Meeting The Challenges of Parenting
There are so many adjectives to describe the experience of parenting; exciting, frightening, fulfilling, deflating, delightful, dreadful, exhilarating, frustrating, affirming, crushing, loving… and so many more! And the emotional swings of being a parent can often be breathtaking. When we buy a new car or major appliance, we often receive a comprehensive owner’s manual. But when we bring a new child into our world, they are pretty much on their own. Many of us are blessed with good support networks and access to helpful resources to help us through the steep learning curve of parenting, but it still remains a daunting task, particularly in our tech charged, ever-changing environment.
For most of us, protecting our child seems to be a natural instinct. That however, can often conflict with helping our children learn, grow and eventually letting them go to hopefully become the best version of themselves in the greater world. Camp WeHaKee recognizes this challenge that most parents face on a daily basis. That is why we offer a camp experience that allows children and adolescents discover and grow in safe and nurturing environment. We also provide our campers with plentiful opportunities for healthy risk taking in order for them to gain and. build upon a sense of confidence and independence. We provide parents a community for their child to begin to not only see who they really are but to embrace the amazing things they have to offer! WeHaKee is here to partner with you as you help you child grow into an empowered and contributing young adult!
We also try to connect with parents by offering thoughts and guidance that you can use to successfully continue up the steep learning curve of effective parenting. We recently came across an exploring a set of challenges most of us as parents have or will face as we continue to support and nurture our children. Challenging Parenting Issues; The 5 Hardest Things Parents Face (Janet Lehman, MSW, EmpoweringParents.com provides several common challenges paired with concrete advice to help overcome the potential obstacle. We would like to explore excerpts for you below:
How To Parent the Child You Have, Not the Child You Wish You Had:
As a mom and therapist, I know that real grief can emerge when you realize that your child is not who you thought they would be. You might have to give up certain dreams you had for your child’s future when you realize they’re not going to take the path you’d hoped they would. Understand, though, that once you let go and accept who your child is, a different kind of love can develop. You’ll be able to see them clearly for the person they truly are. True acceptance is one of the most powerful, loving things a parent can give to their child. It’s the basis for so many things, including being able to develop and communicate reasonable expectations for appropriate behavior. Old power struggles fall away, which can give you space to nurture new aspects of your relationship. As a bonus, when you accept your child for who they are, they can become better at accepting themselves.
How To Let Your Child Experience the Pain of Natural Consequences:
We humans learn through trial and error. It is often the best way to learn. We speed, we get a ticket, and we eventually stop speeding. Your child can’t learn this way if you put up a protective fence around them and try to fix things for them. James Lehman, said, “It’s helpful to allow your child to struggle. Change happens out of struggle and in moments of accepting responsibility for our actions.” It’s our job as parents to help our kids through these difficult times, but it’s not our job to bear all their burdens for them. This may mean letting your child feel pain and disappointment. You can help them by talking about how they can handle themselves differently next time and teaching them some good coping strategies. By simply letting your child know you’re there for them because you love them, you’re giving them one of the most important things a parent can ever give.
How To Face Judgment, Shame, and Blame From Others:
If you have a child who acts out and engages in other challenging behaviors—tantrums, yelling, disobeying you, or being annoying and obnoxious—you’ve probably gotten “the look” from friends and strangers alike. You know the one—it says, “What’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you doing something about your child’s behavior?!” But when your child is acting out, and you’re feeling judged by others, stop and say to yourself: “I can’t read other people’s minds.” So when you feel yourself trying to guess what your neighbor, your mother-in-law, or your friends are thinking, tell yourself: “I’m not a mind-reader; I don’t know what they’re thinking.” Stop the tape that’s playing in your head and move on. This is also part of the process of learning how to engage in “positive self-talk,” or talking to yourself in a way that promotes calmness and hope, rather than panic.
Coping When Your Child Says “I Hate You, Mom!”:
The words “I hate you” can have the power to reduce any parent to tears or anger. It can make you feel like you’ve failed and wonder where you went wrong. Kids know that saying these words can paralyze a parent during a fight, which is why they use this tactic to get what they want. As hard as it is, try not to personalize your child’s behavior, even when they say that they hate you. When you personalize things, it makes it very hard to be objective about how to respond to your child in the moment. A good thing to do when this happens is to stop, breathe, and respond with something like the following: “We’re not talking about that right now. We’re talking about the fact that you need to do your homework.” You can also ask yourself: “What does my child need from me right now?” It might be some space. Or it might be for you to follow through on a consequence you issued. But remember, try not to take these words from your kids personally.
How To Let Go:
During your child’s pre-adolescent and adolescent years, you are constantly confronted with the challenge of letting go. This is especially difficult if your kid seems to need to learn things the hard way. A natural part of adolescence is risk-taking — which often results in rule-breaking and inappropriate behavior. It becomes extremely important as a parent to be able to disconnect from your emotional response to this misbehavior. Emotional responses include feeling guilty, embarrassed, ashamed, or disappointed. When our kids get older, we need to pull back a bit and become coaches and teachers while we let our kids begin to play the game of life. We still love our children as people, but we need to give them space to learn, space for trial and error. As painful as it is to accept sometimes, our children are born to move away from us. There is a sense of grief that goes along with this. It’s important to remember that this work of caring for our children while they are constantly separating from us and becoming individuals can be stressful, demanding, and confusing.
At WeHaKee, we are child and youth development specialists. But in true partnership with our families, we embrace that the parents are the specialists of their children. This approach allows up to be accepting and willing to work with you in raising your child to become the best version of herself!