Silver Linings in Challenging Children
Finding the sweet kid inside.
Do you have a child who you love with all your heart but who drives you crazy? We all have our tolerance levels but even the most even keeled adults can be rattled by some of our more challenging youngsters. Let's face it -- some kids are just hard. It is most often due to something they did not bring on themselves, but it is what it is and you have to live with them.
We have spent a good amount of time reading about the struggles of parents who are dealing with difficult children. And for a time, we were those parents. All kinds of labels are out there to describe these children and all kinds of advice is available on what you do about their issues.
Indeed, we here at March Forth Family are committed to helping parents find root causes for symptoms. We give recommendations of action steps to lead to solutions for those root causes.
And even here we recommend some action steps but the emphasis in this writing is not on "fixing the child". Here we encourage you to look for the silver linings.
How do you do that?
1. Spend time today thinking about what this child likes. What toys do they like to play with? What shows do they like to watch? How do they show love? What do they like to do with other kids or with uncles, aunts, grandparents? What books do they like to read? Do you ever see them extend a kindness either in word or deed? What tasks are they good at doing? What can you see in them that shows they are just a kid? Stop and observe. Take some notes. Raise your awareness level.
2. Choose to be thankful for this particular child. Now. Here.
3. Write down some things about this child you like, appreciate, and/or enjoy. Sometimes when a parent endeavors to do this, at first it is hard to come up with just a few. That's okay. For now, just go with that. Tomorrow, write a few more. The next day, a few more. Today number your paper at least from 1-3. Tomorrow add on 3 more. Each day you can manage to take a minute to do this, add a few more. Keep a running list at all times. Keep it handy for quick review.
4. Create ways that you can communicate to your child these things you like about him or her. You will want it to include some things the child does, but also be sure to often include the fact that just because they are your child, you appreciate them. Communicate unconditional love for them to them. (You can use digital recordings, charts, happy cards and notes, hugs, lots and lots of smiles, etc.)
5. Just like eating and breathing, make it part of your day to encourage your child. When they do something that unnerves you (and they most likely will) go consult your list of things that you like about this child. Make it a practice to think on that a bit. And then encourage them.
After a while, a new awareness and insight about your child will emerge.
And lastly, we always like to mention something important about the good things you see in your child. When those things shine through (even if only for a minute) that is the real kid. All the other stuff just shows that something is keeping them from being their beautiful selves.
And remember that when you are ready for support, when you are ready to be educated, encouraged, and empowered to get to the root causes of your child's struggles, we are here waiting to support you. At this time, our Get Acquainted Calls are complimentary. We'd love to meet you by telephone to get clearer on your concerns for your child and to let you know what we have in place to help.
Tom and Julie Meekins