Being Grateful For Parenting Challenges

intentional parenting parenting tips raising kids Nov 17, 2022
When parenting is hard, finding a way to be grateful for the challenges can help.

When your kids challenge you, do you find that you tend to think of them as difficult, defiant, or strong-willed?  Our kids seem to challenge us at all the most inconvenient times, when we have the most going on and the least bandwidth.  When this happens our thoughts tend to go down the path of I don’t have time for this right now, and why can’t they just do what I need them to do for once?

We think that if our kids listened and cooperated that life would be so much easier.

I will fully admit that I had those thoughts about my own kids, and I want you to know that line of thinking is completely understandable and totally normal.  If our kids always listened and cooperated life would be easier.  

But do you want to trade easier now for the qualities that you want to instill in your child for the future? Do you want kids that always listen and are compliant with what someone else says?

I know that I don’t, and you likely don’t either.

We want to raise kids that know how to speak up and advocate for themselves.  We want kids that know how to stand up against peer pressure.  We want kids that are confident in themselves, and don’t need to do things they don’t want to do just to be accepted and approved of.

This means that we want to be grateful when our kids challenge us because this is how they develop the skills to be able to stand up for themselves.

When you think about the qualities you want your kids to have as they grow older, it can change how you see their behavior now.  And for those of you that have strong-willed children, please trust that it will serve them well as they grow.

I tell you this from personal experience as I struggled for years with a strong-willed child that continually self-advocated and did not like my giving any advice or direction.  We had many battles over the years until I shifted my perspective and how I communicate.  I began to appreciate and become more grateful for my child’s confidence and ability to speak up.  I watched as those skills served my child extremely well throughout high school and now in college.

I now coach on this often and help parents rethink what kind of behavior and qualities they want to foster in their kids.  The behaviors that frustrate you most now, can actually help your child develop qualities that will serve them extremely well later.  The key will be to remind yourself what qualities you want to develop in your child when they are practicing those skills and challenging you now.

Please note that being grateful does not mean accepting inappropriate behavior.  It just means that we view that behavior differently so we better manage our reactions and our responses as we calmly enforce boundaries.  When you shift and develop gratitude for the challenges, you change how you perceive them and parent through them, which helps you through the hardest of days.

So in this season of gratitude, I encourage you to not only be grateful for the times when things are smooth and easy but also look at some of the challenges and see where you can be grateful for those too.

If you find that this is really a struggle and you can’t find a way to be grateful for the challenges, please reach out to me.  You don’t have to struggle alone, I can help.

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