You look at your child and sometimes wonder what is going on. Does he plan to conveniently forget the lessons you have been teaching him all his life? Does she go to great lengths to come up with a plan to annoy you with her little quirky habits?
You work hard at being the best parent you can be. Your child didn’t come with an instruction manual, so you read the latest books, talk with friends, relatives, and mentors to learn from them.You begin to apply the parenting skills that you learned from your own parents -- applying the list of things you always said you would do and those you would never do. You study the Bible for wisdom and direction. You pray for your children. You are a great parent!
But your gut tells you that something is just not right. Your child takes a little longer to follow your instructions. She gets frustrated easily and may display roller coaster emotions. He has a difficult time being pulled away from the TV or computer. She is irritated with the tags in her clothing. Socks and shoes bother him. His teacher says that you need to do something with him because he is out of control in the classroom. Your friends give you plenty of parenting advice, including “just discipline more”, “pray more”. You say to yourself, “if only my kid would settle down and be more like her siblings or behave like her other friends, life would be much better for all of us.”. You love your child. You start to doubt your parenting skills.
It may not be your fault.
What is a parent to do? First, consider that it may not be your parenting skills at all. Consider that it is not even a discipline problem totally. We have discovered that struggles in children could have at their root the following:
1) Development - It could very well be that your child has gotten stuck in early development somewhere. The good news is -- if that is the case -- there are things you can do about it. We call it the “what to do about it” piece.
2) Nutrition - It could be that your child’s body is responding in a sensitive way to certain foods or the environment which is creating behavior that doesn’t serve him or her well.
3) Discipline - It could be that your child does not respond to typical types of discipline and you need a bigger toolbox that involves ways to build your relationship with your child rather than tearing it down.
Parenting is the hardest job on the planet. We know. Our children taught us many things with their varied abilities and disabilities. We struggled with how to parent each of our four children in the way that would bring out each of their potential and grow them into the absolute best they could be. We know you do too. Trust your gut. Look under rocks. Keep looking for the solutions for your child and your family.
Tom and Julie Meekins
MarchForthFamily.com - Devoted to providing hope and encouragement to all parents and especially to those who are raising a child who is complex.
Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici - freedigitalphotos. net