To my momma friends and fellow educators who love and are invested in outside-the-box children, let’s be brave for our kids. ❤️
The children who are constantly hearing that they are not enough.
The ones who will never live up the expectations of the adults around them.
Like the kid back in school who was considered a troublemaker and ended up exactly as expected by the adults around him…
The “loser” with a life that went nowhere.
There is an underlying belief in our homes, schools, churches and our culture as a whole that there is a one-size-fits all approach to “unacceptable” behavior. We may try to deny this in the name of political correctness, but we must be honest about this reality for the sake of our outside the box kids.
When we cannot control
When adults cannot “control” the “challenging” behavior of children, the perception is that there is something wrong with the child.
The idea that perhaps we are using the wrong approach with the more “challenging” kids rarely comes to mind.
Again, the adults blame the child and continue with the same ineffective, life-sucking discipline strategies… and the behaviors increase as the child’s sense of self-worth decreases.
Set Up to Fail
So many of our kids are placed in no-win situations as they continuously fail to live up to the accepted expectations of the world around them.
These expectations are often based upon benchmarks of development academically and behaviorally… Except these kids don’t meet the benchmarks and are always behind.
They are repeatedly corrected, punished, and shamed. 😔 These kids spend their formative years hearing about their faults, and their inability to please the adults and even other kids around them.
Mental Illness Hamster Wheel
These misunderstood children frequently end up trapped in a cycle of mental health issues that plague them for life. Rates of childhood anxiety, depression, cutting, and suicide are growing.
We need to wake up to the fact that there are so many kids out there suffering under the pressure of inappropriate adult expectations.
We are raising children to one day be adults. These formative years are crucial.
Mom Friends, it’s time to be BRAVE for our children.
It’s time to be BRAVE for our outside-the-box children.
Let’s stop approaching those who don’t fit the mold, who don’t respond to traditional discipline, with the belief that these kids are WILLFULLY making a choice to disobey.
It is time for us to be our child’s cheerleader and coach. Let us coach them well while we encourage them on to be the best outside-the-box kid they can be.
God Intentionally Chose You
Moms, you know in your gut there must be another way for your “outside-the-box” kid.
You know that God has created your child uniquely and that He must have a plan for your child. You KNOW IT!!
Yet, fear takes over. However, you don’t know what to do, but you know your child cannot thrive knowing that he is a constant disappointment.
We must be brave for our children who have been created differently. We must be willing to think outside-the-box with our outside-the-box kids.
Let’s equip our children with tools and strategies so that they can live a life of confidence and purpose.
Or we can continue to listen to the world and it’s rewards and punishment mentality. How is that working for your child?
Every child needs an adult who believes in them… let’s be that for our kids.
Wisdom of Moms Raising Outside-the-Box Kids
Mom Friends, it’s time to be BRAVE for our children.
It’s time to be BRAVE for our unique outside-the-box children. We must be brave for our children who dare to be “DIFFERENT.”
The Irony of “Different”
Interestingly, referring to our outside-the-box kids as “different” is insanely ironic. Why?
Hello?!! There are hundreds of thousands of them in our country. However, many of them are hiding out at home suffering alone because the culture’s expectations have destroyed any shred of their confidence.
These kiddos need to be raised, educated, disciplined, and loved in a way that best equips them to flourish into healthy adults. God has equipped our children to be “salt and light.” 🥰
Many of our kids display behaviors that are perceived as pure willful disobedience… Adults mistakenly believe that these kids are choosing to behave poorly.
Further, we adults reek of hypocrisy and confuse our children. When we lose it, fly off the handle or meltdown in some way, we justify it by listing all the stress in our lives.
“It all just built up and I lost it.”
We give ourselves and other adults grace, but rarely our children.
On the other hand, when children dare to meltdown in the grocery store after a long and exhausting day at school, we shame them. Onlookers often pass judgment and whisper, “He just needs a good spanking.” The self-righteous mom with her “perfectly” obedient, shakes her head a the mom wrestling her son into the cart.
Unfortunately, I’m ashamed to say that prior to the adoption of my son with “hidden” cognitive special needs, I was incredibly oblivious to the severity of my pride and self-righteousness.
The reality is that as a culture, we act as though we are surprised when a young, immature and growing child has a meltdown.
Fear Leads to Meltdowns in Adults Too
More importantly, when we as adults feel out of control, it scares us…
Adults often respond to socially unacceptable behaviors from a place of fear and insecurity.. Because we believe we should be able to control children, we feel like failures and become increasingly frustrated.
Think about it. When we feel fear and insecurity how do we most often respond? punishment, aggression, anger.
Let me repeat that: Adults respond to internal fear and insecurity very often through behaviors that look like anger and aggression.
Could it be that children who behave through anger and aggression are actually struggling with fear? This is a rhetorical question.
Unfortunately, mom friends, if we really allow ourselves to go there, we will likely recognize that we often parent out of fear.
We fear for the child’s future. ‘What will happen to him if I don’t stop behavior X, Y, or Z?’
Because we don’t know what else to do, we often fall back on the influence of a culture that is not invested in the heart, mind, soul and spirit of our “outside-the-box” child. The culture and traditional approaches often just want the inconvenient behaviors to stop. But at what cost?
Who cares most about your child’s future?
