Have you ever heard a parent say that they just want to throw their kid? Perhaps it was across the room, or out the window, or from a moving car. While it is a highly inappropriate thing to think, even worse to say – of course, it is something which must never be done!
Though I hear my clients occasionally use these terms to describe their frustrations at home, any sensible parent would deny ever making such remarks. Truth be told, however, we all know that, at some point or another, we’ve said it, or at least thought it. Does a statement like that reflect a deficiency in a parents love for their child? Of course not; we’re just human. Every parent has a threshold of what they could reasonably handle before they get pushed to the limit and some days we just get pushed to hard. Arguably, many of the factors that may contribute to our short fuse are on us, not our children. If a child throws a tantrum just as we are about to beat the next level of Candy Crush, or during the last two minutes of an episode of House of Cards, it is the parent’s responsibility to be the adult, lovingly stop what they are doing, and make the child feel like a priority, rather than a nuisance.
Earlier this year, my wife and I had the pleasure of taking our four children to Universal Studios. Uplifted and pooped after a long day of lines and rides, we approached the taxi stand to return to our hotel. The next van in line pulled up and the driver stepped out to greet us. He turned to me and in front of my children said,
“Oh man, are these all your kids? I feel bad for you. They must make you nuts”.
Before responding, I glanced down to see the looks on the faces of my children. One was more crestfallen then the next. Yet, with a huge smile I replied to the driver and said,
“Yes, they are all my kids, and yes, sometimes they make me nuts, but please, don’t feel bad for me, because they are absolutely the most amazing part of my entire life and I love them more than anything in the world”!
After we were dropped off at the hotel, I debriefed with my children and I nervously asked what they thought of the driver’s comments. I was so proud when one of my children spoke up and said, “I just feel really bad for him, because he must not know what’s it like to have a great family”.
Although it can be a huge challenge, as parents, we should differentiate between those times our children are acting out and when they are acting like, well, children. Yes, we sometimes may feel so frustrated by their behavior, but remember, it is their job to be kids and they only get one shot at doing it. As parents, it is on us to remove the peripheral distractions from our radar whenever the children are around. For our attention and patience is already spread thin, and the last thing we want to do, is make our children to feel like a burden, when in fact, they are the single most important and beloved thing in our entire lives.
Let’s just make sure that they know it, too.
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