Parenting children leaves little to no room for selfishness or neglect. I don’t mean neglecting THINGS — a messy house is just a thing — I’m talking about neglecting kids. Children at every age need love; they also need us to tackle attitude and behavioral issues.
Parenting difficult and oppositional children is especially demanding. Those who have done it know it is brutal. They can be a Parent Extraordinaire, but if their child applies his strong will to foolishness, they will often be measured not by their herculean parenting efforts but by the behavior of their child. The best of parents can be deemed a “bad parent”. It’s one of those horrible injustices inflicted on undeserving parents, because … well, people can be stupid.
Those who have been mistreated this way … Ignore the critics. Carry on. Your child’s excellent future depends on it.
Parents of obstinate, rebellious, or insolent children need support and encouragement from their friends, family, community, and teachers to not give up on their child. They need to hear others want the best for their difficult child.
For parents whose child has chosen terribly despite your commendable efforts, you have my empathy, as well as my encouragement to not take the easy route by giving up on your child. Be righteous yourself, but stay the course, expecting integrity, excellent character, and respectful behavior from your child. The more extreme your child’s choices, the more intense your battle. The more intense your battle, the more marvelous you and your child’s victory.
I know the prolonged, frustrating effort is extremely hard and others may not understand or help. People may even heap unfair and hurtful judgment on you, based on what they see or hear about your child’s behavior. It’s painful. It’s adding insult to injury. It’s unjust. All of it is. You didn’t raise your child to be doing what he or she is doing. And you’re exhausted. You don’t need public disapproval on top of all you’re dealing with at home. Rest and recover when you need to, but please, please, please don’t give up on your child.