(Inside: Is it Really Just Bad Parenting to Blame for Difficult Behaviors? Find out what’s really to blame for your child’s behaviors that you may be missing…)
I spent the first seven years as a parent feeling like I was failing.
My child was having these huge behaviors and struggles in school…
I spent all night every night searching for answers…
All while the pediatrician, his teachers, other parents, and even my own mom were all telling me that it was my fault…
That I was doing everything wrong and if I just did this, or didn’t do that, he wouldn’t have the big behaviors I was struggling with…
So whether I searched for answers on google, asked the doctor, or received unsolicited advice, it all boiled down to one thing… I was a bad parent.
Maybe you can relate?
But… what’s REALLY to blame for your child’s behaviors? It may not be what you think…
What’s REALLY to Blame for Your Child’s Behaviors?
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So when our kids struggle, we are immediately told that it is our bad parenting…
It has to be our parenting that causes our children to act out.. Right?
Wrong! It’s not true.
No matter what behavior your child is struggling with, I’m going to help you dig below the surface and see what’s really going on.
Your child is too sensitive…
Your child might be a child who cries over the smallest things. Maybe they get really sad whenever you leave or cling to you when it’s time to walk into preschool…
The world sees these kids as oversensitive or emotional.
And the world might tell you is that this is your fault.
You did this to them because you are over protective… You aren’t allowing your child to make mistakes… You are jumping in and you are taking care of their problems for them…
But what’s really happening is that your child lacks the self regulation and the communication skills to be able to tell you what’s really going on.
They aren’t yet able to control their inner thoughts, so they let those thoughts turn into actions.
Basically, your child is experiencing big feelings and emotions, and they don’t know how to deal with them properly. And that’s not your fault.
Your child is angry and explosive…
Maybe you’ve got a child who yells, screams, says I hate you, says you’re the worst.
They might kick, they might bite, they might throw things, they might be destructive.
They cross their arms and they shut down, they tell you to go away.
These are your angry children, or explosive children.
And the world will tell you that you did this.
This is your fault. You didn’t set limits. You didn’t teach them that this wasn’t right.
But I’m here to tell you that’s not the case…
There’s so much more going on under the surface with your child.
Angry or explosive children are completely unable to regulate their emotions.
They’re struggling with their fight response in the fight, flight, or freeze, and they don’t know any other way to respond when they are met with a crisis or big emotions they don’t know how to handle.
This child does not have the calming strategies that they need. They don’t have a toolbox, and they don’t have coping strategies they can use.
Also, a lot of angry and explosive kids struggle with flexible thinking and the ability to problem solve…
And none of that is your fault.
I want you to just hear that over and over again today. Your child’s behaviors are not because you are a bad parent.
Your child is struggling with certain skills, and you don’t have a toolbox to help them yet.
Your child is hyperactive…
Next we have the overexcited child… The one that gets super hyper when guests come over or when they’re at the playground or when they’re at the birthday party.
They might say inappropriate things around other people, and they make jokes at completely inappropriate times. They might jump on the furniture, or play way too rough with other kids.
If you have this child, the world will blame you for not setting limits.
They are going to label your child with ADHD and tell you that your child needs medicine. or that you are a bad parent and you are doing things wrong because you can’t control your child’s behaviors.
But what’s really happening is that a lot of times, worry, sensory needs, anxiety, excitement, nervousness, the inability to self-regulate, can come out as excitabilities.
These kids can be unable to know when the energy is rising, because they’re worried about something… nervous about something… excited about something… And they don’t know how to put words to that feeling.
And so we have to become so in tune with our children. We have to learn to recognize when there are things going on below the surface, and we have to take it a step further to teach them to recognize it as well.
Your child is a perfectionist…
Maybe you have a kid that’s super nervous about breaking rules or has to get their homework absolutely perfect, so they won’t even do it unless they can do it perfectly.
They really struggle with constructive criticism, and they’re scared of getting anything wrong.
With this child, people will blame you for being too strict or being too hard on your child.
They may blame you and say that you caused your child’s perfectionism…
These kids tend to really struggling with negative thoughts.
They don’t know what to do with the negative thoughts, so they go on this wild goose chase and don’t know how to rein them in.
And then on top of that, they have trouble verbalizing their worries because they don’t even realize that worries are at the root of these perfectionist behaviors.
But you are not to blame…
Whatever behavior you’re struggling with, I want you to know… You are not to blame.
If you Google any of those behaviors, some of the very first articles that are going to come up are things like… “five things parents are doing wrong that cause children to be oversensitive” or “seven mistakes parents make that make their children angry and destructive”.
But this is different… I want you to know that you’re not a bad parent…
I’m not going to tell you a bunch of #parentinghacks or tell you that “if you would only…” that all your problems go away.
What I will tell you is that all hope isn’t lost… You can dig below the surface and find what’s truly causing your child’s behaviors…
Which brings me to my next point…
Your child is not to blame, either…
If it’s not the parent’s fault it must be the kid’s fault, right? But it’s that they’ve learned habits.
They’ve learned things that work to deal with the frustrations that they’re having or the struggles that they’re having, and those coping mechanisms are coming out as these big behaviors.
Either you or your child are lacking the skills and the toolbox and the strategies you need to be successful every day.
But your story doesn’t end here…
Because your child’s behaviors are much like this iceberg. On the surface you see…
* a child that is clingy and doesn’t like to be alone,
* a child that crosses his arms and shuts down
* a child that is scared of ever getting a wrong answer
* a child that doesn’t like to go new places
Or a child that becomes “hyper” when new guests arrive at your house.
It’s easy to look at these behaviors as just what we see. It’s easy to make assumptions about why our children are acting out or doing inexplicable things.
However, I challenge you to look for the other 85%. Look deeper.
What’s hiding behind what you see?