Tuesday, October 23, 2012

15 things I know about parenting a difficult child

  1. You can't always make it better, but you can always make it worse.
  2. Progress is measured relative to where you were, not relative to where others are.
  3. What people think only matters if it helps you become a better parent.
  4. Reinforcing the positive works way better than punishing the negative.
  5. When you're overwhelmed, clean the bathroom. 
  6. Beating yourself up over your failures is the same as letting someone else beat you up. 
  7. When your child pushes your buttons, you need to take a good look at your buttons.
  8. A daily snuggle helps, if you keep your mouth shut.
  9. Consistently working on one behavior is better than trying to make progress on several fronts at once.  
  10. Despair over what might happen in the future detracts from the need to parent in the present.
  11. Yes, you are working harder than other mothers.
  12. It's okay to say that awful thought, but not where your child will hear it.
  13. You must, must, must put on your own oxygen mask first.
  14. It's worse to be the disliked, flawed, not-understood, yelled-at child than to be the frustrated adult.
  15. We are stronger than we think.


  1. Julia, this should be printed up and distributed throughout the whole world. I've never seen better comments on this subject ANYWHERE. AA

  2. Thank you for getting to the heart of it!

  3. Thank you - your devotional at Guideposts and then this made me cry today. Both times it was needed. I've added this list to my evernote of inspiration, even though my 'child' now towers over me and is legally an adult.

  4. wow, so--especially the part about it being worse to be the child than the parent in such a situation--something that's all too easy to forget when you feel run over by a mack truck. Thanks for the reminder!