The Difficult Child

You know the one.  That kid who just won’t listen to you, no matter what you say.  The girl who screams louder than most adults can when you tell her it isn’t snack time yet.  That boy who keeps hitting other kids with the toy cars no matter how many times you put him in time out.

Maybe it’s your own kid.  Maybe you have to go pick up your little girl early from Sunday school every week because she punches every girl in her class.  Maybe you are being pressured to put you second grade son on ADHD meds, even though he’s not causing trouble.  He’s just being a kid.  Kids have energy.

You are not alone.  My sister and I were both extremely difficult kids, though in different ways.   The phrase my parents repeated over and over as we were growing up was:

Harness the power for good.

Your kid is powerful, strong willed, and maybe a little loud — that’s ok!  It may not be easy now, but those same traits that make them such difficult kids will make them into successful adults.

Take a look at any famous person around now or in history.  Do you think they got there by sitting in the back quietly, never wanting more than to just be? By taking lots of naps as children and speaking when spoken to, going with the flow of things and never asking why?  No!  They went after what they wanted or needed, and kept working until they got it.

All of that raw energy, genius, talent, creativity is encased in the tiny child most teachers fear! They are not broken or bad, regardless of what people try to tell you. No matter how many times they want to make you rip your hair out, it’s not a problem to fix, but a double-edged sword you must teach them how to wield.

It’s hard in the meantime, and I get that, but your kid has power.  That difficult child has gifts, even if they haven’t discovered them yet.  So think, if your kid – yes, YOUR KID – came up to you and asked if you would help them raise money for charity, or build a fort, or create something new, would you help them?  Would you encourage them, and see what could be done?  Or would you just look them in the eye and say it couldn’t happen?

Next time that difficult child comes up with a crazy idea, try not to squash it. Try to talk it through with them, see what they’re thinking, and where they want to go. Give them the chance to learn, grow, create, and watch: God might be bringing about miracles through that “difficult child.”


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