When Your Child Marches to the Beat of Their Own Drum

My younger daughter marches to the beat of a different drum. She's different than a lot of girls her age. She thinks differently. She likes different things. She stands out in a crowd. We like to say that it's not just that she marches to the beat of her own drum; she doesn't even know there's any other music playing.

I struggle to parent this child. I don't always know what to do. I wonder how much to encourage her to fit in and how much to let her do her own thing. I wonder how to help her be a good friend. I struggle to understand how she thinks.

I have to remind myself almost daily that God knew what He was doing when He gave me this strong-willed, funny, energetic, and sensitive child. This is the child that most often has me on my knees begging for wisdom.

When you have a child who seems different from the rest of the world, it's a struggle to know what's best for him or her. I look at the parenting books on the shelf at my library and see none that encompass who my daughter is. Things that work with a lot of kids, don't work with her. Most of the parenting tools I use with my older daughter are useless with my younger one.

And some days it's a struggle to be her mom. Some days I want to throw up my hands and walk away. Some days I need more wisdom than Solomon. Some days I just need someone to tell me what's going on inside her head.

Those are the days I find myself needing a reminder that this child is a precious gift from God. Those are the days that I need to know that those personality traits that make her so different, that allow her to stand alone, are going to be used in big ways. Those are the days I need to hear the words of Psalm 139:14: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Sometimes, we just need a reminder that God knew what He was doing when He made our kids. He didn't make a mistake in giving them that strong will, that different way of thinking, that constant need to question everything. God has a plan for our kids -- no matter how different the beat they march to may be. God needs their specific strengths, weaknesses, faith and thinking to accomplish something big. We just have to trust Him while we're raising these kids.

Our job is to nurture and mold what God created -- not change it or force it to fit society's accepted mold. Our job is to recognize our kids' strengths, shore up their weaknesses, and encourage them to walk on the path God has laid out for them -- no matter how different that path is from our own. Because God has a plan, and when He adds the beat from your child's drum to His symphony, He makes some beautiful music.