How To Parent Difficult Children
Parenting is hard, but parenting a difficult child is even more challenging. A strong-willed, go-getter is what I birthed. Filled with joy, a mouth that constantly runs, and a brain that won't shut off, my firstborn, Bailee, gives me a run for my money.
In this article I'll share how I struggle to parent my oldest, but provide some of the revelations I've received in how I can be an effective parent and obtain the desired behavior I want to recieve from her.
If you don't want to read this entire blog post, you can watch the video here.
Naturally, toddlers have some behavioral problems as they develop, but let me tell you. I struggle so badly with Bailee. I'm always praying, Lord, "show me how to raise her because I feel like she's so difficult ."
Super high energy, very independent, wants to do what she wants. Listening and following directions are optional. Smartmouth. She's a handful, to say the least. By the time I get home from work, I've had to put out serval fires at work, fight traffic, and when I get home, I'm greeted by a joyous toddler who is literally bouncing off the walls and thinks I'm speaking Spanish when I tell to do something.
I want to be a good parent, but I feel like I'm constantly yelling at her, and I know it isn't working. "Why can't you just stop? Why can't you be still? Why can't you just listen? Stop lying! Constant phrases leave my mouth, launching themselves across the kitchen. What do I do? It's like hitting my head against the wall.
I was in the shower last night, and God was like Bailee is a physical manifestation of you internally. I was like, oh my God.
That's so true! It's so accurate. Bailee is super high energy, very all over the place, doesn't focus very well, wants to do a million things at once. God was like, "Exactly!" So how can you expect her to do these things that you can't do? ".
I can't get frustrated and snap at Bailee for not remembering when I have to set 50 alarms and have 3 journals to remember things throughout my day. I can't bark at Bailee that she can't do 50 things at one time when multi-tasking is my middle name.
God's like, "you're doing the same thing you're telling her not to do. Fix you first, then help her."
I'm glad I got the answer to my prayers. I was beating myself up so bad. Feeling the ultimate shame and mom guilt for not being able to get through to her.
Another thing that God brought to my attention is that I talk to Bailee how I talk to me, which isn't good. We all know that we speak to ourselves in the worst way. I'm not saying I'm belittling her or calling her names. However, my tone with her to me is not kind. I can be mean to Bailee because I'm frustrated, annoyed, and irritated, and she's not doing what I asked after I've told her to do something multiple times.
I realize that I have to work on Adiyah so I can parent Bailee better. I need to learn how to show her more grace, but I also have to learn how to conduct myself more grace and not be so hard on myself when I make mistakes.
Bailee doesn't do well with physical discipline because she can take a lick. She's always been able to take one. If my husband and I were to pop her on her hand for trying to put her finger in the outlet, homie was unbothered. Talking is better for Bailee. You can speak hard at her, and she'll crumble. If I'm like, "Bailee, I told you not to do that." She'll cry. It doesn't take much, but at the same time, I also don't want her to become a people pleaser. Saying, "Oh, mom, I love taking my medicine," because she feels that's what I want to hear. I know she doesn't like taking medicine, but I also don't want her to start developing those habits to make me happy when she feels she's upset me. Like "Mom, look what I made for you!" because she may have bothered me, so now she's trying to give gifts to appease me. I just don't want my child to get the worst parts of me.
I constantly pray, "Lord help me fix me so I can teach her how to be better, to be the best her." I don't want her to grow up trying to please me. I want to raise her to be a good person, a good human, love people, be kind, stick up for people. Those are the things I want her to thrive in.
Bailee is exceptionally headstrong, as am I, but I'm trying to figure out how to cultivate that differently. I want her to be adamant about trying something again when she doesn't get it right the first time. To be uncompromising in sticking up for people who can't stick up for themselves.
I'm so grateful that I got the answer to my prayer. I may not have liked the answer, but I got it. I get so irritated and frustrated with her because I'm annoyed and frustrated with me. I don't want her to struggle with her identity. I don't want her to battle with people-pleasing. I don't want her to struggle with wanting everybody to like her.
Becoming a parent is a process, and when raising children, you're not always going to get it right because Lord knows I indeed have not, but I do find solace in knowing that in my healing, I can heal my child as well and be able to set her up for success.
I'm so disappointed in myself for how I treated her. I'm not saying I was treating her like a dog but what I am saying is mom guilt will magnify your shame when you make mistakes.
Bailee's such a good kid. She's so sweet, gentle, and kind. She's a sour patch. First, she's bad, then she's sweet. she'll give you the business, but she's also really really sand just a happy child
Sometimes I feel like she does things on purpose even though she knows better, but at the same time, she doesn't know how to manage her emotions. She doesn't know that either way, mommy's gonna love her whether I'm happy with her or not. There are little things that I have to instill in her, so she knows regardless of what she does, I'm still going to love her no matter what. I want her to see that she doesn't have to appease me. She does have to respect me and follow the instructions, but I don't want her to feel like she has to buy my love or be this perfect child for me to want to be her mom.
Bailee is getting to the age where she'll remember how it made her feel, and I want her to grow up feeling like her mom made her feel loved, valued, and supported. I want her to feel respected. I want her to feel empowered. I want her to feel good about herself.
These are foundational years for her, but it's been a struggle. If you're struggling with your child, I definitely suggest looking in the mirror and seeing if there are similarities. Not everything will be you. There may be some qualities that are like your partner that you have to deal with but just reflect and see if they're manifesting how you act internally.
Motherhood is one the most addictive journeys I've been on. It's similar to accomplishing a hard work portion of an obstacle course only to realize there's an even harder part coming later. However, as you make your way to the next challenge you smile knowing that you kind of did something right. Fixing behavior issues in children can require a multitude of options. Some may need medication, others may need you to spend time with them.
Regardless of the the problems you are having taking a look in the mirror is a good place to start. You're a good mama. You're a good papa. We're all doing the best we can to keep out human alive and have them turn into good people.
If you are desiriring good behavior from your child and want kids to develop into the tiny human you want them to that revelation of self-evaluation that hit me in the face has proven to be the catalyst to show me how to be a better mom.