"My child is so annoying!" How our thoughts about our child influence our actions.
Updated: Aug 29
We've all been there. Your child is driving you crazy and you think something like:
"They are so annoying!"
"They are ALWAYS doing this!"
"Why can't they just do what I say?"
"I'm going to lose it if they keep on _________"
You may not even consciously register these thoughts, but they are changing your relationship with your child. Our brain looks to confirm what it's thinking. So if we're constantly thinking, "My child never listens!" then your brain is going to look for examples of any time your child doesn't immediately do what you say.
Now let's pay attention to what it does in your body when you think these negative thoughts about your child. Stop and think about a difficult moment you recently had with your child. Maybe you would say they're demanding or defiant. Actually say that out loud, "My child is defiant". Now stop and notice how that feels in your body. I get a tightness in my chest and feel a little nauseous. Simply saying this out loud causes my body to go into a fight/flight/freeze reaction. I cannot do my best parenting in this state. I can't help my child do better in this moment.
So what can you do instead? Flip the script, challenge your thoughts. Is what you're saying even true? Let's assume that all children (and adults) are doing the very best they can at any given moment. If that's true, what can you say about your child instead? Instead of "My child is defiant." let's try, "My child is determined, and is trying to get a need met."
Actually say that second sentence out loud, "My child is determined, and is trying to get a need met." How does that feel in your body? The weight lifted right off my chest, I smiled a little bit. Now I'm prepared to offer my child empathy, to get creative in our problem solving and figure out a way to meet both our needs in the situation.
If you're struggling to flip your own script, or aren't sure what to do once you make that change. Click here to sign up for MISUNDERSTOOD: gaining cooperation from challenging kids, a 9 week guided course. If you just need a little extra help, I'm available for 1 hour problem solving calls, and you can sign up here.
In support of you,