You are walking along in a supermarket with your four year old son who is joyfully hopping along oblivious of anything else that is going on around him. Suddenly, he sees a box of chocolates and puts them in your cart telling you that needs you to buy them. You gently tell them that you are not buying candies today and put them back. He gets even angry and puts them back in your cart starting to raise his voice and tells you that he wants the chocolates anyway. Of course this goes on getting more and more heightened until you scream at him for not stopping.
As you can imagine, this does not end well and no one is happy at the end. In fact, you may feel that after all the labor and pains you went through as a mother to have a baby, carry him for nine months, then deliver him, you don’t even like your son at the moment. Whose child is he you’re wondering?
At the same moment you feel that you don’t even like your son, you immediately start feeling a sense of shame, guilt, anger, frustration, sadness, and weakness all at once. How can I not like my own son, you wonder. You feel like a bad mom, and think to yourself that there must be something wrong with you.
You go home that night, and you don’t want to talk about how you’re feeling to anyone else, afraid that everyone will think that you’re a bad person, or worse, you are not fit to be a mom.
Has this ever happened to you? If so, don’t fret! You may always love your children unconditionally however that doesn’t mean you have to always like them.
For the times that you simply cannot fathom liking your child and you’re reaching for ways to still love them, here are:
5 Simple Ways to Love Your Child in the Moments that you do not like them
#1 Go Towards The “Challenge” and Get Close
Why on earth would I get even closer to this hot mess when I feel like running away from it? Because….drumroll please…if you are struggling managing your emotions and someone else is putting the kabash on your desires, would you want them running away from you or giving you a big hug and telling you how much they love you even if you’re not at your best? Bingo.
#2 Take out the 5-5-5 Tool
Is this situation, object, or whatever your child is asking for going to matter to you in the next 5 minutes? How about in 5 weeks? How about 5 years? If not, then consider going with the flow and appeasing your child in the moment (since their ability to keep their calm may be significantly lower than yours regardless of their age). However, just because you appeased them in buying something does not necessarily mean you have to give it to them immediately! Now that the situation is calm, you can talk to your child about earning that chocolate.
#3 Take a Time Out For Yourself
Time Outs have been proven by parenting experts to not be effective or warranted for kids, however they can still be effective for parents! If the situation is putting you out of your flow and the environment is safe for your child, take yourself out of the situation by calling a time out for you. Find a quiet place, even a bathroom if that is the only option, and take a minute to breathe in for a count of 5, hold for a count of 5, then breathe out for a count of 5. Visualize all the qualities about your child you love – their smile, their energy for life, their strength, their compassion, anything that comes to you. Try to name as many as you can.
#4 Choose a different thought
This is something both you or your child can do, or even do together. Name all the thoughts you are thinking either out loud or in your mind. No judgements here. Think of them as just words that make up your thoughts. Thoughts can always be changed because guess what, you created them, and you have the power to change them! Play a game where you immediately ask yourself to think a better feeling thought when a negative thought comes up about your child or how you’re feeling. Slowly get to a series of thoughts that keep you in a positive state.
#5 Doom’s Day
This is the so what principle. Many times we as parents don’t wish for our kids to do something, eat something, say something, etc. based on our own fears. Ask yourself when you’re feeling stuck, what’s the worse that can happen? Your son wants you to buy a bag of chocolates. So what? What can happen? Ok well he’s not supposed to eat chocolates because it’s a lot of sugar. So? It’s not good for him. What’s the worse that can happen? He may get hyper active. Ok, then what? Well he’d be even harder to manage. So?
We can keep going on and on, but look at the root cause of your resistance to the situation and see what truly comes up. You may be surprised to find something within you that you’ve been pushing down instead of solving it so you can move on and not feel triggered by this anymore!
Jothi Dugar is a Holistic Wellness Coach and Personal Development Junkie. She is a full time working mom of three kids, an Entrepreneur, and a positive parenting teacher. Get weekly tips on her website www.jothidugar.com