On Raising a Difficult Child

Oh I really don’t want to label D. But I must be honest. He’s difficult. With a capital D. He’s 16 and his favorite word remains “No.” Easy-going, laid back, lassie faire ….yeah so not D. Over his lifetime I have learned much however. And though I am far from an expert, I can offer these five tips/recommendations/suggestions when it comes to raising a difficult child.

  1. Leave your ego at the door. By all means do NOT go head to head with a difficult child. You know where that leads you? In a screaming frenzy-blood boiling-blood pressure elevated-crazy state of mind. Trust me. I know.
  2. Don’t ever give up. As hard and as challenging as a difficult child can be, don’t quit trying. We have a sign in my office that reads “The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving of ways.” Know that being difficult can sometimes be a cover for something deeper. Have compassion. Maybe even some empathy.
  3. Continue to create opportunities….even when you know it’s fairly certain the response will be “No.” Perseverance, gentle perseverance. Lead the way.
  4. Always, always challenge the difficult attitude with love. Cliche I know. But it works.
  5. Be grateful. Yes, grateful. Why? Because raising a difficult child is an opportunity for you to become a better parent. Every situation is a chance to strengthen your parenting skills – albeit challenge your patience as well!

I have been blessed with a child who is difficult and a child who goes-with-the-flow. Both amaze me with their strengths. And, yes, they both have their weaknesses. After all, we all do. But how lucky am I to be their mom!

Do you have any more tips to add?

What Are you Running From?

A marathon. 26.2 miles of running. Endurance, perseverance, mental toughness. In less than four weeks, I will complete (I hope!) my first marathon at the MCM in D.C. Please someone tell me what I was thinking when I agreed to do this? Wasn’t a year of divorce and being diagnosed with SIBO enough? Aah, but that is not my style. Never has been. I tend to push myself to limits. Why? I don’t want fear to prevent me from moving forward. Pushing myself through thick mud allows me to see and experience the other side.

Yes, my yoga teacher has stopped me several times now asking “So did you figure out what you are running from yet?” But I’d like to think I am running towards something. “Ha,” she said, “keep telling yourself that….” While running the other day, the question popped into my head. From the divorce. That is what I am running from. The divorce. But….I think that is too much the obvious. Although I think it’s a piece of the pie, it’s not the whole pie. Anger, sadness to the point of tears, and even elatedness surface during running. So what am I running from? Maybe it’s all those feelings and where they stem from? Maybe it’s from my old self? Maybe it is simply from the divorce? Memories? Hurt? Disappointment? Maybe it is from fear? Could it be that this time it is fear that is holding me back, holding me in? Interesting right? I push myself throughout my life to basically give the middle finger to fear, yet, right now I may be running away from it?

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
– A.A. Milne

Hmmm….Dramatic?

Is Divorce dramaticOr does that description lend itself too much to a theater production? Maybe it’s that the act of divorce is not dramatic so much so as the consequences.

Divorce is breaking apart. But quite possibly it can also be pulling together. Ironic right? In the end, it’s all significant, life altering, and yes dramatic. Truthfully it has rocked my world. My gait unsteady. My mind a tornado of mismatched thoughts. My heart pulled in many directions yet all the while growing bigger and stronger as a result.

Synonyms for dramatic include – significant, considerable, substantial.

Significant? A path reworked. A family redefined. A heart aching for its loss.

Considerable? A life quite literally scheduled differently. A risk leading to vulnerability.

Substantial? Loss. Gain. Strength. Clarity.

So, yes, dramatic. In all its waves of change, divorce has left a lifelong imprint. And while the drama of it all can often implicate a negative aftermath, it continues to be a priority to find the balance. To provide the lesson. To foster growth, truth, and perseverance. To take something so crushing and manipulate it in a way that results in something positive. Something good.

There is no other option – I am a mother.

The Other Side..

My oldest son has started High School. I’d be lying if I said he has had a smooth transition. I’ve watched him feel anxious, scared, and hesitant. Actually, I felt it with him. It’s so hard NOT to feel what your own children are feeling, experiencing. They are so much a part of me. These past few months have created such a life long lesson for him, however. He will know he can work through challenges. He will know running away is never the answer. Perseverance is key. Breaking outside your comfort zone is key. He is stronger. It’s important to mention he chose to go to a High School where he knew few kids. The time of the decision was step one in him making a choice that was best for him, despite what his best friends were doing. Reality is he may choose, come the end of the year, to transfer to the main High School. But by then, the lessons, they will have been taught. He will be on the other side.