When you are a child, it's all about YOU. You don't really think twice that your actions can hurt your parents' feelings because YOU think you have ALL the feelings. When you become a parent, you suddenly realize all the little things that can sting--some worse than others--and you think about how your parents must have felt and you wonder how they got over it?! Here are a few things to help all you parents out there handle it when your kid hurts you:
Kids Are Tough - Kids are so unfiltered. They just tell it like it is. Especially when they are young. They may make a comment about your weight, age or something else. It can really hurt. When they are teens, their words can be especially hurtful when they strike out or back at you. I can't tell you the number of times my kids told me they hated me and how many times I cried in secret because of it! Kids have no idea what frame of reference you may have about something they say or do, either. I got divorced when my kids were between the ages of teenager, pre teen and elementary school. A lot of their childhood was spent going back and forth and 3 out of 4 left to live with their dad for a bit. It crushed me. Part of the reason was because when it happened they usually did it because they were angry with me about something, but after years of counseling I found out that MOST children of divorce will live with the other parent because they just want to see what it is like and want to know that parent loves them just as much. So, even if they didn't get ticked at me for one thing or another, chances are they would have left at some point to live with their dad anyway. I wish I could have grasped this then. It hurt for a long time. You have to be able to understand where your child is at and build up some thick skin. They have no clue as to all the fears you may have about them or something surrounding them. All they know is what is happening to them at that moment.
Being the Adult -When kids are small, they aren't thinking of how to hurt you, it's not on purpose at all, and with teens it can be the opposite. They may say the most awful stuff (that they may not even believe) JUST to hurt your feelings. What is most important that you do is BE THE ADULT. Have self control when they push your buttons. Try your best not to just react without really understanding what they may mean behind the hurtful things they may be saying or doing. To be honest, I wasn't the best at this AT ALL. However in some things I was. I didn't hold grudges against my kids. I did my best to move on after an incident as best as I could. Even though there were times I feared losing them, I still loved unconditionally, even if they were mean jerks sometimes! Children have the same amount of emotions adults do, they just haven't figured out how to manage them or how to articulate at times what they are really feeling. They may be worried about something that has NOTHING to do with you but it may come out in anger over something small with you. Try to give them that space to figure it out. It's hard, I know. But it is important.
Move On - Even if we love unconditionally, you can't keep reminding your kids how awful they were to you or how much you were hurt by something they did. If it was really awful, chances are they already know and feel incredibly guilty about it. Bringing it up in the future to pick on them or dig at them is NOT the way to bring healing to the situation or even yourself. You are just picking a scab and when you do that it can leave a worse scar than the hurt itself. Put yourself in their position. How would you feel if someone always talked about the stupid mistakes you made as a kid? It's selfish and childish and not a good example of forgiveness. Just let it go.
Raising children is hard. When they are tiny they need you for everything. You may even be their very best friend in the world. As they grow they need to learn their own independence and that may come in the form of lashing out at you. They may push you away (which can really hurt), they may stop telling you every little secret they have and they may even look at you with so much hate in their eyes you feel you will never ever get past that moment--BUT YOU DO. Just keep loving them through it. Let the hurts go and show them what real forgiveness is. You will be surprised at how much it means to them. AND if you are as lucky as I am, when they are grown they will tell you just how much you loving them unconditionally meant to them. That makes every little hurt worth it.