Sarah Bragg, a content director at Orange who has worked in student ministry for more than 15 years, shares her honest, heartfelt experience in parenting a strong-willed child in today’s episode.
- Notice the good in your child, think of three things you’re grateful for in them, and recall the good memories you have with them to help make the phase a bit easier to handle.
- Learn how to read your child and understand the ways your child perceives love from you and do them.
- Remember who you are throughout the difficult journey of parenthood. Make self-care a priority and take time to recharge so you can be a better parent.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
There aren’t many words that fully describe what it’s like parenting a strong-willed child.
Difficult? Of course.
Isolating? Surprisingly so.
As a parent of a child who often argues every decision and pushes your every button, you’ve likely felt overwhelmed by the day-to-day tasks that lay ahead each day. How do you show love to a child who makes your life so hard? How do you parent with wisdom and grace when all you want to do is retreat to a silent place with your drink of choice in your hand?
Sarah Bragg knows all too well the struggle of parenting a child with a difficult personality. The mother of two daughters, nine and seven, remembers being the perfect parent before her kids were born.
Once they arrived, that all changed. She was surprised by how unequipped she was to handle the difficulties of a child, her oldest, who seemed hard to parent from birth. She was angry at her daughter, angry at herself, and angry at all the parenting books that boasted easy solutions.
“Even when I gain little bits of wisdom about who she is, parenting is still hard,” Sarah says. “I fail way more than I succeed.”
The comparison trap in parenting
Sarah found herself, like many of us do, comparing her child and parenting styles to others. She started to gain her identity based on how her child would behave. She started thinking she wasn’t worthy, that she wasn’t enough, that she was a bad parent.
(Does this sound familiar?)
When these thoughts take hold, Sarah encourages parents to stop and notice the good in your child. She also suggests you remember the times when parenting wasn’t difficult, and remind yourself no matter how long this phase lasts, it truly is temporary.
How to keep your sanity
Remembering who you are, Sarah says, is the key to staying grounded when parenting is particularly difficult. Find the parts of you that make you special and do things that feed that side of you. Go on date nights, take quiet time to recharge, step away, even if for a little bit. Retrain the voice in your head to not respond to the guilt and shame of negative self-talk.
Most of all, be encouraged that you are not alone in parenting a strong-willed child — there are so many like you experiencing the same things you are now. Find them, seek comfort in them, and know you are just what your child needs.
QUOTES IN THIS EPISODE
VOICES IN THIS EPISODE
Kristen is the Executive Director of Messaging at Orange, Director of The Phase Project, and co-author of Playing For Keeps and It’s Just a Phase – So Don’t Miss It. She combines her degree in secondary education with a Master of Divinity and lives with her husband, Matt, and their three children, Sawyer, Hensley, and Raleigh, in Cumming, GA.
Carlos is an author, speaker, and content creator living in Nashville, TN with his wife Heather and 3 kids Sohaila, Seanna, and Losiah. He is addicted to social media, his wife’s enchiladas, and is determined to have his daughters teach him to land a backflip on the trampoline by the time he is 45.
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