We use the word “crazy” as a generic blanket for the massive spectrum of emotions our kids put us through. Sure, we may feel crazy, and we do things that childless couples would not do. (For example,we drive all night just to get the baby to sleep or yell like a drunken cheerleader at our kids’ soccer games.) But this “crazy” does not properly describe the other places our kids drive us—and yes, the kids are in the driver’s seat.
Drive You to Anger and Frustration
Kids are frustrating because they’re kids. It isn’t until they’re old enough to intentionally break the rules that you really get frustrated. Nothing is as exciting as dragging a screaming and kicking four-year-old around the super-market. And as they grow older, it either gets worse or better. Some parents have children who are naturally amiable, but your daughter won’t do her chores and ignores your requests. It may be genetics. Who knows?
Back-talk, defying the rules, and sneaking cookies out of the cookie jar—these are just a few of the things that you’ve had to handle recently. You get frustrated, and you get angry! But at the end of the day, your kid is still pretty awesome. And most of the time, she will follow the rules, and she still loves you.
Drive You to Desperation
The teenage years is the time that we fear the most. At this age, our children think they know everything. They need no advice. When they are in trouble, they do not confide in us. The advice of their peers gives has more relevance. While we hope they keep their heads steady, many adolescents engage in dangerous behavior to impress their peers.
We’re driven to desperation when behavior becomes out-of-control. Desperation is when your daughter leaves in the middle of the night. She’ll go to parties, drink, lose her virginity. You confront her; you try to pull her away from the bad influences. But she won’t listen. She is disrespectful to both you and your spouse. She is nothing but confrontation and defiance. That’s when you turn around and wonder, “How did it happen?” You don’t know where to turn.
Drive you to Sorrow
Our kids drive us to sorrow unintentionally. We experience sorrow for our children when they are under any kind of pain: illness, mental distress, deteriorating school-life. But it is when your kids are in places where you cannot reach them, when you experience the deepest sorrow.
Desperation has turned to complete despair. Consequences are quickly entangling your child’s life. She has been arrested while drunk, high off drugs, or otherwise. She’s run away from home to live with a questionable boyfriend (and dragged back against her will). She’s more or less disowned you as a parent. But you’re not willing to give up on her.
Drive you to Joy
After being everywhere else on the map, your child can drive you back to joy. Even a wayward child can turn around and make you proud. We have beautiful proud moments with our children from the first time they roll over and onward. Each time they bring something home from school—art projects, 100% math tests—another piece of parental pride fills our hearts.
And, even during the worst days, you remember all the things your wayward daughter accomplished. You know that she can be better, and you know that she can make you proud once more.
It’s All Worth It
Soon she’s graduating from high school, and she’s already been accepted to several colleges. She’s doing so well, you think your heart is about to burst with pride. From then on out—she will continue to make you proud. This is your best reward as a parent. And you know that all the other places that she drove you was completely worth it.
Kris Lim is a mother, who knows that dealing with children can sometimes drive you crazy. For this reason, she blogs about how to deal with kids and teenagers to help parents learn how to understand them.