The Last Chapter In “Love And Anger: The Parental Dilemma”

“The Loving Breakthrough” is the last chapter in this book.  I love this opening quote:  “Parenting is serious business, but often we take it too seriously.  We can get so wrapped up in the weight of our responsibilities that we leave no room for the fun, the playfulness, the joy of being with our children.  We may lose the ability to delight in their qualities of wonder, spontaneity, and silliness.”

Finding The Good – this section talks about how parents are the ones who must set limits, the ones who have to say no, to cut short parties, to set curfew, and then we are sad when we are not appreciated.  Our children go through phases where there is tension as a child pushes against the limits we set and we fail to see the wonderful things in our children, all the things they really are doing right.  The authors suggest we make a list of the qualities we appreciate in our children, that we look for the things our children do really well, and make a continued, renewed effort to see all that is good.

Give Yourself A Break – this section talks about also finding the things we do well as parents, that many times the only thing parents think about is where they fail and where they don’t measure up.  Finding our own strengths, our own positive qualities is important, just as important as when we do that for our children.

Lightening Up – Using laughter, humor and kindness in the moment when your child least expects it can be such a powerful tool for connection and discipline.  Being able to slow down and appreciate the unhurried pace of a child also helps immensely.  Do you have time for fun with your children?  They are only small once.

Time For Love -   Do you have the time to love your child?  Delight in your child is important, and it is even more important in those moments when things are starting to heat up.  Pull back, look at your small child, and find the love and delight there.

Many blessings, thank you for taking a trip through this book with me!  Stay tuned for the announcement of our next book and a very special series of posts to come.

Carrie

“Love And Anger: The Parental Dilemma”–Chapter 9: “Eight Weapons In The War On Anger” Part Two

So, picking up where we left off:

5.  Stay short and to the point.  I like this point on page 196, Kids have endless time to play point-counterpoint, in an effort to wear you down.  I know many parents whose children are ready for law school by age five!  They are the ones whose parents often overdo reasoning and explaining, in hopes that if only they give their children enough explanations, the kids will stop wanting what they wanted in the first place.

They point out it is okay to stay short and sweet, repeating the same phrase, being very specific as to what is needed, and the use of one word to communicate what you want (which can work well with those over seven in my opinion).

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“Love And Anger: The Parental Dilemma”–Chapter 8: “Mad Is Not Bad”

One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is to acknowledge a child’s intense expressions of anger – and to validate that anger as real.”

Have you ever struggled with that? Or with helping your child manage what behavior is acceptable when they are angry?

The authors validate in this chapter that as parents we can be very uncomfortable with anger as an emotion coming from our children.  And mothers in the audience, we can be even more uncomfortable at times because many women are peacemakers by nature and by conditioning.  The authors relate many stories within this chapter where parents recount how they were not allowed to express anger.

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“Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma”–Chapter 7: “An Unthinkable Rage”

Was this chapter hard for anyone else to read?  Parts of it were so hard, to see the deep pain (I think the authors call it that at one point) of these mothers with their small children.

And didn’t this chapter just make you mad?

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“Love And Anger: The Parental Dilemma”–End of Chapter 6

The very last part of this chapter is entitled, “The “Special” Child Challenge”.  It opens with a scenario about a little boy called Eben who was born prematurely and as a result had faced a variety of physical problems that lasted into childhood and affected his ability to play and participate in everyday life.  His mother related how she tried so hard to hold it all together in front of him that she realized she never showed him some of her authentic emotions. 

Many of the long-time readers to this blog  know that I was born prematurely (and my husband was as well!), we also  have one daughter who was born prematurely and my work as a neonatal physical therapist involved feeding and development for infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Children who are facing special challenges, whether these be physical or emotional or spiritual (and how can we tease every thing out so separately!  It is all part of the holistic human being!) are very close to my heart.

This chapter points out “many parents [of children with challenges] admit that the deeply felt emotions of rage, unfairness, and resentment never completely go away.  Even the strongest parents could find their anger triggered anew by a reminder that their disabled child would never experience – or share with them-the normal daily pleasures.”

The authors go on to point out that the anger some parents experienced lessened once they could let go of the “why” and the need to find answers and move more into acceptance and the realization that this challenge, whilst sad and upsetting at times, it is only a small part of the essence of the child.   The  child is bigger than “only” the disability or challenge.

I have known many parents and families whose children have had challenges that have been walking a long road in helping to heal their children.   I wondered how you felt about anger, special challenges, and what helps.

Many blessings,

Carrie

“Love And Anger: The Parental Dilemma”–Chapter Six: “High Hopes And Shattered Expectations” Part One

I loved this chapter because I felt like it really got to the crux of so many parenting issues and challenges, and maybe even hits on some of the reasons parents get angry when they don’t know why they even feel angry.

The chapter opens with a picture of a two little boys.  One, an eight-year-old, wants to play instead of practicing the piano where the mother recognized how pleased she would be to sit in the audience and hear her son play beautifully.  The other scenario was of a little five year old in kindergarten who was having a harder time separating from his mother than the other children in the class.

It’s so easy for us to get stuck in false ideals for our children, ideals based on what we’ve heard from others or the way we’ve seen others behave.  We’re embarrassed if our children don’t seem to be doing as well as we imagine other children are doing.”

The authors go on to say, “Often children need special help when they don’t easily adjust to their environment.  But what constitutes real help?  Sometimes when we think we are helping them, we are inadvertently communicating to them that they have let us down by not accomplishing what we think they should.  This message can damage a child’s self-esteem. Dorothy Corkill Briggs, a noted expert on the subject of self-esteem in children, writes in Experts Advise Parents, “If a child believes he is unlovable or lovable only on condition, he may develop all kinds of competence.  However, these skills are hollow victories.  No amount of competence ever substitutes for lovability…Each child needs to be cherished for his sheer existence.”  So the question becomes:  How can we learn to set aside our disappointment and relate to our children as unique individuals with special needs of their own?”

I found these pages really interesting.  I think there often can be a finer line than parents want to admit in meeting a child where they are and lifting that child up to where they need to go in terms of behavior.  I have seen parebts who have done a great job in connecting with that child and fostering love, but had such a hard time in expecting any right action from that child.

In terms of activities outside the home, I am sure we have all seen the split between parents who enrolled their children in all kinds of things at fairly early ages but also the parents who seemed to not want to let their children  spread their wings with activities or within the community at all.

I guess I found it interesting that the authors’ mixed parental anger regarding activities and how children manage (or not) parental expectations and the requirements for that activity (and whether this is intrinsic to the child or parent-pushed) and parental anger regarding behavior and developmental differences.  I think if I was the editor of this chapter I would have insisted these issues be addressed separately.  They seem like two very different things!

However, upon reading the next section of the chapter entitled, “Wanting The Best”, it struck me that the common ground between these two areas is that how parents do want the best for their children, and how do we as parents react when we feel disappointed in our children’s behavior, abilities, actions.  Do we meet it with anger or do we meet it with love?  Do we meet it with a sideways sort of plan to help lift the child up if this is needed, or do we lecture?  How can we be allies and the authority in our homes?

I would love to hear your experiences and also thoughts on this chapter if you are reading along…In the next post, we will skip ahead in this chapter to address the section entitled, “The “Special” Child Challenge”.

Many blessings,

Carrie