Have you ever heard someone say “My child is giving me such a hard time”? Or even better, has one of your own parents ever told you that you used to “give them a hard time”? In the parent/child relationship, it is important to remember and respect that both the parent and child have needs. As parents, we are called to discipline our children and teach them the way they should go. However, through the younger years, they are very much also growing in such a way that at times they are still not even capable of reaching some of our unrealistic expectations.
Next time your child is having a hard time, for example, struggling to calm down before bed, not following through on a chore, or just generally appearing to be pushing back or resistant to meet one of your demands or expectations – observe your self-talk. What is your thought life like in those moments? If you are thinking about how hard of a time your children are giving you, it is more likely to influence you to think about punishing them. However, when we think about the big emotions or resistance as them having a hard time, we are prone to think about ways we can connect and help them process what they are having a difficult time with.
This is important because as they grow older they need to be taught how to be aware of their inner world – and also start gaining the tools to move through big emotions or resistant parts or how to speak assertively for their needs while respecting the other person.
Start now- “my kid is having a hard time, not giving me a hard time”. A compassionate response to a frustrating situation lends itself to discipline rather than punishment. Connecting with our kids in difficult moments pays dividends for years to come.
Sarah Dailey, LPC
I help my clients as they walk through life’s valleys. Meeting them in the dark places to acknowledge and support my clients enables them to explore and discover their own worth and value. Just as we are hurt in relationships, I believe that we are also healed in relationship with one another. Together, we will find the tools and insight to process your experience and hopefully you will leave feeling encouraged. In particular, I enjoy marriage and family therapy.
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