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As a parent, feeling confused on what to do next when handling your child’s outburst is rather common; I’m fairly certain we ALL experience this at one point or another in our parenting careers. However, this feeling comes along way more frequently when parenting a difficult child, and at a tenfold strength that usually brings along with it some form of anxiety or depression. Sometimes those confusing moments can feel like life or death choices…and the reality is that sometimes they are. For those parents struggling with children who are suicidal and/or hurting themselves, those moments of question can truly be the end of your own sanity. Feeling like you don’t know what to do next because you don’t know what your child will do next is the epitome of being caught between a rock and a hard place. People who don’t have kids, will hopefully never have to suffer this sort of turmoil; and I envy them for that. At times it seems like parenthood is akin to some form of self-torture.
If you have an aneurotypical child you’re probably already very accustomed to the push back and the manipulation tactics that can (and often DO) occur. By default, you are also likely accustomed to the confusion that takes place in your own mind. Literally: “What do I do next? Is this like the last time? Should I try what I read about in that book? Or maybe what his school counselor said? Do we need to call the police this time? Or am I just wasting their time? Will it cause more fighting? More anger? More defiance? Will I get hurt? Will my child get hurt?”, and these questions can be terrifying and the fear overwhelming. Especially in those moments. You’re just trying to be the best parent you can be to your kid, and that becomes all the more challenging when said child just doesn’t want to be parented.
I think one of the biggest struggles about this is that each situation ends up being unique. So what you used last week to stop him hitting the washing machine while on time out, may blow up in your face when he’s spitting on the washing machine today. On top of this most parenting experts agree that consistency, consistency, CONSISTENCY is the all around best policy. But how are you supposed to be consistent when things change practically daily with your child? One minute they’re excited and happy and the next they are having a meltdown and yelling some really awful things at you. How on Earth are you, the parent, the guide, the guardian, supposed to be consistent with the human embodiment of Russian Roulette?! Well, the answer is: there is no one right answer. And as a parent to a difficult kid, I can tell you hearing that….is fucking exhausting. And I mean like EX. HAUST. ING. We are spent, we are soooooo past done, we do not have the time nor the energy nor mental/spiritual/physical capacity to pursue all the thousand billion possible ways to get our kid to finally listen!
But the struggle doesn’t have to be so difficult. The trick with this is you take yourself out of the equation, you decline to continue the power struggle (because lets be real that’s what it’s become). You know your child, you know them well (probably better than you even realize), and you CAN solve the mystery that is their mind! It really truly helps to enlist the aid of a therapist that is trained specifically for what your child is dealing with; whether that be ADHD, trauma, bipolar, autism, or any other neurobehavioral condition. A therapist can give you an insight to your direct relationship with your kid that frankly my bloggy pages cannot. They can see the dynamic, they can see where adjustments may be needed and help you figure out just what those adjustments are. They have tools and ideas you would never have thought about (seriously it’s kinda amazing all the stuff out there now-a-days for mental health) and they know ways to help pay for those services if finances is a burden (I’ve been there, I feel you).
My point is: yes, it’s hard being a parent to someone who has complications and yes, sometimes you wanna just tear your hair out and yes, sometimes you really fear for everything (them, yourself, the rest of your family) but you don’t have to go it alone. There are people out in this world who care, GENUINELY CARE, about your wellbeing and your kids wellbeing and the wellbeing of everyone involved.
You deserve happiness and peace-so please, don’t be afraid or ashamed to say “I need help, and I’m ready to receive it”.
What’s your biggest parenting fear? No judgements, only understanding and love please.