Children are some of the most difficult people on the planet to deal with. I’m sure of it. I fully understand they are trying to navigate life and learn what it all means, but they certainly can be frustrating at times.
Their outbursts, attitude and tantrums can often leave us feeling defeated and wanting to pull our hair out. We’ve all been there. No mom, dad or caretaker is immune. It’s almost as if it is a rite of passage we must endure to make it on the other side of parenting.
It’s difficult to not take it personally at times. You’re investing such time, energy and love into your children and you know they’re capable of respect and kindness. When they fail to exhibit it, it feels like a personal attack on all that you’ve worked on, for.
Please know, it’s not!
Children are testing boundaries to learn where they fit in life. Their actions are not personal attacks on who you are or the parent you’ve been. Their words and actions are the result of the turmoil happening in their minds and bodies. They simply don’t have the capacity to deal with it all and sometimes that comes out in negative behaviors and words.
Especially with foster children who have experienced severe trauma, it is imperative we do not take their words and actions personally. Their worlds have quite literally been turned upside down and they’re lashing out has less to do with you and more to do with feeling totally out of control.
Bond with your child by not taking their words and actions personally. We don’t need to condone disrespect, but we can condone human emotion. It’s ok to have a conversation about how they’re feeling and the appropriate ways to deal with those feelings. It’s ok to tell them their actions or words were disrespectful and hurtful. It’s not ok to hold it against them and forget to offer grace.
I don’t remember what it was like to be a three-year old, but I do remember what it was like to be in high school. I remember saying and doing stupid things because I thought I could and it was one of the few ways I felt in control. I remember being disrespectful and I remember the grace my parents offered. Offer your child an olive branch of forgiveness, not taking their words and actions personally, and building a bond of of grace.