29 Sep Happiness and positive parenting – are there times you feel you don’t even like your chlid?
Dear Dr. Happy
I don_ã_t disagree with your recommendations for positive parenting _ã_ and I do try, believe me _ã_ but sometimes, I look at my son and think: _ãÄForget about love, I don_ã_t know if I even like you very much._ã_ This is causing me much concern and heartache, because I really, really want to be a good mum and have all those feelings of overwhelming, unconditional love that other mums talk about, but I don_ã_t. What_ã_s wrong with me? And what do I do on those days when I don_ã_t actually feel as though I like my child? Please help! Troubled Parent
Dear Troubled Parent,
Let me begin by noting that we all have these days! Many parents are reluctant to admit it and so in many instances this issue remains hidden from the conversations of polite society, but I can tell you that in both my personal and professional experience this is a very common concern.
So I hope that reassures you, at least a little, that you_ã_re not some horrible parent with psychopathic tendencies or a terrible unloving parent!
One of the core constructs within positive psychology is the notion of acceptance; that is, just as it_ã_s important to change what we can change, and to make things better where we are able to improve, it_ã_s also just as important to accept what we can_ã_t change and to know when to stop banging our heads against a brick wall. One of the secrets to happiness is being wise enough to know the difference.
Along similar lines, we shouldn_ã_t necessarily expect to be perfect or happy all the time or to love our partners and children unconditionally and unwaveringly every minute of every day. This would be nice, but it_ã_s also patently unrealistic and absurd.
We all have our ups and downs; we all have our good and bad days; and we all have times when our love, or even our liking of family and friends wavers from time to time.
In positive psychology, where facing up to the cold hard realities is an integral part of what we recommend, acceptance of the realities of being a human being (and especially of being a mother or a father), including all of the good and all of the bad, is vitally important. Without this, we_ã_ll constantly be frustrated and disappointed with ourselves (and with others).
So, what does all this mean and how can you take something constructive away?
To read more, including some positive tips for happiness even during difficult times – click here