What Do You Do When You Feel Like Your Back is Against the Wall?

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Sometimes we can feel trapped when our children have extreme behaviors. The anxiety, the aggression, the constantly needing you but then pushing you away, can feel unending. We want to do the right thing, but what can we do when it feels like our backs are against a wall?

“I feel like my back’s against a wall and I don’t see any end in sight.”

Her words came across my computer screen early one morning and  I remember thinking, “Boy have we been there.” Feeling like there’s no end in sight, like your child’s behavior is never going to change. Even worse, feeling like your child may never feel at peace either. Yep! We know the feeling.

For many of us, this not anything close to how we envisioned parenthood (even when we knew our children had experienced difficult things).

Even though we jumped in with two feet, eager to love children we sometimes find ourselves lost. We find ourselves feeling…well…like our back’s are against a wall and there’s no way our circumstances are ever going to change.

Truth is…they may not. Your child may always have extreme anxiety. Your child may always be impulsive. Your child may struggle to control their temper for a lifetime.  That is the reality of parenting, all parenting.

But I believe there is hope. I believe we can find hope in how we respond in these moments.

I believe we find hope, when we…

  1. Remember. If you follow our blog or podcast, there’s no doubt you’ve heard one of us say this before. Remembering your child’s trauma history, the hard place they came from before coming to your home. Your child may have experienced abuse, neglect, substance exposure. Remembering this will help you to re-gear your mind from frustration and anxiety to compassion and love.
  2. Love. You may not be feeling loving feelings while your child is experiencing extreme behaviors.  It’s hard to remember the peaceful loving moments you have when things are tough. Reminding yourself of the love you have for your child helps you respond differently.
  3. Ask. This is you asking you, not you asking them. Ask yourself what has happened in the past, what is happening now, or what is about to happen in the future that may be causing your child to behave the way he or she is behaving. These are questions you can ask yourself in the heat of the moment with your child. They help you to zoom out and see the entire landscape in a fraction of a second. Asking helps you remember that there’s more going on here with your child’s behavior, words, and reaction.
  4. Respond. Your response is crucial for de-escalation. Often times it’s our own emotions that cause added triggers for our children. Your response needs to be calm and firm. This type of response will leave the door open for reconnection with your child.

Here’s what I want you to know. This is a journey, not a destination. Parenting lasts a lifetime. There will be times when you feel stuck but there will be times of great hope too!

Have you often felt like your back is against the wall with your child? Share your story with us in the comment section below.

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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.