Sometimes, I don’t like my kid.
While I love my child every single moment of every single day with all of my heart, there are moments where I just don’t like her.
(Truth be told, it’s usually the instances where she is acting like me.)
Even though we love our children, we don’t have to like what they do or how they treat us. However, it is up to us as parents to squash power struggles while creating an environment of love, support and understanding.
Because, at the end of the day, our children at looking to us for guidance, whether it’s through the words we use or how we act.
So while you may feel that your days as a parent are spent battling wills, you can make small changes in your approach that will dramatically improve your relationship with your child – no matter their age.
The Parent-Child Relationship
On most of my posts, I have a nifty little questionnaire you can take to determine where your life is out of balance (you’ll find it at the end of this article).
When I check in with the results, it seems that a lot of moms struggle with their relationships with their children.
Your relationship with your child is a complex dynamic – you may feel that you’re the only person in their life that they treat like crap but this is because they feel the safest and most comfortable with you.
These personality clashes can also be attributed to how alike, or dissimilar, you and your child are. For instance, nothing drives me more nuts than when my daughter acts like me.
Problems arise, however, when you start to carry around disappointment toward your child and try to change them into someone they are not.
Remember that your child is not your friend. They’re going to end up doing or saying something that you would never accept in a friendship but that’s okay.
You’re the parent and this role is unique – you don’t have to like what your child does but you need to come to terms with who your child is and accept that.
Once you can bring yourself to this realization, dealing with battles and clashes becomes a less challenging journey.
How to Get Along With Your Kid
Be Mindful of Their Feelings
As unreasonable as your child may be during arguments, it’s important that you don’t dismiss their feelings and that you try to keep your own frustrations in check.
That being said, you are going to blow your top from time to time. It’s perfectly normal as long as it’s not your default reaction.
The foundation of a strong relationship is built on the way we communicate our emotions. Children aren’t born knowing how to do this, so it’s up to you to help them out by being patient and understanding as well as modeling how to regulate emotions.
My daughter pushes my buttons almost on a daily basis. Most of the time I can keep my cool but there are times when I just explode.
We can’t expect to be unfeeling robots and I do try to control my emotions when it comes to my daughter but she also has to understand what happens when you push people too much.
I always apologize for losing my nut but I also explain to her that I have limits and this is what happens when you push them too much.
When it comes to the way your child is feeling, never disregard their emotions or the cause of them. Kids will get upset over the most mundane things but telling them to stop feeling a certain way is unfair.
Having healthy communication and understanding when it comes to emotions is crucial in getting along with your kid.
Learn How to Listen
There is a vast difference between hearing someone and actually listening to them. When you actively listen, you are paying attention to what the other person is saying and not formulating a response or reaction to their words.
Listening is also a huge part of getting along with your child because you want to be their safe place where they can unload their issues and confusions.
So when your child does or says something you disagree with, take the time to listen and understand where your child is coming from. Yelling at them will only create resentment between the two of you and cause your child to not want to talk to you.
This takes a bit of empathy on your part because you need to broaden your perspective and try to see things from your kid’s point-of-view. This can be hard because kids do so many things that make zero sense, but trying is more beneficial to your relationship with your child than, well, not trying.
All of this doesn’t mean that you should simply nod your head when your child is speaking to you. While you may not like what they are saying, listening to them gives you both an opportunity to discuss the matter and try to come up with a solution together.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is listen and then walk away for a little bit. If you can’t understand your child’s perspective as they explain it, take some time to digest what they are saying.
As your child grows, they are going to want to become more independent and do more things on their own – including making terrible life decisions.
While you may feel compelled to continue to shelter them from life’s misfortunes, keeping a tight grip will only create an environment of resentment.
Creating a good parent-child relationship means letting your child make mistakes and learn from them by providing a safe space where failure is normalized.
That’s not to say that you should just let your kid run rampant making horrible choices. You should offer your opinion and an explanation of why but you can’t force your child to accept your suggested decisions.
The more you plead your case and let your child make their own choices, the more they will come to value your opinion so that, when they end up faced with potentially hazardous decisions, they will trust what you have to say.
Spend Quality Time Together
Get up, get to school, housework, supper, homework, bed – we focus so hard on taking care of our children that sometimes we forget to actually spend time with them.
This is especially true once your child gets older and starts to have a life of their own. Suddenly, they are off with friends or doing activities and you never see them.
While this may seem like a magical time in your life where finally you can have some time to yourself, it’s important to maintain a connection with your child no matter their age.
You don’t want your interactions with your child to be limited to arguments, conflict and discipline. This is why it’s important to spend quality time with them.
That means putting down your phone and actually paying attention to them. You can talk about their struggles or simply watch a movie together – it doesn’t always have to be deep and emotional moments.
If you have to, schedule a family night or go shopping once a month. Make sure it’s something that your child enjoys so that your time together doesn’t feel forced.
Making an effort to spend time with your child will show them how important they are in your life.
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
You are not going to get along with your kid every moment of every day. A strong parent-child relationship is defined by the overall tone of that relationship.
You can’t avoid conflict and yelling and “I hate you’s” – but you can create a strong foundation for a loving relationship that will transcend all of that necessary ugliness in the end.
Remember that your children are growing and developing and learning about the world one step at a time. It’s your job to be supportive and guide them through tough times.
Now it’s your turn – What tips do you have for getting along with your children? Share them in the comments below!