The thing about parenting is that it’s always thrusting us into situations we have to deal with, we have to solve, we have to correct, we have to stop. Our kids aren’t listening. Our kids did something dangerous. Our kids failed a class. Our kids are drifting in a direction that worries us.
Of course, there are some parents who are oblivious to all this, just generally hands-off. But the rest of us, who are just doing the best we can, struggle with these situations. We don’t want to yell, but that’s what we end up doing. We want to teach and instruct, but it somehow devolves into a power struggle. We fail to reach them, fail to teach them.
In her wonderful book Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be (a must read!), the great Dr. Becky Kennedy writes that we have to try to “move from a place of ‘What’s wrong with my child and can you fix them?’ to ‘What is my child struggling with and what’s my role in helping them?’ And it’s also important–as we find ourselves in these situations–to try to ask ourselves also, “What’s coming up for ME about this situation?”
As we’ve said before, our kids aren’t trying to give us a hard time. They’re having a hard time. And by the way, so are we! **When we understand this, when we step back and see it this way, we can be patient with them and with ourselves. We can remember that they are good inside, and so are we. If we can see that they’re struggling (as opposed to screwed up or wrong or doing something bad), we’ll have an easier time helping them get back on the path. Our role will be clearer, and there will be less conflict.
We’ll get along better, and we’ll all do better–together.