Loving Your Child Through It: How to Support Your Child Through Behavioral Issues
When children and families go through difficult times, the best thing a parent can do is continue to support and love the child through the changes. Change can mean anything. Change can occur due to an illness, happiness, trauma, unresolved issues, or other health concerns. When change is happy, loving your child through it is easy. Positive changes make it easy for the parent to praise the child and the child can enjoy the pride of a job well done.
Negative changes can grow into a point of pain for both you and your child, leading to fighting, distressing behaviors, and negative feelings between both parties. Your child will likely feel lonely, angry, and justified in their behavior, even if it’s dangerous. Change can also be stopping dangerous or particularly scary behaviors the child is displaying. Even when the change is negative, the best thing you can do is love your child through it. Explain to your child that although there are consequences to negative or dangerous behaviors, you’ll love them anyway, and you’ll figure it out together.
You’re Learning Together With Your Child
It can be difficult as a parent to deal with the extreme or negative behaviors your child displays. You may come to find that you need help managing your child’s behaviors. Help may come from another family member, a doctor, a therapist, or in extreme cases, law enforcement. Each child is unique, and some children and parents may be able to work things out without the help of others. However, this isn’t possible for every family, and there is no shame in seeking help.
Learning as you work through behavior or mental health issues with your child can be exhausting. Your teen may not know how to express their feelings effectively, and they may feel resentment because you’re not understanding. Communicating with your teen that you are learning and want to understand them can make all the difference. Even if they seem angry or upset with your involvement, make sure they know that you’re both learning how to communicate effectively to steer away from conflict. If your teen is in any kind of therapy, learn the methods used and implement them in your home. Learning such methods will stand as a model, showing your teen that there is an effort on your part and that those methods are effective. Tell your teen you’re learning together and that you’ll love them through it.
Words and Phrases to Help Love Them Through It
You may have a lot of special ways to help your child understand that you love them. You might share an inside joke, a favorite food or item, or a comforting act or activity. Remind your child of some good times. You can use these words and phrases to help remind them that you’ll love them through it:
- I know you’re upset; I am too, but I love you, so let’s work this out when we’re both calm.
- How can I love you better?
- I’m here to listen, not to judge. I’ll always love you through it.
- I can’t make you do anything, but I can help guide you through some good options and help you make the right decision.
- I’m sorry (I’m sorry can go a long way for children who have suffered trauma, or if the parent was wrong due to miscommunication or any other reason).
- I can see you need space; how about we revisit this in a few minutes (or days)?
- I know this is hard, so I’m learning with you, and I’m going to love you through it.
Things to Try and Things to Avoid
- Give your child a safe space to calm down.
- Methods of mindfulness and meditation with the child.
- Validating their feelings.
- Respecting their personal space, unless you have the type of bond with your child where a hug is healing.
- Practicing deep breathing.
- Yelling over a screaming child just to be heard.
- Mimicking childish behaviors like silent treatment, slamming doors, etc.
- Making demands.
- Bringing up past pain points, especially ones that are irrelevant to the current pain point.
- Using judgment or comparison to create hurt feelings.
When your child acts out because of trauma, mental illness, or behavioral issues, it can become hard to love them through it. Though you love your child unconditionally, parents need to remind their children of this and seek help when it’s needed. Once the parent gets the support they need for themselves and their child; the healing process can begin.
Teens and parents who are struggling through change can carry the weight of conflict, trauma, and mental health issues that are hard to address. Teens are still learning every day and may challenge their parents on any number of things. Sometimes those challenges become too great for parents to tackle alone. If you’re a parent who needs help with your teen girl, call Havenwood Academy. Here at Havenwood Academy, we understand that behaviors, trauma, and mental health crises are difficult to deal with alone. Our professional and experienced staff can help your teen through therapy, activities, and programs to help teens develop safer habits. We’ll cater help and treatment to the needs of your child, addressing mental health, trauma, and any other co-occurring disorders. As you go through changes with your teen, remember to tell them that no matter how you resolve issues, you’re going to love them through it. Call us today at (435) 586-2500.
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