Parenting when you don’t particularly like your kids

I love my boys, I do, but there are days when I don’t particularly like them too much. That is terrible to say, even worse to write it out and admit to others. Parenting is hard and repetitive and most of the day is spent trying to bring a consistent patient response to irrational terrorists. Days like today when the crying and tantrums start even before I have made it out of bed are even harder. We have fights over breakfast, and brothers sitting too close together. They cry when Beautiful leaves for work and fight over anything and everything. I know the score, that this is going to be a challenging day but it is made even more challenging by the fact that I don’t really like the boys today. I am annoyed by the 4 year old and his fake laughing, and the whining shriek the 3 year old uses to communicate everything is like nails on a chalkboard.

This is not often the case, my feelings about them I mean, not their behavior. Days like this I try to dig deep, try to bring back those high school basketball practices when I felt like I would collapse but still went on. I try to distract and steer them into another direction. I try to have the empathy for a little boy who is still learning to figure out the powerful emotions inside of him. But none of it works and I need to just check out for a while. So I lay on the couch tuning out the chorus of cries and screams. I snap and send kids to timeout because I am tired of hearing them. I yell and intimidate instead teach and discipline. I vacillate between feelings of validation and shame and I know that this one day will not define them or me. I know that we will get through this because though I may not like them right now, I love them fiercely. I don’t get to pick the days I parent them and I’m not always going to be enamored with my kids. Being self aware enough to know I’m not at my best helps me work towards a more measured response.

  9 comments for “Parenting when you don’t particularly like your kids

  1. 03/17/2011 at 12:01 pm

    You are, in my opinion, in the hardest phase of parenting. When my kids were this age I honestly felt like a scene from “Band of Brothers.” Where everyone is huddling together in foxholes and the enemy is raining down shells and mortar on them. Only the enemy was my kids and the people in the foxhole were my husband and myself. I *promise* you it gets better. I am so enjoying my kids ages right now (13 and 15). My mom always told me it would get better and I never believed her. She was right. Survive as best you can this time and look forward to a much easier road . . . eventually.
    Cheri C´s last blog post ..Shutting ‘er Down

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  2. 03/17/2011 at 8:39 pm

    We all have those days when we don’t particularly like our kids. We all have those times when dream for a moment of leaving them behind at the store. We would never do it, but it is normal to dream. We have to realize that our kids don’t always like us either. It’s normal and we are not bad parents for feeling that way from time to time.
    Chris @DaddysDown´s last blog post ..Beware! Your donations may not be going to Japan

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  3. alpha_sahd
    03/17/2011 at 8:46 pm

    Go to your room……yeah, I’ve said that alot this week.

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  4. Kendra
    03/17/2011 at 9:24 pm

    Excellent post James! I appreciate the honest look at the difficult moments of parenting.

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  5. 03/17/2011 at 9:38 pm

    Needed to read this today. Thanks.
    Mitchell´s last blog post ..The Parenting Tutorial and an Uncertain Future

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  6. the charge's mom
    03/18/2011 at 10:35 am

    anybody who says that they like their kids all the time, has to be lying. its just not possible. being with kids all day, especially young kids, requires a super-human amount of patience and anyone who is doing that deserves a lot of grace.

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  7. 03/18/2011 at 1:58 pm

    I love your honest writing James. Well said.

    I will have to say, he doesn’t have a sib to fight with, but I feel grateful that I actually do like Lukas most of the time. I wonder what it will be like with another.

    Have a great weekend.
    Seattledad´s last blog post ..Mr Hide

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  8. 04/04/2011 at 12:05 am

    wow, you tell it like it is – can’t tell you how many times I’ve had those same thoughts with my 2 daughters. It kills me when one minute we can be the happiest family alive and the next minute they’re laying into each other – that’s kids – they’re now 9 and 12 and we’re still waiting for them to be the bestest friends we always hoped they’d be. Maybe it’s still coming…

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  9. John DeNicola
    01/07/2013 at 9:13 pm

    As all have said. There are days you just want to “kill-em” , and the rest of the time you just don’t want to let them go! I think we alll go through that… just as long as you don’t lose your head about it and remember that no one is a perfect parent! There will be various challenges as they get older, esp. when they start seeking some “independence” when they hit their mid-late teens, but it’s worth it, and it does inevitably gets better.
    Also… do not be concerned about becoming intimidating to them. That has to happen once in a while. always keep in mind tht You are the parent, they are the children. Children are not always rational nor do they yet have a true grip on rationality, reason, ethics, etc; therefore they may need some level of intimidation to realize that you are the parent, and that they must respect YOU. Once that “guard” is down, you may never get that back.
    … and yes, it is nice to know other parents are not parents. after all, misery loves company! Hang in there!

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