These kids are driving me crazy!!!  by Virginia Sampson

My children went through some very difficult times in their lives. When my youngest child was two weeks old my husband was diagnosed with ALS more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. My other three children were in middle school and high school. I quit my job to take care of my husband. He suffered for three years and died at home. I should say that we all suffered for three years.

When my husband was diagnosed, my three older children already had life battle scars. They experienced a very ugly divorce which included domestic violence and then they were abandoned by their father. My second husband became their father – a wonderful father- and then he too died and left them. They were angry and bitter. They acted out their pain in very unhealthy ways. Two of my children turned to alcohol and drugs to escape their pain. They stopped attending school. They got into trouble with the law.

How do we cope with trauma in our children?

Some act out their pain and others, like my oldest daughter, internalize their suffering. Both desperately need our help. The key to navigating this crisis is showing compassion for ourselves and our children. Compassion is a form of love.  We are compassionate when we see someone is struggling and we take action to help him/her.

  • The action can be something simple like a hug. We can practice active listening where we give our undivided attention to the child and listen with our heart to what they are saying. There are simple ways to show compassion to our children.
  • Doing anything positive for or with a child can be very difficult when they are acting out.  Our first response is typically to discipline them or get angry with them.  As my father used to say, “Children need our love the most when they deserve it the least”.

I was certainly far from being a perfect or even a good parent during the difficult times with my children.  My children did eventually begin to heal.   My daughter told me that what got her through those dark days was knowing that, no matter what, I loved her and would not give up on her.

Compassion heals.

It also helps our children to thrive and succeed in every area of their lives. Practicing compassion helps the giver and receiver. Let’s set an intention to show compassion to our children everyday and especially when they are acting out.  They may not be responding to our compassion in the moment but it will have a positive impact on them as it did with my daughter.  Compassion is magic. Come discover with me, through my stories and my programs, the magic of compassion for ourselves and the children in our lives.