Sourcing the parent within means challenging typical notions that support viewing child development phases as problems, when really we need to understand the process our children our going through. I often notice parents can create problems by expecting that their children to be in an older developmental phase than they are ready for. Many times when we see a tantrum of a toddler as a problem, or try to get our child to be independent before they are developmentally ready, we miss the opportunity to grow and learn through them. Our effort is looking at the issue as a problem.
Take for example the teenage years. Those years can be some of the most challenging for parents and teenagers. However, at some point every teenager seems to disconnect a bit from his/her parents or family, perhaps even showing signs of being defiant. This is all normal stuff of life, a clear developmental phase when they are forming their identity. It may be odd to hear that this is actually healthy. The answer to how to respond to this stage of development is just like any other, you support your child through it. Chances are as parents we need to grow and change to see how we can best support our kids through their growing pains. Understanding that this rebellion is developmentally accurate doesn’t mean becoming a permissive parent. Understanding empowers us not react to our child and maturely learn to respond with what they need.
You may need to have clear boundaries, and teach them about responsibility, and the importance of integrity, and the value of their word. You may need to teach them how to take a stand for what they believe in, how to respect themselves and others, and communicate their needs. Growing and learning is not always comfortable, but seeing this discomfort positively is what allows us to respond with grace to any situation.
Image Credit: Happy-Bandits