Parenting Difficult Kids

My kids have shown me my worst.

And, if I’m not careful, I can blame them for my behavior.

This is very common.

Kids get pathologized a lot in this culture (I’m not talking about kids with aspergers or autism here):

  • The terrible two’s.
  • They are “master manipulators”
  • “Kids are always trying to get what they want.”
  • “Kids have their parents wrapped around their fingers.”
  • “She’s such a little princess.”
  • “He’s the boss in this house.”
  • “He’s so ADD.”
  • Etc. etc.

Labeling and blaming children for our parenting struggles simply shows us where we are being challenged. Being challenged, and knowing where we are challenged, is really useful for growth-oriented parents.

If we are triggered or very challenged with our kids, that’s about us.

And it’s our job, not theirs, to figure out a solution. We have work to do there.

When we make kids wrong for struggling to develop under our care, we are missing an opportunity to help our kids. We must look in the mirror.

And, I’m not talking about blaming, shaming, or guilting ourselves.

I’m talking about an honest, tough love, heart to heart with the person starting you in the face. What is it that I’m doing or not doing that may be contributing to this dynamic or their behavior?

Sure, there’s nature too. But, if we label it “nature” and their “temperament,” we get to avoid finding deeply creative solutions that come from our own blocks to raising them.

I must ask the question “why did I have a kid like this one?” or “why did this kid choose me?”

In my experience, my kids are my disowned parts. In other words, wherever I’m unconscious or blind to myself, my kids will manifest that part of me. Why? So I can reclaim, own, and love that part of me.

It is essential to dig deep into the meaning realm and be curious why this little being found its way into our family. No matter if it’s nature or nurture, it’s always a healing and growth opportunity for me, the parent.

The more I’m challenged by their behavior, the more reason I need to ask this fundamental question “why me?” There’s no blame in it. It’s simply an intelligent question that then helps me parent a child I perceive as difficult, demanding, needy, or otherwise.

The more I uncover the hidden gems in my blocks, the more I find answers to parent in a way that helps us both.

And, remember, every parenting technique will fall short in the long run if the parent is not working to clear out his or her own baggage.


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