Today we find encouragement from homeschool champion, lawyer, and advocate – Christine Field. I pray that you are strengthen in your Christian motherhood journey!
Have you ever had these thoughts about your child?
Man, he can be such a pain!
How come he doesn’t learn like his sister did?
Wow, I’d like to get away from him today!
Do you ever have days when you just don’t like your child?
Relax. You’re normal. Every parent in the universe has these thoughts on occasion.
But when you have them, you feel guilty.
I’m not cut out for this parenting thing.
Things sure aren’t the way I thought they would be.
Will this always be so hard?
Reality is reality. Your challenge, as a parent, is to love and guide the child in front of you. Even when you don’t like him! Face it – there are plenty of days when he isn’t crazy about YOU either.
It’s not a question of liking or not liking. It’s a commitment – a deep, heart commitment to seeing this child become the best version of him that he can be. He’s not going to be like the kid down the street. Is that why you’re disappointed? If it is – get a grip.
Here’s a revelation: Parenting isn’t about your happiness. In fact, some of what you are called to deal with can make you downright miserable. If you thought being a parent would be all sunshine and light, you need a reality check. It’s hard work, often disheartening, sometimes heartbreaking.
It’s what you were called to do. You were called to parent this child, with all his quirks and foibles. And guess what? The only variable in this equation that you have any control over is Y – O – U.
So look carefully at your feelings when you are feeling like you don’t like your child. Admit it and own it. Dig a little deeper around in your psyche and find out why you feel this way. Feelings of dislike can usually be traced to a few factors:
You might think it’s him you dislike, but it’s really his behaviors.
You might think you can change him (with superb homeschooling curriculum, great parenting techniques, blah, blah, blah.) The reality is the only thing you can change is your attitude and approach.
You have a framed photo of this child in your mind and all around the frame are flashing lights proclaiming, “problem child, problem child”! Disconnect those lights, take down the frame and look at your child with fresh eyes.
After you have faced the facts and looked at some of the contributing factors, what should you do next?
Play with your child, and let THEM choose how. Entering into play, his way, on his terms is a pathway to his heart.
Work on controlling your emotions. Learn to sever that connection in your brain that goes from his behavior …. to your irritation … to your anger. Put some space in your emotions and look at his behavior like an objective scientist. When you extinguish your immediate emotional reaction, you can begin to see what’s really going on.
Try saying only positive things. Make a commitment to passing over the negative, snarky, criticism you might be used to. Only open your mouth when you can say something positive, even if it’s small. “Wow, you really worked hard on that chore!” “I saw you really trying hard with that math homework. Awesome.” I appreciate that you turned the computer off without a fight.” Strung together, these positive words can be a healing balm for your child’s heart and a strengthening connection between you.
We all have days when we don’t like our child. The one thing that doesn’t change is our love for them. Do what you can, examine your heart, look at your own attitudes and expectations and choose to see the wonder and delight in your child – even when he drives you crazy.
Christine Field, www.MomLifeNavigator.com
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