“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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.