Forgiving Yourself When Your Child Struggles

On the days when it seems like you can’t get along with your child, and there are arguments and conflicts around every corner, it can feel as if you’re entire household is crumbling. They are staying out past curfew, hanging out where they shouldn’t, or talking back, and you feel like you’ve exhausted all of your options. It can be easy to blame yourself when this happens, but being hard on yourself is not going to improve the situation. Here are some alternative reasons to consider if you are blaming yourself and some thoughts on how to reframe your conflicts with your children.

They Are Not You

When your child was younger, it was much easier to have a sense of control over their actions. Now that they are teenagers with more autonomy, working jobs, playing sports, and even driving, they have more responsibility. This additional responsibility can be overwhelming as a teenager, as they may not know their place in the world or what they’re passionate about. It could be a part of the reason they feel the need to act out. It’s important to remember that your child is not a direct reflection of your efforts as a parent and that there are many factors affecting the situation that is outside your control. It is hard to remember this, as parents are blamed for their children’s behavior more than anyone else.

Assess Blame, Don’t Dwell

There are times, however, when some of your child’s behaviors may be a result of a slip-up you’ve made. In these times, it’s important to remember that you are also human and capable of making mistakes. You might find it beneficial to speak with your child when this happens. Own up to your mistakes; communicate with them about how you intend to do better next time. This will make them feel as though you respect them and truly care about how your actions affect them. The fact of the matter is, you will make mistakes when navigating your teen’s new troublesome behaviors, but if you don’t forgive yourself, you’re setting the example for your child that it’s okay to remain in this state of self-deprecation.

Take It Day by Day

Your teen is likely to have a different attitude each day. On Monday, they may feel energized and ready to share with you their good and bad experiences at school. On Wednesday, they may get off the bus and head straight to their room, not to exit until dinnertime. Sometimes, accepting your mistakes and moving forward is the best course of action. You, just like your child, may have made some mistakes today, but there is always tomorrow. We all have off days. Your teen might not have done their best today, but they might complete all the actions expected of them tomorrow. Each day is a chance to start anew.

Make Time for Yourself

Sometimes mistakes or slip-ups made out of anger can be a result of burnout. You can’t provide help and support to your teen if you are not fulfilling your needs first. Remember to take time to do things you enjoy, with or without your teen. If you are constantly in a state of stress and worry, and your teen is struggling, you might not feel as if you have the time to address their needs fully. If they act out, you might lash out at them and blame them for your mental state when you should have set a boundary and taken more time for yourself. Look out for yourself. Buy something special for yourself, go out to dinner, or take a class on something you’ve always wanted to learn more about. Remind yourself that you also deserve care and support. Without it, you cannot be the parent you wish to be.

You’re Taking It Too Seriously¬†

Sometimes, all you can do is laugh at yourself. If you’re in an argument with your child, and you say something ridiculous, or they point a flaw in your logic, don’t be afraid to put your guard down and chuckle. Even though you’re upset and think what you’re trying to prove is a very important lesson, laughter can take the stress out of the situation. It may even allow your child to be more receptive to what you have to say after. If they see that you’re willing to still have a good time with them, even though you’re mad, they’ll be reassured of your unconditional love. Let’s face it, teenagers are hilarious, even if they’re misbehaving from time to time. Laughter isn’t restricted because you’re facing hard times. Sometimes, it really is the best medicine.

No one ever said raising teens was easy. It can be easy, though, to blame yourself for their actions because you feel as though they are a direct reflection of your efforts as a parent. Forgiving yourself for the potential mistakes you have made as a parent is important for teaching your child about forgiveness and shows them not to be so hard on themselves. If you maintain confidence in yourself that you can do better than your last attempt, they will start to realize the value of owning up to their mistakes and trying to do better the next day. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center specializes in teens suffering from anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD, addiction, and other behavioral health issues. We believe that you cannot treat the child without treating the parent as well. Call us today at (303) 443-3343 to explore our many treatment options and begin to repair your relationship with your child. 

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