Over and Over?

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. He was beginning to be labeled by the behavior and it was deeply concerning.

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.

4 years later and my son is now 7 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. Multiple times (and this is embarrassing to admit) I have disciplined my son because another person reported of his misbehavior, only to learn later that the other child had done something sneaky that no one else saw.

So this brings me to the point of the above story. Today is Polished Cornerstones day over at Raising Homemakers and my daughter and I attempted to complete a new assignment from 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 something similar happen once before on a Polished Cornerstones assignment. <

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!


  1. Thanks for reminding us that even in their perfect environment, Adam and Eve still chose to sin. Thanks for the encouraging words this morning, Courtney!

  2. It's refreshing to know that my children aren't the only ones that "don't get it" after 100 times of trying the same misbehavior! It is hard to remain consistent – I always assume by the 10th time that my tactics might not be working, so I change on them which, inevitably, makes things worse.

    Thanks for this post this morning, Courtney!

  3. Thanks for posting this, I really needed to read it. My son is a ball of energy, some days I can hardly keep up. I try so hard to dicipline and be a good example however I do get very exhausted.

    Glad I am not the only one.

    So thank you for encouraging and uplifting. I will definatly being praying that in 4, 8, 10 years I will see God hands transforming him into the man He wants my young son to be.


  4. Just what I needed to hear this morning…especially as our summer vacation is coming to an end and school is about to start. I feel like this summer has been a continual uphill hike in sibling battles and reconciliation.

    You always have an encouraging word! Thank you for heeding God's call to have this wonderful ministry for us women!

  5. Dear Courtney,
    in France the children seems to be like in the states!!! lol and the mother have the same problems!!!
    Thanks for this post this give us courage for the day.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am so struggling with this right now with my 4 yr. old. I've been very frustrated and feeling up against a brick wall. But the Lord has been sending so much encouragement my way this week, via a book by Elizabeth George, people from my church, and now your blog post today! I will be remembering Galatians 6:9,and looking for progress right now, not necessarily perfection! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I'm sitting here in tears. I needed this so much this morning.
    I have 4 children, my 2nd oldest ~ my awesome daughter who is 12, challenges me daily with the same bad choices. Though we are consistent, it still happens. We are so frustrated. Yesterday was bad. I mean….crawl in your bed, give up, can't do this another day BAD. This morning I woke up and was questioning, God what am I doing wrong? And I opened your page on a whim while pondering.
    Thank you for the bottom of my heart. If it was easy then everyone would have picture perfect children. It's work and it's not over, the phases just change. Thank you thank you thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚
    God Bless,

  8. I am so glad forgiveness is always available for as long as we live we will grow and we grow by making mistakes as well as having successes.

  9. Praying for the Lord to give you strength and wisdom as you raise your children.

    We've ALL been there!

    God is with youโ™ฅ

  10. Thank you, Courtney; this was a huge dose of encouragement. I especially need to work on patience and not getting frustrated or internalizing my frustration and anger when my kids are disobedient.

  11. I can so so SO relate. In my case, I have 3 children who have some issues very likely related to in-utero exposure (adoptive family). It adds an extra layer of impulsiveness, among other issues. But like you, I'm humbled to pray and have no question who receives the glory when victories do come. Thanks, Courtney, for sharing this real struggle as it relates to a real call.

  12. Thank you for this post. Yes, it feels to me that no matter what I try, my children still do not get it. But I am hopeful, that one day they will. I love your ending scripture verse. I am going to write in Spanish and post it somewhere in my house so that I can read it over and over.

  13. I am so glad you used Galatians 6:9. That is what what going through my mind as I read your blog post. As a mom of three teens who love and serve the Lord I can say that consistency is certainly important. While other women around me are always bemoaning the teen years as something EVERYONE must soldier through, my husband and I are enjoying a peaceful home where everyone loves each other and helps each other. I think consistent and loving discipline in the early years is a key to harmony in the home for later years. Keep up the good work, Courtney!

  14. Well, I've said it here before and I'll say it again: thank you for this post; it was exactly the word I needed today.

    We adopted our daughter from an orphanage in Russia 7 years ago. She is 10 now. After 7 years, we still go through the same misbehaviors, the same attempts at manipulation on her part and the same "button pushing". I just made the remark the other day to my husband that you'd think after 7 years she would have figured out those things don't work, but she hasn't. Or at least she is not convinced enough to warrant changing.

    I am copying and printing out a good portion of this post to keep in my journal as a reminder on those days when I think I can't take much more. And I am putting the verse in Galatians on a notecard to keep with me at all times.

    Thanks Courtney for your transparency and your obedience to the Lord.


  15. How refreshing to read this post and know that I am not alone!! You are right, parenting right is NOT for the faint of heart, you definitely have to persevere and be consistent.

    It's amazing how my children can embarrass me in public at times!

    I agree that having children has made me much more humble. It is hard to be consistent in training and also having PATIENCE!!

