The rollercoaster ride of motherhood is both exhilarating and exhausting. At times, our children act very unlikeable. Other times, they act like they don’t like us.
“I don’t like you, mommy. Bad choice,” my son said one day.
He’d done something against our dinner table rules enough times to warrant a consequence. He responded in anger and it only got worse as he spent the next 15 minutes banging on his bedroom walls.
Because, at that point, he didn’t need me to make him feel better.
Afterwards, we hugged, cuddled, talked, and reconnected. But it’s hard when our kids act angry with us.
And, let’s face it, they will. They’ll give you a dirty look like you aren’t the one who incubated them, delivered them, fed them and changed their dirty diapers. They will act like This One Thing is enough to wipe out all those acts of love and service.
What do we do when our maternal heart crumbles (or gets angry) because our children act like they don’t like us?Whether for a few minutes, a few hours, or a day or more, the methods are much the same.
1. Be sure you’re paying them enough positive loving attention.
In order to effectively weather the storm of “my child hates me…what is the point of it all?” one must be sure their children are not acting out in anger because they feel left out, neglected or not special. Are you spending alone time with them, even as little as 15 minutes a day? Are you speaking to them with positive smiles, positive words, and affection?
If you’re consistently parenting with love as a foundation, they can weather some angry and disappointed spells without disconnecting from you. If they don’t feel connected to you in the first place, an angry spell can last a good deal longer.
2. Be consistent in your discipline, kind yet firm.
All children go through developmental phases of independence. When they were happy for you to help them yesterday, today they want you to leave them alone. Initially, they do not take kindly to our discipline, correction and training. They’ll act hurt, disappointed, cry or throw a tantrum to get their way.
Depending on their age they’re probably not attempting to manipulate, just passionately reacting. If they are acting out against you because they are unhappy with your direction or instruction, just be sure to keep consistent. You can keep a household rule or boundary while remaining kind and loving. You don’t need an angry face to bring the point home.
3. Explain as best as you are able for their age.
Ask them questions about how they’re feeling. Encourage them to tell you how they really feel. It is how you’ll both learn more about each other. If they are angry you denied them something, briefly explain your reasoning. If you use a few words, even toddlers can understand.
Some personalities (Confident + Take Charge and Strong + Deliberate) desperately want to know why. Unless you don’t have a good reason in the first place, this shouldn’t be hard. This doesn’t mean they like it, but it’s all part of the process. At the end of the day, kids want to be heard and understood.
4. Don’t back down if it’s important.
We must not be afraid to enforce a rule or consequence that is in the best interest of our children. Younger children aren’t being manipulative, they’re just trying to figure out how to get what they want. Good for them, this is problem-solving. Crying, screaming, throwing a hissy fit, running away, refusing to eat, etc are ways they are hoping to sway your opinion.
Our role is to be the parent, not the friend. Friendship will come later after a lifetime of love and fair dealings.
5. Humble yourself and admit when you’re wrong
I am wrong often. More often than I’d like to admit since I’m a Type A, by nature, always think I’m right. However, I have survived in life by being able to admit I’m wrong. It may take me a while to realize I am wrong, but when I do I try hard to make it right. This goes with my kids as well.
We will be wrong and make wrong decisions regarding our children, that is inevitable. Our children should know we are willing to reverse a decision, apologize and make things right when we’ve been wrong. This will help them trust us, even when they act like they don’t like us.
Kindness, patience, love, and consistency and are names of the game. Children may act like they don’t like you momentarily, but the deepest need of a child is to be loved.
Even if they act differently, they want your love.
Even if they push you away, word hard to give them attention.
Even though you think it won’t pass, it will.
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