Difficult, stubborn, strong-willed, a free spirit. All of these words describe my oldest son. He is only four, yet he often pushes me over the line between parent and child. I am not ashamed to admit I have lost my cool on occasion. I have found myself sucked into battle after battle. I resented him for not being a more easy-going child. On many days, I was just hoping to make it to bed time before becoming emotionally exhausted and physically aching.
If you have a child like mine, I am sure like me, you looked for ways to change his or her behavior. You read the blogs, sought guidance from your own parents and shared your struggles with your friends. All have good intentions. Phrases like “positive reinforcement” and “be stern, but fair,” are constantly buzzing in your ear. You try everything to get your kid to change, to just be a little easier. To be like your friends’ kids. Maybe you see a change, and maybe you don’t. Maybe when things don’t work, you question everything you have ever done as a parent.
I was that parent. I asked, “Why me?” When it seemed like I spent day after day trying to reason with my son. I turned my frustration out on him, and that just made things worse. It was a horrible cycle leaving everyone tired and unhappy. I thought, if only I had more help, if only my kid was easier, if only I had more peace and quiet.
Something had to change.
That something was me.