Learning that My Happiness Should Not Be Based on My Child’s Good Behavior

Learning that My Happiness Should Not Be Based on My Child’s Good Behavior - Faithtoraisenate.com - CharleneBullard.com - Purposedrivencharlene.com
2 min read

For years, Nate’s behavior problems controlled my life. In the morning, he would hit me while getting dressed for school. Then, as we walked to the school bus, he would have a tantrum, refusing to get on. At school, he would lash out, hitting the staff. Then there were the times when Nate would have a meltdown in the supermarket.  Also, during our Saturday morning swim, he would have a fit when it was time to leave the pool. Each behavior episode, left me angry and unhappy for days, sometimes weeks.

My happiness was contingent upon Nate’s behavior. If he was having a great day, without any incidences, then I was having a good day too. However, if he hit me, or the school staff, I would become angry. Nate’s behavior affected my entire attitude, mood, and set the tone for my life.

Not long ago, I received a report about Nate having a meltdown at his residential facility. After discussing it with the staff, and developing strategies to help him, I left feeling angry and unhappy. There was a gloomy, dark cloud hanging over my head.

As I drove home, a nagging feeling bothered me, as I wondered what was wrong. It was then that I noticed that for much of Nate’s life, I had allowed my child’s behavior to dictate my happiness.  This was wrong. I could not base my happiness on my child’s behavior. Instead, I have to forgive Nate, offer him grace, and move forward.

I will admit, sometimes it is difficult to move ahead, especially when your child has pulled your hair, grabbed you, scratched you, hit you, and even spit on you.  Yes! It is hard.  However, I have to do my best, to no longer let my son’s behavior decide my level of happiness.  Instead, I have to make a choice. I will be happy, no matter if Nate has good behavior or not.

Again, I will be happy!

Faithtoraisenate.com - CharleneBullard.com - Purposedrivencharlene.com

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  1. 1
    Elihu

    I dealt with this with my oldest daughter for years. I would fall apart, berate myself, agonize over what I might have done wrong. Now that I know she has a behavioral disorder, I’ve been able to emotionally separate myself (mostly) from her behavior. The best thing we ever did was get connected with a behavioral therapist who has helped her learn coping techniques.

    Hang in there, sister. It’s no easy task, but with the Lord’s help you’ll be an overcomer!

  2. 3
    Lureta

    It is challenging I’m sure especially because you have a special needs child. But I believe Charlene that God has gifted Nate to you because He knows with His help you can do this. I admire you though we have never met. You inspire me Charlene. Blessings dear sister.

  3. 6
    Elizabeth

    I got caught up in my daughter’s romantic dramas for years. I sure understand that thinking you can’t be happy if they are falling apart. It’s tough to separate, but so very worthwhile.

  4. 8
    gilian

    I appreciate your openness in sharing your struggles. I had the same experience at one point with my son. I had to constantly ask God for wisdom on how to deal with him. I grew as a person through that experience. 🙂

    • 9
      Charlene

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Yes, I agree with asking God for wisdom. It was the only way, I got through and still get through those difficult moments. 😊

  5. 12
    Elizabeth O

    I hear you and it’s never easy to get to that place of realization that we are responsible for our own joy. We parent the best we know how and the rest we bless and give to the Creator.
    It is not easy parenting any child and when you add the additional layer of need, it can be incredibly hard. Holding you up in love and prayer.
    I’ve been reading a book that might give you courage and understanding it’s called: Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon. It’s a big book but worth a read.

    • 13
      Charlene

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your post. I have never heard of that book, but I will look for it. Sound interesting. You are right, we do parent the best way we know how and the rest is indeed for God to do the rest. Thank you for that, as well as the prayer. 🙂

  6. 16
    tpdrenoske

    You are a very loving parent, Charlene. Have you found ways to discipline Nate when he loses control and hurts you and others, letting him know that you love him but do not approve of his behavior and want him to become more loving himself? I’ve learned from my own experiences with my children that some of the closest times with them have been after they were disciplined for disobedience. It’s as if they wanted to see whether I loved them enough to stop them from doing the things they knew were wrong, or whether I didn’t care enough to do anything about it. I will be praying for you and Nate.

  7. 17
    K E Garland

    This is absolutely true, not only for you and Nate, but for all of us. I’ve found myself in the same predicament with other people. I’ve since decided (like you) not to let others determine my mood. That’s too much power 😉

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