It’s tricky to understand this because before you had kids, everything in your life seemed permanent. It just was.
If your job sucked, it was never going to magically start not sucking. That was simply an element of the nature of the thing: it was a sucky job.
If someone was treating you poorly or acting crazy, it was because they were crazy, because they were a jerk. That was who they were. You either lived with it or avoided it.
If you had trouble sleeping for many nights in a row, then you were a bad sleeper. Or you had a condition for which you would have to go get medical treatment. It certainly wasn’t something that would just resolve itself.
But kids, kids are different. They go through phases. They have good days and bad days. They have what are called regressions, so even after they’ve made progress with something—like sleep—suddenly it feels like they lost all their gains and then some.
As people, we’re not great at understanding these phases. We don’t have the patience for them. Of course, rationally, we know our teenager will, eventually, grow out of whatever thing they’re doing that is driving us nuts. But right now? Right now, we’re on the receiving end of it. We’re not witnessing it, we’re experiencing it. And we have trouble just waiting it out.
Our kid is going through a sleep regression and suddenly we’re despairing…Will I ever get a good night’s rest again? Yes, you will. Just wait. Be patient. Be loving. Don’t try to force anything. The same goes with so many other behavioral issues. Your kid is not a jerk, they haven’t lost their mind. They’re struggling with something. Be there for them. Help them. Don’t ascribe any meaning to this whatsoever.
What is growing up but passing through a series of phases? You went through this. Every human alive did. It’s only as we get older, as life stabilizes a bit, that we forget just how many phases we went through, how rapidly we cycled in and out of so many—so many insane, incomprehensible phases.
Be patient. Be helpful. Be understanding. Don’t make things worse. As the old Sufi poets say: this too shall pass.