Being a parent is a full-time job. Unfortunately, there are no courses or workshops that teach us how to excel at it. But there are role-models all around us that we can take inspiration from and learn about parenting. Whether it is appreciating a child that does not get a perfect score or teaching them responsibility by making them do chores, there are lessons everywhere.
Jessica and Jeremy Martin-Weber, who have 6 kids and plenty of parenting experience frequently share such tips on their personal blog ‘Beyond Moi’. Recently, Jessica penned a heartwarming post on how she dealt with her 9-year-old daughter’s sudden mood swing.
Our family with Portland Cherry Blossoms in spring by Your Street Photography by Meghann Street.
She believes that whenever a child is ‘acting out’ or ‘being difficult’, it is generally because they don’t know how to handle or explain the situation. Sometimes, they might also feel that it is unsafe to spell it out.
She recounted an incident when her daughter’s good mood vanished unexpectedly saying, “She was explosive and mean. Even her footsteps made everyone give her a wide berth. I asked her if she knew why she was grumpy, she snapped that she wasn’t grumpy.”
When our children “act out” or “misbehave” or are “being difficult” or are “moody” or “rebellious” or “defiant” or…
But what she did to handle the situation was pure gold.
“For the next 10 minutes, I told her any time I saw her that I love her and that she could tell me anything. Every time she told me she was fine. Which is definitely code for ‘I’m not fine but don’t know what I want to do with it yet.'”
“Her daddy suggested we no longer ask and just give her space. When we passed again, I stopped and asked her if she would like a hug. She paused without looking at me and we both waited in limbo while she processed her own needs. Almost reluctantly, she said ok and moved closer. I wrapped my arms around her, kissed her head, and told her I love her. Her arms tightened around me.”
And then the magic happened,
“We stood there quietly and then her words came in a rush. She was jealous that her sisters had friends they got to see and have play dates with and she doesn’t. That our friends coming today have kids that are friends of her sisters’ but not really her friends. That she was upset because her friends never seem to have time for her and can never get together.”
“In the moment as I held I her, I decided not to offer any solutions. I wasn’t sure I had any anyway. What I could do was care about how she was feeling, validate her pain, hold space for her to process, and support her in working through it. This wasn’t mine to fix, it was mine to support.”
Therefore it is safe to say that a child’s ‘rebellious’ or ‘defiant’ behaviour is actually them communicating that they are in pain. At times, the best thing that can help is a jaadu ki jhappi from their parents.