When the Going Gets Tough, Part 1

This three-part post addresses parents of difficult children, but can be generalized to apply to anyone hoping to influence a person who is morally ambivalent.

When a child’s alarming behavior threatens to establish itself as permanent traits through repetition, someone who cares is desperately needed to intervene on behalf of the child’s character and future. Tragically, some parents are so minimally invested in their kids or their standards are so low for them, that they are nonchalant about their own child’s highly concerning character and behaviors.

Those parents who do intervene are often criticized by those who have no comprehension of the child’s willfulness. Some kids are determined to sabotage their own lives and the peace of their family. Their parents’ words might be anything but sweet, but appropriate and necessary in a situation worthy of disapproval.

To an outsider who gets only a snapshot of a committed parent and child in a struggle like this, it can be misinterpreted as the parent being hyper-critical or harsh. A longer look would reveal this is a worn but committed parent, dealing with a child determined to defy all that will benefit his life.

It depletes a parent emotionally and physically to uphold high hopes and expectations for their child. The temptation to take the path of least resistance is always present, offering gain of instant relief from the conflict. But also present is the knowledge that it will come at the price of lost long-term peace and diminished character development.

Our children’s potentials are before us, waiting to see if we will believe in them or give up on them. No matter how tired or frustrated parents become, a child’s life is significantly influenced by our expectations. Their full potential is theirs to apprehend, not ours to limit by mirroring to them a belief that mediocrity is the pinnacle of their potential.

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3 thoughts on “When the Going Gets Tough, Part 1

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am, right now, dealing with 7 boys who are “determined to defy all that will benefit their lives” and readily pick up those things that will harm and destroy their lives. I am not their parent…I am their teacher. When typical teaching experiences do not yield observable changes…I attempt the less than typical. Even then, I wonder if these boys will ever grab ahold of that standard and extend their reach to go higher. You must believe you can. Their environments place unseen limits on them, yet they are like strangleholds keeping them back from all that goodness can provide them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cindigale says:

      When you’re “in it”, trudging along day by day, it’s difficult to see if you are making any gains. But you have to trust that you are. At the very least you have done your best and can live without that regret. But … I think you do push/ carry/ cajole/ move them forward, much like a barge does: slowly, sometimes imperceptibly, but actually in a BIG way; ultimately causing sizable movement from “what was” to “what is”. You’re the one overcoming their inertia, that’s the biggest job. Because of you, they have momentum to reach “what can be”. Carry on, Awesome Teacher!

      Liked by 1 person

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