    I want to speak with a gentle and quiet voice, which I usually do, but God is really working on me with this. Oh, what discipline and restraint this takes! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Parenting well requires a lot of prayer to the Lord for help and humbleness before Him.

  16. Very nice reading this, I'm not a mom yet but I'm a teacher and I have the same struggles with my students.
    I'm a Brazilian,lving in Brazil. Here
    parents are not allowed to homeschool their kids…
    I loved your life verse and I'm gonna apply to my life too.
    Be with God always, Luluzinha.

  17. Such a timely post! I was just thinking this last night (and again this morning), and you made me feel much better. I do see progress, however tiny it may seem.

  18. This is exactly what I needed right now! Thank you!
    His strength truly is made perfect in our weakness. I'm sure you have encouraged more women than you will ever know just by exposing what we can so often see as our failures. Those public scenes (and the looks they can elicit from others) are enough to make you want to run to your car and burst into tears–and I'm sure I have more than once. Mothers need encouragement so much and they need to know that they are not alone. This blog ministers to those needs so beautifully–Thanks again for all you do, Courtney!

  19. Thank you so much for sharing this. After the morning I just had I was in desperate need of some encouragement. This hit the spot. So thank you!

  20. Wow, this is just what I needed to read today! My daughter is only 15 m.o. and this still totally resonated with me… I esp. liked your point about how we can provide our children with the perfect environment for good behavior, and yet they can still make bad choices. Thanks for the encouragement:)

  21. Thanks so much for sharing! It is so easy to think we mommies are alone!
    You encouraged me lots today!

  22. I was so encouraged by this that I e-mailed it to my small group gals! Every mom needs to hear this! Thanks Courtney!

  23. Two things, first of all…yes, I think we all grow weary at times of the task set before us and thus the Lord shows us He is with us. Not that it's like a light switch and we are in a good mood immeidately, but it does give us call to stop and thank Him for His grace and patience with us doesn't it. *smile* I am so thankful He continues to train me in His ways even though He has to do the same lesson and refining over and over and over. *big smile* Talk about growing. *big smile*

    Second thing… the frappe recipie your sister shared with you and then you posted here a little while back, it's GREAT! I have made it with chocolate and caremal and really like both. I added a little more coffee and it's even better flavor wise. *smile* I am excyted to share with you that it's tasty and making it's home here in our house and I am passing on the tasty recipie to those I know who also enjoy a good sweet treat now and then. *smile* Thank you again for sharing it with us. Sincerely, Mommy of two little blessings & so much more!

  24. Thanks, Courtney! I love that you went back to scripture on this!! God cares, and I often remind myself that He loves my little guy even more than I do. In His wisdom and mercy, He's shaping both of us every day. As I teach responsibility and manners, I'm learning humility and patience (they're usually tough lessons for me to learn!). It's helps me remember that my kiddo and I are both a work in progress! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Just curious, what did you put on your list of possible activities? I am still learning to be a hostess. Great idea by the way – I know what it is like, the funk thing, my kiddos struggle the same way. Thanks for your timely post.

  26. Thanks for being real, Courtney. I just started following your blog and watching the u-tube of Rachel Ray last week. I've been having a Super-mom crisis and I really needed to see that you and your family are human, too.

    Thanks for the encouragement. Don't give up yourself!!

  27. Thank you for your obedience to the Lord in posting such encouraging words Courtney. Reading your blog and watching your vlogs one can get the impression that your life is perfectly wonderful and without problems, but you keep it real and positive; in short, you honor God in how you choose to present your joys and struggles!

    Yesterday was one of those days I thought I wouldn't make through. I believe being in prayer would have made me a much more sane, if not just as tired mommy.

    Galatians 6:9 is our wedding verse. Boy can we ever apply it to our lives as parents!

  28. This is exactly what I needed to hear this afternoon after a morning of struggle with my 2 year old. Thank you for your willingness to speak honestly!

  29. Thank you so much for this post, this speaks to right where I'm at! My son is 3 and some days I feel like giving up on the discipline all together because it seems to have no impact on future behavior. But this is what we've been called to do!

  30. Great post! Something that has really helped me over the years is understanding brain developement. I think a HUGE mistake we can make with children is putting expectations on them that aren't age appropriate. My 4 year old acts exactly like his 2 big brothers did at that age. So I know that he will eventually outgrow much of that behavior. I still correct and discipline but the perspective makes a HUGE difference. I have taken that same approach with my oldest who is 10 and I intentionally seek out moms who have raised boys and have been through that age. I will talk out my struggles with them and gain their perspective. It helps me to be much more patient with him.

  31. Rebekah – things like invite her to play on the swings, bikes, with side walk chalk, a game, puzzles, etc.

  32. Claudia – thank you for mentioning this. I do put my best foot forward on the blog everyday – but I am VERY flawed and struggle too!

    I'm glad that this showed the REAL me ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Oh my word, I needed this right now… so glad I found this… I have really been struggling with being consistent lately! thanks for the encouragement.

    LOVED pt. 5!! even in a perfect environment we would still make wrong choices (I needed that for me, more than for my kids today)!

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