After a long day at work, you come home exhausted. The chores you asked your child to do aren’t done — again. He comes up with excuse after excuse, and you’ve had enough. Feeling frustrated and unappreciated, you blurt out,
“I work hard so I can put food on the table and clothes on your back, and you can’t even do one thing around the house? You don’t care about anyone but yourself!”
If this sounds familiar (whether you say it out loud or in your head), you’re not alone. It hurts when you feel disrespected. Many parents tell us they feel angry, sad, or lonely when dealing with bad behavior. These feelings are all valid — it’s normal to want recognition for the hard work you do. Being a parent is not easy, but you’re doing great! I can tell simply by your interest in these emails!
When you’re faced with a situation that makes you think, “My child doesn’t care about me or my feelings,” it helps to take a few steps back. James Lehman advocates separating disrespectful behavior (not doing the chores you asked) from the emotions of you and your child (feeling disrespected). By treating behavior and emotion separately, you decrease the chances of a power struggle.
It’s hard not to react to your child’s actions with your own emotional response. After all, you’re only human! If you need help separating behavior from emotion, we’re here for you! More tips can be found in the article, Disrespectful Child Behavior? Don’t Take It Personally.
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent — but there are empowered parents. You’re well on your way!
All the best,
Marissa S., Empowering Parents Coach
“By saying a phrase like, ‘You’re making me crazy,’ you’re not engaging your child’s empathy — you’re engaging your kid’s urge to use domination and control as a problem-solving tool. And those tools aren’t effective.” — James Lehman, MSW