To the exhausted parent: You’re not doing it wrong.

You're tired. You've tried everything. And now, you think it's your fault - you must be doing something wrong. Here's some encouragement for you, exhausted parent! Learn 3 reasons why your kids are still acting out!

You close the door as hot tears stream down your face.

Slumping to the floor, head in your hands, the scene replays in your mind.

The power struggle. The yelling. The numerous attempts to interrupt the chaos with empathy and reasoning.

Nothing worked.

Where did things go wrong? What are you missing?

Why is parenting so hard?

You’re exhausted.

It’s times like this that you start googling answers or scrolling your newsfeed for a new technique or strategy.

In your desperation, you turn against yourself: If parenting is this hard, you must be doing something wrong.

Not necessarily.

Take a deep breath.

You’re not doing it wrong.

If you’ve committed to positive parenting, you may find that this is a slower path to results. Punishment and threats seem  to work better because you can see immediate results. The child stops what they are doing out of fear.

Sticking with your kids through big feelings and challenging interactions by offering support rather than punishment, encourages your child to learn from the situation. It can seem slow because you’re shaping and building your child’s strong, problem-solving brain!

But, you still may feel like it’s not working when you’re in the thick of (yet another) meltdown.

Before you throw in the towel, keep these things in mind:

  • Your child is still learning:  I know you think your child should “know better by now,” unfortunately, learning new skills takes time.  Thankfully, each time you connect with your child and help them work toward a solution they have an opportunity to practice. Which means, with repetition, your child will be able to do these things with less help from you.
  • Your child is imperfect:  Your child has bad days too. Sometimes they will be able to handle a disappointment with ease, and other days it will be the end of the world. Even if they mastered a skill yesterday, they may not be able to come up with the same solution today. On these difficult days, your child may just need a little extra grace to get back on track.
  • Your child needs more support:  If you have a sense that something’s missing, you’re probably right. Kids do well if they have the right skills. Some kids need a little more help to manage difficult situations successfully. This might mean they need a new strategy to try, a different phrase to express their concerns, or help from a mental health professional.

Instead of jumping online to find the magic bullet parenting tip you’ve somehow overlooked, take a deep breath.

What does your child need right now?

Another chance to practice a skill? Some grace? A new strategy?

And how about you? What do you need in this moment?

A friend who understands? A cup of coffee? A hug?

Let’s meet those needs first.

Parenting is hard, but you’re in good company.

Nicole Schwarz (couch 3)

Welcome! I'm Nicole Schwarz.

I'm a Parent Coach, Licensed Therapist and Author of It Starts with You. I help stressed, overwhelmed, confused parents find calm, confidence and connection with their kids. No one is expecting perfection here. But, if you’re willing to examine your parenting, find encouragement, or try something new, this is the place for you.

Comments have been turned off to retain the privacy of all families. If you have a question or comment on the topic, you're always welcome to contact me.