How Are You Coping With Your Child’s Difficult Behaviour?
When you have difficulty coping with your child’s difficult behaviour, sometimes you need to *level up* your ability to cope rather than expecting them to change.
I realized that one day when my son was quite young. I was feeling irritated with him because he wasn’t cooperating, and I had a sudden “aha” moment realizing that I expected him to be more cooperative because I couldn’t cope. I thought it *should* be easier. He should behave, because I’ve told him once (or twice, or three times) — and because if he doesn’t, I don’t have the energy or patience to deal with it. I realized that my expectation for his behaviour was more related to my energy level and ability to cope, than it was to his capability or needs.
In fairness to myself, I wasn’t simply being lazy about parenting. I didn’t realize at the time that undiagnosed adrenal fatigue (along with brain fog, frequent overwhelm and severe insomnia) were contributing largely to my inability to cope. However, parenting was also much more difficult that I ever could have known before becoming a Mom, and there were growing pains as I transitioned from *expecting it to be easier* to realizing that *it just isn’t*.
The realization that my expectation was too high was the beginning of my journey to level up my self-growth to be more adult-like in my expectations. It wasn’t my child’s job to “rescue” me from being the adult and the parent, by behaving better so that I could cope. I needed to grow my (nervous system) capacity and my emotional maturity so that I could stay calm and be the parent my child needed.
It’s been a journey of re-building my health after adrenal fatigue, learning to grow my capacity for patience, getting better at managing my own anxiety and soothing my irritation. Growing up and maturing into the adult I want to be for my kids.
Having said that, it takes time to heal adrenal fatigue and to learn skills to manage our anxiety and overwhelm. In the meantime, we often *do* end up insisting our children behave differently so we can cope, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In a spiritual sense, you and your child are on a path alongside each other in this lifetime, and you’re both learning and evolving.
As you level up your ability to stay calm and expand your toolkit of parenting strategies, you’re more able to hold steady when their behaviour or emotions are inappropriate or out of control. Therefore, you’re more able to connect and to support them to make changes when needed.
If you realize that you’ve been expecting too much of your child in the past, it’s never too late to make changes, even if your child is a already a teen. You can still make changes that help you reconnect with them, rekindle your enjoyment of parenting, and bring more peace to your home.
When I realized and accepted that the only thing I really had the power to change was myself, everything changed.
This article was first published on Colleen Adrian’s blog, https://www.colleenadrian.com/blog