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Does parenting a strong-willed child ever get any better?

 

If you are IN IT right now, may this episode be your guiding light.  This is your pep talk, inspiration, and roadmap for the next few years.

Take this moment to zoom out, realize the worth of your work, and how much the compound interest of each decision in the short term reaps the rewards of a long-term payoff.

IN THIS EPISODE, I SHARE...

  • What's possible for you in just a few years as the parent of a strong-willed child (with this morning with mine as evidence!)
  • How working to stop generational cycles as a parent is similar to being born into generational poverty
  • The difference makers that lead to the BIG goals you have for your family

DON'T MISS:

  • Examples of clients' "last straws" that pushed them to overcome their fear of asking for help 
  • An invitation for you if you're the exception to the rule


// CONNECT WITH DANIELLE //
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FREE CONSULT: wholeheartedly.as.me/call

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TRANSCRIPT


Danielle Bettmann  00:05

Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood I mean? Have too much anxiety.... Not enough patience. Too much yelling... not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. This is survival mode. We're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you, you feel like you're screwing everything up, and you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is Failing Motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom your kids need. They need what you have. You are good enough and you're not alone. I hope you pop in earbuds, somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend. We're so glad you're here. 

Hey, it's Danielle. My strong-willed daughter made me coffee this morning. She asked for directions step-by-step, made hot cocoa for her and her sister, made us each breakfast of Nutella and pretzels and created a whole moment of matching where we all wore our robes, eye masks, and slippers since she just got one yesterday. And about an hour later, she couldn't get something to go together that she took apart. And she exclaimed she hated the whole day. I soaked up both extremes, taking pictures of and savoring this morning memory, as well as diffusing her frustration with lots of playfulness, totally understanding why she was off and helping her utilize coping strategies that I've taught her. We spent special time together snuggling in our robes on our cold deck. And don't worry, I did all these same things with her sister. 

But this moment this morning illustrated something so much bigger. I had planned on recording a completely different episode today. But I felt like there was too much to share from this example that I wanted to dive in while it was fresh in my mind. By the way, one of the upgrades to Failing Motherhood that you'll see in 2023 is the bi-weekly interviews just like 2022 with solo episodes in between. I have so much fun podcasting and there's so much more potential to share value with you, especially if you are parenting a strong-willed child. So I already have more topics laid out than weeks available, pulling teachings from some of my workshops, client portals and real life. So stay tuned and share with a friend. 

Okay, so back to this morning. I have an important message of hope for you. This is a drudgy time of year, the "new year new me" mentality has already worn off. I don't know about you, but I'm already not waking up as early as I told myself I would be and it just feels like it's a really hard time to form new habits and to create all of this momentum when all you want to do is snuggle in a ball, especially in the winter in the Midwest where I am, or even in California and they're having so much rain right now. It's just yucky. And Parenting is hard AF let alone parenting a child with such extremes. You rarely get a chance to take a breath, let alone feel encouraged. So I thought it was a perfect time to share a glimpse into your potential future and let you know it gets better. 

It gets so much better, friends. My daughter is eight now and we do not have the absolute meltdowns we used to have anymore. We took a trip yesterday, and we didn't even have to stop for three hours. I get to drink hot coffee. Most mornings. They fold their own laundry, feed the pets, clean their rooms once a week and get along surprisingly well. She still has high highs and low lows emotionally, but I am playful way more than I get angry. I know how she thinks. I rarely take things personally. And I don't ride the roller coaster with her. We get so many more good moments. One of my clients called the mom paychecks, heart swell moments, whatever you want to call them. I get so many more good moments from her now.

We spend our drives to school making silly voices for the car. We spend moments at bedtime playing stuffed animals talking about their days. I have a tradition now of making up personalities and voices for their luvvies. And it might be my most favorite memory so far, because I know now that they will remember it. And they may even do it with their own kids, if they choose to have them. I know how to pick my battles, and reset after an exceptionally bad day.  Don't worry, we still have those.

But I know how to regulate my mindset. I know what's actually off, and how important my own well being is. I know what meaning to make from it or not, and have the peace of mind that we are on the trajectory to get where we want to be. I'm not only able to shake off comments or criticisms about my parenting, but I often end up doubling down on it every time my husband and I check in about a fear of ours that creeps up or a new curveball that is thrown at us. I know that I am taking control of what I can control, making as educated decisions as I possibly can. And knowing I will never be perfect. I am going to make mistakes, and most definitely already have. And I have the grace and self compassion to forgive myself when I get impatient and saying act in ways I'm embarrassed of. And I apologize to my kids.

I work really hard not to beat myself up. Because I know the more compassion I have my own behavior, the more I can extend to my partner and my kids.  Quite possibly most important to me: My kids aren't scared of me. They aren't people pleasers, they are not afraid to speak their mind. They know what they want. They aren't desperate to get exceptional grades, making it mean something about who they are or their worth. And while we're mentioning it, our marriage is in an entirely different universe than it was years ago when we were in absolute survival mode. In fact, there was a time period I was convinced that we would never recover. It's still different than I was expecting. But we absolutely are a team, which means the absolute most to me.

And my self-concept has continually evolved and stretched way beyond anything I thought possible. Every day I realize how much work there still is to go. But it's also the work I might be most proud of.  So what I need you to hear is, it gets better. Although it is not simply with time. As we talked about in the mini-series, behavior doesn't go away. If the root of it isn't addressed, the messages behind that behavior aren't heard, and the relationships are strained past a point of no return.

