Often parents say they want help for their child. They tell us what is wrong with their child and how no one has helped them in the past.
None of us are born with a parenting manual and a lot of parenting is trial and error. But parents get worn down; they lose confidence and somehow forget just how important they are. We are told there is an expert out there, someone who is going to make our lives better. Even though we know there is no magic wand we think someone else has the solution to our problems. We think that an ‘expert’ will make it better for us.
When a child is hitting their parents most people’s first thought is ‘What is wrong with my child?’ If the question is what’s wrong with my child?’ we are then handing over our power to the child. We are expecting an answer or a solution and the onus is on our child to change. When they don’t we can feel depressed. Disbelieving that this could be happening to us.
Imagine changing the question from ‘What’s wrong with …….?’ to ‘What can I do differently?’ how would that change things for you? Who would be in control then?
Your child may have a diagnosis; they may need medication and professional help. BUT it is still unacceptable for a child to be lashing out. Somehow within our society there is an attitude that if your child has ADHD, Autism, or Learning difficulties, that this excuses them from, or gives them a reason to be violent. Parents who don’t have a diagnosis for their child can be desperate to get one. That will explain their behaviour – it will prove ‘it’s nothing to do with me’
We live in such a blame culture that it is hardly surprising we want someone to blame. We only have to look at the politicians blaming each other for what is wrong with the country to see that this approach can trickle down to family life.
Parents tell us ‘there is nothing wrong with my other children so there must be something wrong with this child”. As parents we are so afraid of being judged that as soon as someone mentions we could do something differently we become defensive.
Here is an alternative perspective from ‘lets find someone to blame’, to how about changing your own behaviour?
As long as we continue our old patterns of behaviour nothing will change. We will always get what we have always got. We have become cynical – We don’t vote because our attitude is ‘what’s the point’.
We don’t change our behaviour because we think ‘what’s the point’.
Not only do we resist change, we also think we are supposed to be perfect. We know that we’re not perfect but if we say, ‘I could do something different’ then that says we have been doing something wrong. Admitting mistakes is not an option. It makes us feel like we’ve failed.
The difficulty is that without understanding ourselves any strategy given to you by ‘an expert’ is likely to fail, as there will be little understanding of what brought you to this point in the first place.
It’s like a rubbish bin overrun with maggots, it looks rotten and smells awful. As a quick fix you stick in an airfreshner. It won’t last long and it certainly won’t work long term.
The answer to the bin problem is to turf out the rubbish, clean the bin and start again.
‘Parenting a Violent Child’ encourages parents to do just that. It’s saying parents are the most important people in their children’s lives. However all of us come with baggage. If we understand that our baggage is affecting our children, isn’t it worth taking the time to work out to what extent?
Read the book with the approach ‘What can I do differently?’ If you can start to understand yourself and recognise your feelings, life will then change. Things that used to wind you up before won’t have the same hold over you.
You will be doing your child a great service.