If your child has been acting in a way that has led you to say, “Sometimes I don’t like my child” then this post is for you.
It’s probably taboo to write this and I’m going to catch some flak, but I’ve got a thick skin and it must be said.
Sometimes our kids act very unlikable.
It’s not that we don’t love them. Of course you love your child and you’d do anything for them. It’s likely that the root of this feeling lies somewhere that just needs a little work.
Honestly, it’s the ugly truth… some days we just won’t like being around our kids. It is likely a transitory problem that you don’t even think about.
If you find yourself frequently feeling that you don’t like being around your kid (or you are worried that’s how others feel because of your child’s behavior), here are some thoughts to consider!
A famous author….
A famous author and psychologist wrote a bestselling book with a whole chapter on this issue. The author noted how we should take this fleeting feeling of dislike towards our kids as a sign we all have some work to do.
If we are so turned off by our own kids’ behavior – the ones we grew and birthed and dedicate so much of our life to – then you know others will be too.
So, knowing that we don’t actually dislike our kids but we are sensing something needs to change around the house so our boundaries are met, let’s dive in.
1. Isolate the “why”
One day last week I found time with my daughter extremely difficult. She was being super clingy and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I took a second and asked myself, “What on earth is going on?”
It was an easy answer. She needed time and attention from me, and since she wasn’t getting it, she was being clingy.
Every clingy behavior in the book drives me up the wall!
What behavior is it that’s turning you off?
Screaming, whining, clinginess, bad behavior, mean words, or bad attitude?
Where should you start?
- If it’s something behavioral that can and should be addressed, it’s time to study and learn some alternative behavioral remedies.
- Maybe it’s just a facet of their personality. Can you take a different route?
- If it is a characteristic most people would find unlikable then you can work to help them manage it.
- There’s a chance that it’s simply something neutral that drives you up the wall, learn to deal.
2. Identify triggers
If you are beginning to feel you love your child – but don’t always really like them – start seeking out triggers. It’s never too late to start doing this…
Feeling this way occasionally isn’t a crime, but your child will pick up on your lingering feelings and if you aren’t able to hide your annoyance or dislike then there will be many undesirable consequences.
If they are tired, in pain, or hungry… does that make them behave negatively? If so, remember that and cut them slack when those behaviors begin.
Most people are grumpy when they are tired and hungry. As moms, it’s our job to notice these triggers and fix it for them.
If it’s loud voices or screaming that puts you off, explain your sensitivity to the noises and find a place (outside) they can yell that won’t bother you. In fact, do some good ole anger management activities.
3. Fill their love tank
It seems easiest to just put them in time out or take away a privilege to help eradicate bad behavior. But…what if the unlikable behavior is just attention seeking?
When I find my children difficult, ahem, to be around there are usually two reasons:
- Physical discomfort– I can try to help with changing the surrounding or activity.
- Need of my attention– I can fill their “love tank” and satisfy this behavior.
Even 15 minutes alone with that child reading, talking, or playing a game is often enough to turn the day around.
4. Discipline and train out unlikable behaviors
Something for us all to consider is this: some behaviors may be unlikable (to you) that aren’t inherently bad.
Everybody has different personalities... and thank goodness for that! Some behaviors are simply a facet of your child’s personality.
Just like in my case with sounds, it get’s difficult when your child’s personality doesn’t mesh well with yours.
On the flip side, there are other behaviors that you won’t like and neither will anybody else.
Instead of shaming those behaviors out of them, train them in alternatives.
Shaming and guilt tripping your children is not effective long term.
If you need to eradicate a negative behavior, have a zero tolerance policy and a consequence you enforce every single time.
If it’s simply an annoying behavior like talking too loudly or squealing, then have a code word or signal you can do to show them they need to correct their tone.
5. Accept them
Children need to know they are loved and accepted despite their flaws. How we show this is crucial to their understanding of acceptance.
Does that mean we allow bad behavior to abound? Not at all. But it does mean because they are our children and part of our families we must show them unconditional acceptance. This is not to be confused with unconditional love.
When you start to feel resentment and bitterness towards your child it’s time to step back…
Start with these tips:
- Switch your approach to the behavior around- show love before placing blame.
- Begin discipline with a statement of acceptance such as: “I see you and care very much how you feel right now….can you start by telling me what’s wrong?”
- You’re mommy… scoop them up in a hug and a kiss. Then, begin to work through the behavior problem. You never know, maybe that’s all they wanted.
You may surprise yourself! Because you’ve oriented your heart towards them, your annoyance will likely have softened as well. Now, you can begin the discipline and bad behavior eradication.
It’s normal to love them all the time, but not like their behavior every minute of every day.
Just don’t let it get away from you.