Just the other day I read this post about children testing boundaries and the very last paragraph really hit it home with me.
The most challenging, independent children tend to be the ones who need the most intentional parental reconnection. Strong will=Strong need! It is often the strongest-willed children who identify most closely with their parents, oddly enough. While there is no denying how difficult it can be to raise a strong-willed child, seeing the purpose behind the behavior can make the journey much more manageable. Try to view their seemingly constant testing as them doing ‘research’ on you, seeing where your strengths and weaknesses are, and discovering all the ins and outs of being you. Also, taking the time to explain why you make the decisions you do, why you said this, why you didn’t say that, answering the endless questions patiently and openly, can alleviate some of the challenging behavior by offering them insights into who you are without them having to ‘dig’ it out of you! (source)
You know, I used to say I didn’t know who I was and felt like I was constantly searching to find myself. After reading that post the other night, I realized that I am beginning to learn who I am and guess who’s showing me? Andrew.
He shows me that I am impatient, I have a hard time communicating, and that I am strong-willed. He shows me the reflection of myself during those times he gets upset and frustrated if what he wants isn’t happening, now. It’s like Andrew is a huge mirror and shows me the best and worst of myself.
He’s constantly bringing out the worst and best in me too, and I have to admit, lately it’s been the worst.
I have never felt so tested and defeated in my life! Trying to learn how to parent a strong-willed child constructively is extremely hard for me. I’ve noticed through peaceful parenting the main way to handle things is through non-violent communication and gentle, nurturing ways. As we know, communication is not my strong point and I kind of have tough love. Of course, the two biggest things needed for peaceful parenting and they are my weaknesses.
But, I guess it is for good reason.
Although during those worst times I feel like running away and hiding, I have to be grateful for his doings. He is helping me shape who I am and who I want to be. Through his every day notions, he helps me better understand the areas in my life that are weak. With each test, triumph or fail (mostly fails), I wake up stronger the next day.
I have to remember to not take things personally, remember he really does love me, to take a breath and just be there for him. I know, it is way easier to say than to actually put into practice. But you know what they say… practice makes perfect.
Who would have thought that someone so little could have such a profound influence on my life?
So, Mamas, try focusing on what your child is teaching you about yourself on those extremely hard parenting days. It may give you a little sense of peace knowing that your child doesn’t hate you (even if it may feel like that) and instead, he/she is trying to teach you something so you can be the best you.