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  • Writer's pictureCristina Lima Counselling

Said by a parent like you and me

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

“I feel so embarrassed by my kid’s meltdowns”.

“My child’s poor behaviours must be a reflection of my mistakes as a parent”.

“My kid keeps making bad decisions. I must be a terrible parent because I can’t make him/her/them change”.

These and other self-blaming and shaming thoughts are often accompanied by feelings of guilt that show up as anger, sadness or anxiety.

Because of that, parents sometimes react to their kid’s behaviours in angry or anxious ways, and others grow increasingly sad over time.

The good news is that there is something called developmental psychology that teaches us that the ways of thinking, feeling and behaving change throughout a person’s life.

A child’s misbehaviours, poor choices and meltdowns are often ways of communicating that they are struggling to meet the needs of their developmental stage.

When we understand the developmental stage our kids are in, the needs that they are struggling to meet, the stressors that they are facing, and the skill deficits that they are experiencing, we are able to move from a place of guilt to a place of resourcefulness.

The questions then change to: how can I meet my kids’ needs? What are the stressors that I can remove? What are the most effective and healthiest ways to teach my kid the skills that they are lacking?

May the difficult feelings that you experience be a guide to important reflections, self-compassion and new learnings.

For more on developmental psychology, check out Erik Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development here.

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