Your little one is really struggling.
You've given these issues everything you have and searched for solutions high and low: time-outs, sticker charts, privileges, consequences, dietary changes, new schools. . . But the scary truth is that nothing seems to work. Despite all this effort on your end, your child continues to push you away, misbehave, and suffer.
You tiptoe around your child now, trying to prevent the next incident, trying to just be a "happy normal family" for once. The situation has gotten completely out of control and honestly, you don't even know what you feel anymore. Some days you want to scream and pull out your hair. Some nights you lie awake, terrified about your child's future: Will my child grow up to be happy, have healthy relationships, finish school, hold down a job. . . or at least avoid prison? You're completely exhausted, and yet you won't give up. You can't. This is your child: the light of your life. The center of your world.
You're tired of seeing your baby in pain! You're tired of being their punching bag: being disrespected, hit, kicked, disobeyed, screamed at. Despite loving your child immensely, you worry: Do I still like the person they are becoming? What is happening to my brilliant, funny, profoundly sweet little one? What am I missing here? Am I doing something wrong?
It's horrible, isn't it?
This "Will things ever get better?" place you're in.
I've walked beside many a parent in this confusing and despair-filled place, and together we've dug our way out. I know the terrain well. The very first thing you need to know, right now, is that you are a great parent. Let me repeat that (since you probably just shrugged it off): You are a great parent.
Things are chaotic right now because you are fighting for your child's happiness, for them to have a full life. You are in this struggle now because you care so deeply for your child. You have a beautiful vision of your child healthy, happy, and thriving. Able to take in your nurturing and guidance. Enjoying their friendships and blossoming at school. Or at least getting through a single day or hour without a battle. You want better for your child and your instincts are screaming, "Things can be different!"
A parent's deepest instincts are rarely ever wrong. In therapy, I have witnessed children turn from aggressive and angry, to cuddly, sweet, and gentle. I have heard children say, "I love you, Mom" for the first time in weeks, months, or years. I have seen kids turn to their parent for help instead of hiding, shutting down, or screaming.
I cannot promise you miracles, but if you let me, I will walk beside you on this journey with love and humility. I will listen deeply to you. I will create a safe place where you can fall apart and rest. I will believe in you and your family when you're feeling confused and lost. I will hope for you when you are too devastated or tired or frustrated to hope. I will remind you of the amazing parent you are when you have forgotten.
You don't have to live like this forever.