Most of us had kids because we thought parenting would be a delight — full of fun moments, laughter and meaningful connection. We like to believe we’re the type of parents our kids think are “cool.” We convince ourselves that we’re better at parenting than our parents were.
After all, the drama we had with our parents was because THEY didn’t handle things well, right? We justify our own rebellion as kids and we’re righteous in our confidence as parents.
And then, we wake up from the daydream.
Even if we successfully fulfill this ideal vision of parenting, foul moods and hurt feelings still happen at some point. No matter how "nice" we are, we’re going to put limits into place that our kids won't like. And then … watch out!
Your happy, united family suddenly shifts to you versus your tired and hungry pre-schooler, frustrated elementary kid who isn’t getting what she wants, or worse — a snarling, seething, moody, hate-mongering … TEENAGER!
Even if we remember what it was like when we were kids — the yelling, the sulking, the drama — somehow we become indignant when reality strikes and our own kids behave the same way.
Snarkiness from your kids is normal (and even necessary).
It seems strange, but a certain amount of snarky, mean, dramatic interactions is actually critical to the natural process of child development and healthy separation. Why?
Here's how they shouldn't be behaving though, according to Supernanny (Post continues after the video)...
Kids’ brains change constantly, which naturally leads to changes in their behaviour.
For little kids, disconnection between what they want to do and what they’re capable of doing, can lead to excessive frustration and upsets. Likewise, research on teens and risky behaviour identifies biological foundations that lead to behaviours that reject authority and disconnection with family.
Plus, being a kid is hard. Today’s fast moving stress-filled society puts pressure on everyone, but especially on our kids.
According to the Journal of Child and Family Studies, clinical anxiety rates among our youth are at a steady rise. As they get older, research shows that teens are more susceptible to this pressure than adults, in part because they desire acceptance and connection to the world outside of their family.
Stress puts the best of us in a bad mood. Add hormones to the mix and that leads to a hot mess.
Even though our kids (eventually) want and need their independence, it’s not always easy to manage it, at any age. Whether it’s a toddler going off to pre-school, a child going off to camp, or a teen preparing to fly the nest, these forays into independence feel stressful (for them, as well as you).
I vividly recall my stepson, now 30, taking this step. He was cooperative as a kid with relatively little drama. He loved being with us. After all, we were fun, we provided some stability, and it was "easy" to live at home.
When he was ready for independence, it was hard to break away. He actually started to create some drama in order to make it easier to leave home, a necessary step in helping him step into his independence.
So what should you do as a parent when your kids start to view you as "the enemy?" (Especially those of us who still really want to relish whatever connection we have with our kids?)