Saturday, October 14, 2017

5 Things To Remember When Your Child Is Having A Bad Day

We all have our difficult days.
So, why wouldn't we expect our children to have their own
from time to time?


When our children act out, we need to step back & assess the situation.

While we may not be able to in the moment, I have found over time
our children may have certain patterns that become apparent.

Hopefully as you get to know your child, you can work with them
to disciple, teach, correct & encourage them much more 
efficiently as time goes on.


and then now started the process with another child, I have found myself
immersed in parenting literature for children with special needs, 
and behaviourial problems.

However, I have found that many of the principles can be applied to any child 
to help bring about a better outcome for you AND the child
in any stressful situation.


Your toddler is throwing a tantrum on your shopping venture because
he is feeling overtired & overwhelmed.

Your preschooler is not herself these days. She is finding your daily routine
too chaotic & acting out much more than usual near the end of the day.

Your school aged child is upset about changes going on in their sibling's life.
Unable to process this, he begins to act younger than his age and gets himself
repeatedly in trouble for being silly at inappropriate times.

Your tween is starting to notice changes to their body. They are continually 
looking in the mirror & feeling frustrated by what they see.
When you ask a simple question, they are on the verge of tears.
You are left wondering what just happened!

Your teen has just been told he was gossiped about by a supposedly "good" friend.
Said teen doesn't want to admit that it's bothering them, but instead starts to "bother" their
younger siblings for the duration of a long car ride to an appointment.

These may be real life specific examples from our own family,
 but I'm sure you can apply the 
principles to your particular life situation.

In the midst of whatever frustration is going on, we as the parents may feel overwhelmed,
angry, sad, frustrated, lacking understanding, and wondering where we went wrong!

It is often far later in the game that we can look back & see what the triggers were 
for our child, or the overall situation.

Of course, I need to add, this doesn't excuse poor behaviour.

It needs to be addressed. These are great teaching moments.

You can aid ANY parenting strategy by effectively identifying your child's triggers,
& trying to de-escalate the crisis.

Even as adults, I'm sure we can relate to a heavy issue weighing on us
& needing to be dealt with immediately before we continue on.

Sometimes a word of encouragement, and we're back at it.

Emphathy. Understanding. Patience.

All three allowing space for our child (& us) to breathe.


Here are FIVE things to remember when your child is having a bad day:
(maybe even write them out on your fridge!)

1. Let them know you love them.

Unconditional love goes so far with ANY hurting individual.

The most hurtful situations in life that I've experienced is
when I felt "love" with a string (or condition) attached...

No one likes that.

Put the behaviour aside, and always let your child know you love them
in spite of what they just did or said.

I have found this alone will sometimes diffuse a very stressful or tense situation.

2. Offer them a hug.

This goes along with the first point.

Physical touch is a key way to let your child know
that you feel their pain & are right there with them.

I say offer instead of force, because I know myself how 
much an unwanted touch (even a hug) can upset us,
even it comes from someone we usually would enjoy it from.

I have a few really touchy kids who love physical affection,
and others like me, who need to be in the right mood.

However, a safe hug can make all the difference in the world to a
hurting child.

3. Allow them a few minutes to breathe.

If the child or teen isn't making sense, they most likely 
are in flight or fright mode, and are no longer being rational.

It is important that if they need space, that you allow for it to help
them to calm down & self-regulate.

Both of our children with special needs get upset very easily, and if
we continue to push back ("argue", even try to discuss) and they
are not ready for it, then it is fruitless on both ends.

I have found allowing the child to go to their room, or take a quick walk
allows them to regroup & they usually come back
apologetic, and ready to work things out.

4. Allow them space.

This goes along with point number 3, but it also means that
you allow them space & time to think about their responses.

You may even have to allow them a day or two to think on a difficult or tense 
conversation you just had (especially with older ones).

If you have given them say two choices, don't pressure them
to immediately given an answer under duress unless
circumstances dictate it is necessary.

This is particularly important if their difficulty relates to others
outside of the family (maybe someone has deeply hurt or rejected them).

They will likely need a few shorter conversations over a few days, rather
than trying to jam in all of your thoughts & encouragement in a long session 
while the wound is still fresh.

5. Pray with and for them.

I am ending on what I feel is the most important point.

There is no one on the face of the planet who loves your child
more than God does!

He created them, and you, and He is very interested in helping
you both resolve the situation.

Sometimes I'll stop to offer a prayer right then & there.
Other times I'll just quietly pray on my own later.

Either way, the child is covered by our prayers.

I have found the battle is tough these days, and is not
for the faint of heart.

We must persevere both in our parenting, and in prayer, reading the 
Word, and fellowship, as we seek to disciple our children to Christ.


Most of all we need to show them grace.

To be consistent, and yes, hold them accountable for any wrong actions,
however, always remember their age, understanding (as in with special needs),
ability and the context of the situation.


Lastly, I wanted to add, that even with doing ALL of the above,
sometimes circumstances still suck for our child.

Sometimes our child may struggle for more than a short while.

Trust me, we have been there.

I can relate to the powerless feeling of saying you've done all
that you know to do, and life still stinks for your child.

Don't hesitate to seek professional help.

I find the best referrals are from other parents already
two steps ahead.

Ask around, and ensure you find the right team of people
to help you when the bad days are turning into weeks...months...
or even longer.


Whatever you are facing right now,
don't give up.

There is always hope. 


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we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

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