The analogy I can't seem to shake is comparing parenting to finances. Since we're given pretty much the same heads-up in school about finances as we are about parenting.  It's pretty common knowledge that in saving for retirement, the sooner the better. Once you miss a certain window, you'll never be able to get the same return on investment because of the compound interest that builds up when given years and years to accumulate.

If you're in a really tight spot, financially, because generationally, you were not set up with generational wealth. In fact, possibly you were born into generational poverty. Does your financial situation simply get better with time? Most definitely not. Especially with a lack of self-awareness, strategy and support it will likely only deteriorate, especially when fighting an uphill battle against inflation, policy changes things like student loan debt and interest, the housing crisis and so many more external factors. Now imagine as a parent working to break generational cycles with a strong-willed child, you are working to create generational wealth against this uphill battle. 

Your finances will absolutely will not get better, let alone create wealth for the next generation and your family without a season of absolute discipline. The compound interest of every little investment pays off.  That might look different for each family. It could be reading books about finances, taking a class or learning from a financial advisor. It could be undergoing something like Dave Ramsey's envelope system or cutting expenses to meet a specific goal. It could be immersing yourself in an industry like real estate and making huge sacrifices in short term to make really big long-term investments. It typically requires learning about concepts that no one ever taught you. Enlisting, and finding information from an expert, often working one on one with someone who can make specific recommendations based on your situation and goals. It also typically requires discipline in the short term, a sacrifice of sorts in some way, by using a vigilant budgeting system, saving and investing money without spending it.  This is painful.

Many people can find information and learn more about budgeting and investing, but much fewer people make the lifestyle changes necessary to bring those big goals to life. And in most circumstances, the bigger the short-term sacrifice, the bigger the long-term payoff. So I'm sure you can see now how this easily translates to parenting.  To reach the things I mentioned earlier, the things that are true in my life today....for parenting a strong-willed child to get better...it requires discipline and pain in the short-term. The work you put in now directly correlates with the outcomes you reap in the rewards 10 to 20 years down the road, in your child's well being and self concept, and your mental health, sanity and quality of life. In your marriage or partnership. And the culture of your home and the joy you find day-to-day, and your kids eventually wanting to come home for Christmas.

BIG goals require taking action. That's the difference maker.  Many parents listening to this podcast are content to let things play out, throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping for the best reacting to each problem as it arises. putting out fires as they come. NEVER truly imagining what they really want things to be like. They may realize the need to find more information. But it'll end at that: information. There's a mismatch between their desires, and their willingness to go get it. They're fine with years of trial and error, repeating themselves over and over and over with nothing really changing. But telling themselves tomorrow will be different. Consider it a high pain tolerance. 

I work with the families who take the time to realize exactly what they want and go after it. They might vividly remember the ways that they felt as a child, adamant to acquire the skills they need to give their kids a different experience. They may already be self-improvement junkies realizing the power they have to create the life they truly desire, and know parenting is the next frontier. They know with more insight, perspective, tools and support, they are fully capable of overriding their instincts and giving their child the best parent they can be Ultimately, they value their time, not only their time spent researching and disciplining, but their time with their kids over their money. 

Because unfortunately, our brains are not wired to bring our dreams to life. They're wired to protect us and keep us safe. In order to create our dream life, we need help. It's incredibly uncomfortable, to ask for help and invest in ourselves. I can absolutely say that that has been the difference maker in our family, getting support through support groups, and therapy. Making really scary investments in myself and my business before I felt ready. I can say that my business is thriving right now. Only because I was willing to do what it took to build and invest in it to create a foundation. 

 Are you one of the parents refusing to settle for the status quo? Or even worse, deteriorating relationships sanity and home life. There may only be one or two of you listening right now. Is it you?

Have you had one of those moments recently where you thought to yourself, "This is the last straw"?For a few of my most recent clients, it was something like... seeing a younger sibling walk in the footsteps of their strong-willed child and they were like, hell no, I cannot let them teach them these behaviors! or Maybe it was hearing an older sibling of a strong-willed child share that they were getting physically sick from all the fits of rage the sibling engaged in, not only feeling isolated, left out and without support for their own problems and emotions, but unsafe in their own home. Maybe it was experiencing a moment with their strong-willed child at a family function, or in public where they felt judged, mortified, and completely helpless, about what to do next, or how to handle it. For one family, it was their child harming a grandparent. For another family, it was watching my free training, feeling like it was speaking directly to them, like I was in their house and had watched them all day, saying things that they said to each other a few hours earlier.

Now, each of those things, led them to overcome their fear of reaching out and asking for help.  But a lot of families still stop there. And they succumb to the fear of investing. The families that inevitably invest, do so because of their audacious, unapologetic beautiful goals for their future and for their family, including simply I want to like my child again, period. I don't want them to be afraid of me. I want to feel confident in what I'm doing as their parent. I want to work on myself because they deserve me at my best. They know the worth of the compound interest of one decision. 

Is that you? Are you ready for things to get better? Are you ready to create this unapologetic future for your family? Because right now, I'm looking for three families ready to go beyond information into transformation over the next 11 weeks, investing in the short term for years and years of long term payoff. So is that you? If so, submit your application to Wholeheartedly CALM (It's always open) after watching my free training, Authentic and Unapologetic. Or you can take the shortcut and schedule a consultation using the link in the show notes. It's wholeheartedly.as.me/call. Either way, your big, beautiful future awaits. Can't wait to meet you on the other side. 

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms know they are not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong-willed child, and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.

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Tuesday, Sept 27th at 1:00 PM CENTRAL

Confidently parent your strong-willed child without caving in or dimming their spark so you can finally break free of power struggles, guilt + self-doubt!