A mother I know described a challenging situation involving one of her children. Without relating to the specific issues, I decided to post some general suggestions for surviving tough times.
- Let go of the guilt. Yes, we all make mistakes, big and small, and need to improve, but guilt feelings interfere with our ability to make changes. Similarly, embarrassment about the the child’s behavior shows our children that we care more about what others think than about them. Both of these emotions can also lead to avoidance or denial.
- Our husbands are our partners in parenting and we need to let them share the responsibility. Mothers tend to blame themselves when things go wrong, but the father plays an important role too. Also, at times like these a partner’s support is crucial. [I address this point to the mothers because they tend to be more involved with parenting and form the majority of readers here. Fathers, and those without children, are welcome to read the blog and comment too!]
- Make time for yourself. When problems crop up we tend to feel that we must put even more energy into the family than we already do (because we feel guilty), and end up neglecting ourselves. Choose enjoyable, energizing or relaxing activities (and people), and minimize the rest.
- Don’t allow emotional or physical abuse, whether by siblings or parents.. It’s bad for the “bully” and bystanders, as well as the victim, and must be dealt with effectively.
- Maximize the time the child spends on positive relationships with family and close family friends, to give everyone a break from the family tension. I’m not talking about “sending the child away” if he’s not yet ready to be on his own; the parent can still be present. I also don’t mean filling up the child’s day with playdates and activities to avoid dealing with the issues.
- Find a support group, therapist or counselor if the situation becomes worse.
image: Alaskan Dude