Sometimes, your own kids can seem like Public Enemy #1.
One mom told me, “I feel schizophrenic! I can’t wait to pick him up from school but then I REALLY don’t want to be with him at all.”
When it comes to getting along with your kids, you get annoyed when they misbehave.
Earlier this week, this happened to me.
I was playing “nice mom” and brought an essay to school for my child, who had left it behind at home. But by that evening, I took some serious lip from that same kid. And some serious attitude. AND refusal to do a chore.
Instead of getting into mortal combat with my teen, I walked away. There was no sense in fighting, especially since I needed to really sit with my feelings of anger and hurt for being treated like a doormat. As the adult, I couldn’t let myself go plummeting off the cliff with my child.
This, my friends, is the hardest work of parenting. And here are the ways you can save face during a mano a mano moment with your kid:
Make a list. Remind yourself of what makes your child so special. Focus on their great qualities. I had a client who was struggling with their teen so I asked them to make a list of what they loved about him. They shared how this boy brought home a neighbor girl from a party because she was uncomfortable, immediately reminding them of what a wonderful son they had raised.
Put together a consequence. Take YOUR TIME here. You don’t have to make a rash decision. In fact, you can put together a whole LIST of consequences. It might make you feel better to have this at the ready. That’s what I do. (What’s on my list, you ask? Cancel Spotify Premium, repossess electronics and withhold allowance. I’ve been known to leave that list on the kitchen counter from time to time.)
Deliver that consequences when you are CALM. Do it with empathy, kindness and compassion. I had to wait two days to deliver the consequence to my child. I needed time to both cool down AND put together a plan that would work. I even created a script so I wouldn’t blow it, so I could say, “That behavior the other night was really a bummer; looks like I’ll have to hold onto your phone for a few days until I see you can treat me with respect. Sorry about that.”
As a parent, I have a lot of power. I can make my kids life pretty tough, I know that. But that’s not my goal. My goal is to help you TEACH your children and preserve the relationship as you are doing it.
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