Having A Better Relationship With Your Difficult Child
The joy of our lives and the source of our greatest sorrow.
Many of my clients struggle with at least one of their children.
They don’t like how this child makes them feel and then they aren’t able to be the mom they want to be and they don’t have the relationship they think they should have with this child.
They will say things like, “I just want to have a good relationship with my son. But he is just so hard.”
Or “I never felt like my mom accepted me for who I was. I don’t want to do that same thing to my child.”
Or, “My daughter is gaining weight. What kind of mother thinks their daughter is fat and needs to lose weight? I am awful.”
We worry so much about our relationships with our children. We often think that if our children were different, we could feel more connected to them. And that is so frustrating because changing them is so hard. Maybe even impossible.
But believing that they need to change so you can have a better relationship or feel more connection with them is not true.
You must first understand what a relationship and is.
Our relationships with our children are merely our thoughts about them.
We think we have a relationship with our children when actually we have relationships with our thoughts about our children.
Let’s say I have a child named Jason.
If I were to strip away all of my thoughts about Jason what would be left is a body, with skin, bones, brown eyes and vital organs in his body.
Those are the facts about Jason.
Anything else in my brain is just thoughts about him.
He is so hard.
He will never do you jobs when I ask her to.
He can be impatient and a little lazy at times.
He gets in fights at school.
He is so rude to his brother.
He can never focus.
The truth is, all of those things are subjective and not everyone would agree on them.
Once again, your relationship with him is your thoughts about him.
Often our thoughts about our own children are judgmental because we have hopes and dreams for them. And because we often think they should behave in certain ways (usually so that we have evidence that we are being a good mom).
If your relationship with one of your children isn’t quite what you want it to be, don’t try and change your child. Change what you think about your child.
Challenge your brain. Ask yourself some questions.
“Do I really have to believe that Jason is lazy?”
“Is it true that Jason should listen better in class?”
Once you start asking yourself these questions, your brain will start looking for evidence that Jason isn’t lazy or that maybe Jason actually does listen pretty well in class.
You can’t change your child. We would really like to. We can only change ourselves.
And something amazing happens, usually, when we start to change, our relationship with the child that we struggle with will start to change.
Often times the behavior that we don’t like changes as well. Sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s ok too. That’s not why you changed in the first place.
You changed your beliefs about this child so that you could feel more love toward them and show up the way you wanted to show up as their mom.