ôô

5 Ways to Practice Acceptance with Your Child

In today’s chaotic world of overscheduling alongside the pressure they experience both in and out of the classroom, kids yearn to know they are  appreciated and accepted. Mighty Mommy shares five ways you can tune in to your child and practice total acceptance no matter how busy life gets.

By
Cheryl Butler
9-minute read
Episode #510

2. Practice Self-Care

If you’re wondering how nurturing yourself has anything to do with practicing acceptance with your child—in a nutshell, everything!

In order to be accepting of someone else, first, you need to be able to love and accept yourself—including your own shortcomings, flaws, and weaknesses. When we work on our own stuff, we are better able to embrace our loved ones deficits and can help arm them with their own tools to love themselves.

If you’re not already making time to care for your own needs, now is the perfect time to start. Begin carving out regular blocks of time to sit quietly with your own thoughts and get away from the hectic schedule that normally surrounds you.

Do you have a hobby that you’ve been neglecting? What type of physical activity motivates you? Is reading your passion? Maybe there’s an exercise group you’ve been wanting to join, but figured you just can’t spare the time? Wrong! You can and you must find time in your busy schedule to take care of your own needs. Even if it’s only a couple of hours a week to start, at least you’re beginning to build an important new habit of putting yourself first once in a while.

Once that happens, you’ll find how much you depend on having these blocks of time for just recharging your batteries, and hopefully, you’ll get possessive of them so you can add more of them into the mix on a regular basis.

When you’re meeting your own personal needs, you’ll have the patience and tolerance needed to accept your children for who they are, even when they aren’t performing exactly as you’d like. See also: 5 Easy Ways to Take Care of Yourself as a New Mom

3. Acknowledge Where They're Coming From

When talking about being accepting of another person, Rick Hansen, Ph.D articulates the process quite succinctly in Psychology Today’s article, Accept Them as They Are. He explains that it’s normal to want to change behaviors or quirks that we find annoying in others, but that it’s healthy to come to peace with who they are (or are not) and move forward.

“Accepting people does not itself mean agreeing with them, approving of them, waiving your own rights, or downplaying their impact upon you. You can still take appropriate actions to protect or support yourself or others. Or you can simply let people be. Either way, you accept the reality of the other person. You may not like it, you may not prefer it, you may feel sad or angry about it, but at a deeper level, you are at peace with it. That alone is a blessing. And sometimes, your shift to acceptance can help things get better,” states Hansen.

When you can get yourself into the mindset that Dr. Hansen discusses—coming to peace with someone for the individual person that they are at that very time, it’s much easier to be accepting. With our kids, they grow and change so quickly that perhaps the behavior or choice they're currently making is only temporary.

It’s often easier to empathize and be more accepting when you get to the root of the situation.

It’s important to try and acknowledge where they're coming from right now in their life.

If they aren't the A-student you had hoped they would be, is there something happening at school that is causing them to struggle? Rather than assuming that they are being lazy and not getting their work done, do some investigating and see if they're having a difficult time understanding the subject, or if there is a personality clash with the teacher or a bullying situation going on that you don’t know about. It’s often easier to empathize and be more accepting when you get to the root of the situation.

With younger kids, you might have a child that is constantly pushing your buttons and can simply annoy you when they open their mouth to talk. How do you show love and acceptance in this situation without wanting to wring their cute little neck all the time? In my episode How to Make Sure Your Kids Don’t Push Your Buttons, I advise to learn why your kids like to make you upset. The bottom line is that it’s completely natural for kids to test the waters and try to aggravate a parent, because it gives them a sense of control. They may even secretly enjoy seeing you lose it and get upset. This is all a habit, and unfortunately one that we as parents create.

You’re more apt to be understanding and accepting of your child when you stop and evaluate what’s causing their behavior. When you change how you react (or don’t react!) to their ploys, you’ll nip this behavior in the bud and can start accepting their sweeter side.

Pages

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.