"I hate you!" screams your 7-year-old. "You are the meanest mom ever!"MUTTER, MUTTER. STOMP, STOMP, SLAM! - your teenager and you are "at it" again."You're the worst! You just don't understand anything!" sobs your tween.
The most important thing to remember when you are in the throes of an unpleasant episode with your kid is Don't take it personally. Whaaaat? It's not personal. This isn't even about you - it's about them. It's about how they are navigating (or not navigating) their jumbled-up feelings; it's about their immaturity, their lack of self-control, their inability to express themselves in an appropriate way. When we take it personally, we lash out in our own very special ways - with words, with sullenness, with punishments. And no one is served. What to do instead? PAUSE. Literally, stop, take a deep breath, count to ten, whatever. Give yourself time to be able to respond rather than react. And when you respond, do so out of love (dig deep to remind yourself that you actually do love this child) and not out of anger.
I'm not saying to let your kid walk all over you or that you should accept disrespectful behavior. I am saying that you should avoid acting in kind. "Do as I say, not as I do" is not only hypocritical, it just doesn't work. Children will mirror your behavior. Find ways to bridge the gap. If something’s wrong between you, find a way to work it through positively. Every difficulty is an opportunity - it can bring you closer or push you further apart.
I know this is not easy, especially with the demands and responsibilities of life. But every difficulty is an opportunity - it can bring you closer. It can also be the impetus to push you further apart. . And that's our loss, as much as theirs.
What's the worst thing your kid ever said to you?
How did you handle it?
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