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Do you ever feel like things aren’t quite right between you
and your child? Before you had kids of
your own, you may have assumed that when you became a mother you’d feel
wonderful about them all the time. You knew,
of course, that there would be occasional conflict; you didn’t expect them to
be happy when you disciplined them, for example. But still, you knew how much you’d love your
kids, and you thought that love would help you avoid most relational
conflict with them.
Now, though, as your kids have grown past the baby stage and
developed personalities and desires of their own, things aren’t always as happy
as you imagined they’d be. If you’re
like a lot of mothers, you may feel guilty that things aren’t better more
often. You might feel bad that sometimes
you feel as if you don’t even like your children or your role as a mom. You might feel as if you’re the only one who's struggling with her kids. You might
wonder what’s wrong with you.
You might feel bad that sometimes you feel as if you don’t even like your children or your role as a mom.
The truth, though, is that relationships ebb and flow. We know that’s true, and we expect rough
patches in long-term relationships.
Guess what? What you
have with your kids is a relationship. And you’ll go through rough patches in that relationship, too.
Sometimes, you just aren’t in a good place to connect. Maybe you’re not taking care of yourself and your
patience is chronically low. That’s not
a good match for a child who is simultaneously pushing your buttons or who is
struggling with patience, herself.
Or maybe your child isn’t in a good place to connect. She may be going through a phase where she’s
experimenting with being a little more independent (and it means you’re not
hearing much about what’s going on with her), and this is happening at a time
when you’re craving more connection. Sometimes needs of individuals in the family are in conflict, and we
Rough patches just happen sometimes. Here are four suggestions to help you get
some perspective on the whole situation:
Take the long view. Realize that it’s normal for relationships to have upswings
and downswings, and if you’re not hitting your stride with your child at the
moment, it will likely come back around. Today may be tough, but tomorrow will be better. Or this week may be tough, and next week
better. As children develop, it’s normal
for them to disconnect from their parents in various ways at various
stages. Stay consistent and loving in
your interactions with your child, and have faith that things will come back
Evaluate your child’s needs. Ask yourself whether there’s something your child needs
right now that he’s not getting. More
time with you? More affection? More attention? Less conversation and more independence? More responsibility? Often, a child acts out because he’s needing
something and doesn’t know how to ask. So do your best to watch his actions and see what’s going on.
Evaluate your own needs. What do you need right now that you’re not getting? Time by yourself? Time with your spouse or friends? More sleep? More exercise? You know that old
saying: If mama ain’t happy, ain’t
nobody happy. So take care of yourself.
Keep investing yourself in the relationship. Time, effort and intention go a long way. Just as in your adult relationships, you’ll
see your relationship with your child grow and deepen as you put in the time
and remain a consistent, steady, loving presence in his life. As the relationship ebbs and flows, be the
rock your child knows she can count on when she needs you.