Is It My Child’s Behavior Or My Ego Causing The Crisis?

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Sometimes our kids have big emotions which lead to big behaviors. They seem to come out of nowhere. But if we’re really in tune with our kids, we just might catch the problem before the behaviors come and help them process in a healthy way.

A friend from out of town visited over the weekend. Not someone we see often since it’s a long plane ride between us. So our kids don’t really know him even though we have been friends a long time. Since college long-time. I won’t tell you how many years that has been so not to age myself. Since business overlaps for us, we had him come help us with a few things for an extended weekend.

We have a handful of kids who all do sports, so he came along for nearly everything and business took place in the car on the ride to and from, during practices, during games and after the kids went to bed. He graciously did life with us and our kids for nearly 4 days.

After dinner Sunday, suitcase packed, Uber driver called, we hugged goodbye, watched him get into the car, and off he went to the airport. We’ll see him in person again someday, I’m sure of it. But I don’t know when.

I saw my daughter hug him. Not unusual since she tends to hug indiscriminately anyway. Something we’ve been working on. Right after we walked back inside, I saw the glare in her eyes as she plopped down on the coffee table. I saw the pursed lips. The look that says, “I’m mad! I hate you! You have made my life miserable!” And then rage follows.

I sat down beside her and gave her close eye contact. Instead of asking, “What’s wrong?” which is what I usually ask, I asked, “Do you want to tell me why you are upset?” She thought about it. And then shook her head yes. I proceeded to give her the words, because they really are too hard for her to come up with on her own.

“You’re upset because Mr. Dan left?” Her head said yes and she cried big, sad tears and exclaimed, “I miss him!”

Although he was involved with my kids for the weekend, the sadness was not because they formed a fast bond or made memories together over the few days. The sadness was because the coming and going of people is very hard for her and brings up her loss from long ago.

People have come and gone in her life. Lots of people. Important people. And they never came back. And she knows she’ll never see them again. So when it keeps happening with other people, it’s just hard to process. The trauma from long ago rears it’s head, and the big emotions come. And the only way she’s been able to deal with them is through anger.

I held her. I didn’t say much, other than, “I’m sorry.” We just hugged. I wiped the tears away and then helped her get ready for bed. And she was fine.

Crisis/rage/tantrum/mean words averted.

I wonder how many other times, if I had just been more in tune with my daughter, more aware of her environment, more observing of the situation beforehand…how many other days could have turned out differently?

How many times has it really just all boiled down to her broken heart and my ego?

Truth be told, her reaction is many times my fault. It just is. Not hers. Because she can’t. I can as the adult. I am the catalyst to these situations sometimes. We do need to take the time to observe their environment longer, monitor our mouth, our actions, and humble ourselves to see their broken hearts and not the behavior. And in order to not see the behavior, our ego has got to go.

I was recently told by our therapist that I just need to be successful 70% of the time in my parenting. I have no idea where that number came from. Perhaps someone did some kind of study through the generations on good parenting vs. bad parenting and the outcome of the two. I actually did a quick search to find it, but it came up empty. She said it so I would give myself some grace. Because it seems my percentiles are flip flopped on many days. At least the 30% is way more memorable for everyone involved.

The point she was trying to make I guess is that we as parents don’t need to beat ourselves up over the 30%. Thirty percent happens. And whatever percentage we are currently batting at in our parenting, just ONE successful engagement with big emotions goes a long way.

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.