The Dark Side

by Maxine Fisher on June 27, 2013 · 0 comments

As parents, I believe it is safe to say that we feel fine talking about everything that is going well in our families and in the lives of our children. It is acceptable to describe Johnny scoring a goal in hockey, Tara getting a 4 (A) on her test, and how well the children get along at home. We are also allowed to discuss the great loving feelings we experience with our children.

The other day, I was chatting with a parent on the school playground. The stress in her life was way up as she recently moved to a new home and their family car broke down, requiring expensive repairs. She told me about how one of her children some times talks back and is completely disrespectful to her. So far so good, still a conversation that is permissible, right? Then she went over the line, she blurted out “I don’t always like my children! That is the dark side I am not supposed to say that…sorry”.

I thanked her for saying just that. In my role as a counsellor, many parents struggle with feelings of anger and hurt around behaviors of their children. Often I hear how great an effort parents make for their kids, and then they are spoken to in a rude manner or even called mean names. We parents often take this personally, after all it is our child who knows us better than anyone treating us in a way that we never expected.

What to do? I suggest acknowledging the hurt feelings, and talking, yes talking to other parents we trust. Chances are they also experience moments like this and will be grateful for the opportunity to know that they are not alone. Taking time out, not as a consequence for our children but as a reward for ourselves as parents helps. There are many “official” behavior management techniques to address children and their behaviors, but in addition I believe one of the most important coping and calming strategies is sharing with others and allowing ourselves to feel what we feel. As we become aware of what we feel, and cope in healthy ways through sharing with friends, we become stronger and more able to assist our children in their struggles.

Maxine Fisher RCC

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