Strengthened through gentleness

Photography:KA DeKlerk Photography

By Lelia Schott

My four-year-old 

Lots of things easily anger her. When she is upset she blames me. She yells insults and flops down on the floor in a fit of tears. She rages and won’t allow me close.  
I use all the positive parenting tools I know and yet this scenario plays itself out almost daily.  
My other children are relatively easy to comfort and communicate with. I really enjoy their company and so I feel victorious parenting them, but this little girl makes me feel defeated.  

The worst part is, not even my greatest attempts to love and connect with her successfully stop her from pushing me away when she is angry.  

If I believed in labels, I would say she was an explosive child. 
If she was my firstborn; and not my fifth; I would probably seriously doubt positive parenting.   
I know she is loving and sensitive, just not to me. And I wonder why. Why?   
I have tried my heart out to attach and connect with her every day since birth. 
I know that it takes time to see the fruit of our labour. I know that positive parenting is about growing the whole child.

It’s about unconditionally loving and leading our children through the messy parts of life, even when we don’t feel loved in return.  

This morning I heard my baby boy crying and on approach, I heard my  
four-year-old saying, “You sad. Aaah baby boy I’m here. Sissie is here. Big Sissie is here. Come up to me. I got you.”  
My eyes filled with tears. You see, it’s a glimpse of her heart and a reflection of what I am trying to teach… empathy….and she has it. She has learned something good from all her raging and my attempts to help her.  
If you relate to any of this I want to encourage you to keep choosing love. Keep believing in yourself and your child. It will get better.  

I wrote the above post four years ago and discovered hundreds of parents resonated. It helped me to learn more about the attachment theory and emotional development.  

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