My child isn’t giving me a hard time. My child is having a hard time.

Sometimes, when my son’s behaviour is going off track, I find it helpful to remind myself that he isn’t intentionally giving me a hard time – he’s having a hard time himself.
I particularly need this reminder when I’m feeling low on resources (e.g. I’m tired, sick, stressed, or just needing a break), and when I’m already carrying my own emotional load.

I need to remind myself that he isn’t doing these things that I’m finding annoying, rude, ungrateful, disrespectful, or hurtful, on purpose. He doesn’t want to act in this way.

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He’s acting in this way because he has big feelings in his body. He’s doing the best he can to manage them, but it’s not easy. He’s having a hard time, and he needs my help.

💖 He needs me to slow down and listen.

💖 He needs me to stay calm and loving.

💖 He needs me to pour in warmth and affection.

💖 He needs my acceptance and kindness.

💖 He needs my understanding and empathy.

💖 He needs to know that I’m here for him.

💖 He needs to know that his feelings are welcome.

I want to give my son the message, through my words, tone of voice, facial expression, and body language, that my love for him is unconditional; that he doesn’t need to be or do anything for me to love him.

Some days, it’s a tall order! But I keep endeavouring to give him the love, support and reassurance that he’s needing when things get tough for him, even when he’s acting in ways that trigger my discomfort.

And I find that this simple and gentle reminder to myself can help to put me in the best frame of mind to respond to him in a way that aligns with my loving intentions.

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