The culture tells you that it is your kid that is the problem. You had better find a way to mold your child to fit in the box. Discipline harder. Be more consistent. Ignore him. Your outside-the-box kiddo is expected to ‘suck it up’ and behave regardless of his capability to do so. Parents are told that there is only one way. You are told to force your child to fit the mold. If you can’t change your child, people perceive you as a poor parent.
Momma Friend, I hear it every day.
- The school called. My kid flipped out and hit a little boy in class. Now he is suspended.
- My daughter clings to me at church because it is so loud and crazy in there. She started melting down in the middle of the foyer last Sunday.
- The teacher said that my child is off in lala land and that’s why she can’t learn to read.
- My son comes home from school every day and screams and has meltdowns. No one believes me.
- My child begs me not to send him to school (church, sports, etc) each day.
- Getting to get my child to do her homework always ends up in tears and stress. She just screams that it’s too much to do.
- I just found out that my daughter is cutting. She is under so much pressure. How do I help her?
- My child can’t sit for circle time. She is going to get kicked out of preschool.
- My son came home sobbing because he was back on red today. He told me that he tried so hard to sit still but when he did that, he couldn’t focus on what the teacher said. The teacher then moved his card down because he wasn’t paying attention. He can’t win.
- The mom down the street won’t let my child play with hers because he had a full-blown meltdown when it was time for him to share.
- The counselor says I shouldn’t coddle him…
- The list goes on.
We Know God Does Not Make Mistakes
We know deep down inside of us that there must be a better and different approach in order to thrive.
And yet, out of FEAR of the culture (the schools, the teachers, the church, our friends, the lady in the grocery store…), we mommas cave and anxiously try to force our child to meet the world’s expectations.
We don’t know what else to do so we then push harder, yell louder, punish longer… Sometimes our kids acquiesce out of fear or exhaustion… having learned nothing about how to handle tough situations in the future.
Immediate Obedience at What Cost?
The cost of quick obedience through shame and punishment is HIGH... broken parent-child relationships, depression, anxiety, low self-worth, cutting, increased suicide rates…
The price is exponentially higher for children with cognitive differences or delays. So many of these kids do not have the capability to comply appropriately through rewards and punishments because they are stuck in fight-or-flight.
As a culture we say celebrate diversity and yet we have virtually no tolerance for children who are “different.”
For the child who doesn’t fit inside the cultural box… the ones who are “different.”
Let’s be brave together, Moms.
Let’s Equip Our Kids
Our children need to be equipped with the skills, direction, tools, LOVE and support of adults so that they can learn to appropriately handle big emotions, thoughts, etc…
When children are not taught these crucial life skills in a way in which they can receive and process, they fail and disappoint the world around them… over and over again.
My heart aches for the children whose sense of self-worth and ability to function in this world are often dictated by a perspective of children that assumes the worst of them.
No more sending our kids to their rooms yelling, “Go to your room until you can behave!!!”
Let’s actually look behind the behavior FIRST.
Let’s teach them to behave appropriately by equipping them with lifelong emotional regulation skills and tools. Momma, we must give them the education they need. Our children need to understand the LARGE sensations they experience inside their bodies… (aka feelings). We need to engage them in conversations about how their thoughts impact their feelings and behaviors.
What if we rally together to equip them instead of shame them?
God Chose You to Parent Your Child
Every adult remembers that kid from school who couldn’t get it together and behave in class… The troublemaker… Maybe you were that kid. Maybe you beat the odds… but most don’t.
Eventually after never being able to please and “obey right away,” that childhood “troublemaker” believed that he could not ever do it right. He was forced into the cycle of “I suck and I can’t do anything right.”
These are the ones who will never know real relationship and love because they were never taught how to appropriately handle their thoughts, emotions and such….
These are the kids from school who never succeeded.
Is that what we want for our children?
Fight for God’s Gifts to Shine Through Your Child
Let us parent our children from the perspective of the gospel. God loved us before we loved him. God sought relationship with us while we were still sinners. He looked beyond our behaviors and showed us love through his Son.
When our children mess up, let’s pour out the grace that God has gifted to us. Let us pour into our relationship with our child and show them that they are valuable even when they mess up… even when they struggle to focus, are impulsive, can’t learn math, struggle with social awkwardness.
God has a plan for each of these children.
Let’s be brave, Friends, and do something different for our kids.
Imagine fearlessly raising our “different” kids into confident, healthy and productive adults…🥳
God has made us all unique!! We say we believe in individuality and diversity yet we expect all kids to be the same in development, wiring, behaviorally and we shame them when they don’t comply!!!
Children are adults in the making…
Is it possible that perhaps there is a different, more peaceful, relational way to raise our children so that they can be “wired differently” and that be seen as a blessing?
It is time that we rally together to love, relate to, teach and ultimately influence these more “challenging” kids in a way that equips them for their best.
Every child can succeed. I firmly believe that God has blessed us with so many amazing and UNIQUE children with strengths that may currently be perceived as weaknesses… 🥰
What happens when we look behind the behaviors and see the strengths of these kids? What happens if we choose to love them well even when they are behaving in ways that make us uncomfortable?
Imagine what would happen if we as adults allowed ourselves to focus on what our child needs in this season in order to later be able to function and love others well in the future.
One step at a time, let’s connect with our kids and equip them with a vision of who they CAN be…. ❤️
Let’s be ok with parenting naysayers’ judgement and focus our attention on what our hild needs to grow into the person God has equipped him or her to be…
Let’s be Brave for Our Kids Together.
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