Monday, May 23, 2011

I Don't Like My Child

I listened to a Mom complain about her 4 year old daughter for twenty minutes during a coaching session. After a moment I said, "It sounds like you don't like your daughter." There was a long pause, a deep sigh and the answer, "I don't. She never leaves me alone. I can't even go to the bathroom alone and she talks incessantly." I told her that I understood her dilemma and I reassured her that she was not alone in having these thoughts. I admired her for having the courage to verbalize something so difficult to admit to oneself. I then charged this mother with looking for what was standing in the way of her love for her child over the next week.

The following week she called bubbling with energy and enthusiasm. I immediately asked what was different this week from last. She informed me that her daughter had been playing by herself and more importantly, when Mom and daughter were together, Mom was enjoying her time with daughter. She said she realized that what was standing in the way of her love for her daughter was her stress over the house cleaning.  "When I was supposed to be playing play dough with my child, all I could think of was that the toilet needed to be cleaned!" So to help, she and her husband went over the budget and created the money to hire a housekeeper to just keep the surfaces clean, relieving some of Mom's stress. In addition, she started addressing her internal, mistaken belief that her house must be spotless.

As a result, Mom is now able to spend more quality time with her daughter, which allows her daughter to feel more loved. This is helping her daughter to become less clingy and attention seeking, and more independent.

How about you? 
Feeling distant or annoyed by your child? Maybe you sometimes feel as if you don't actually like your child very much. Instead of beating yourself up emotionally for having the thought, or allowing yourself to get so annoyed:
1. Acknowledge without judgment that you are feeling this way, and 
2. Ask yourself, "what is standing in the way of love?"

You can also ask yourself this question in regards to other important people in your life you might be feeling less than loving towards. Sometimes it is as simple as a mistaken belief that can be addressed or tweaked.
By Kathryn Kvols, Author of Redirecting Children's Behavior and founder of INCAF

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