THE BLOG
06/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Love and Hate in the Time of Parenting

I had to write this in honor of Mother's Day.

I lift a glass and salute all of you mothers out there who can be real and down with your intense negative feelings towards your kids at times.

With all of the love love love, think positive self-help mantras out there; let's flip this one. Check your guilt at front door. (Unless of course you are losing control all of the time. Not some of the time, ALL OF THE TIME.)

IT is vital to embrace your intense feelings of hatred at times, for your kids. . This is not to give yourself a free pass, or a rationalization, but rather to help you understand that it is part of teaching your children how to hold on to a loving person, in the face of disappointment, hurt, anger. Don't you want them to know that you love them even when you are mad at them? It's even more important to teach them that you know they love you even when they behave like assholes to you. This is all part of being human and being in relationships. So don't be scared of it.

I promise you, this is not coming only from the Mom perspective of how I feel at times when I am in the biggest fight with my kids. It comes from the training I have gotten as an analyst, when I was told by one of my best teachers: "Good enough is not only 'good enough', it is vital to help kids tolerate disappointment, and learn to hold onto us in their minds in the face of their own anger and hatred.

Now we are talking primitive feelings here, right? But name me an intense relationship that doesn't involve love and hate, and I will say that is not intimate. Or deeply involved.

Learn to love your hate. I am always drawn to irreverent moms who are willing to be upfront about their angry feelings, and the emotional intensity that can come up in parenting.

We need to model authentic relationships for our kids. They aren't stupid. They know when they are wrong. So don't be scared of your intense disappointment in them, or yes, I will say it again, hatred. So okay, I am being a bit melodramatic here, but hey, I am obviously in touch with my most primitive self. Helps me work it out in the safety and privacy of my own head and calm down enough not to act it out. Not that I don't scream and yell of course, and then come back to apologize for that and work out what got me so pissed off.

Believe it or not, modeling this helps give our kids a tool for soothing themselves. This is the main scaffolding for prevention in overusing drugs, alcohol, food, etc. Separate of whatever biological propensity for addiction our kids might come by genetically.) YES, we CAN give them something in the war against drugs. Intense feelings and processing those feelings is a fear buster. A Depression and Anxiety buster. You can start at home.

Simple. Direct. So don't you be afraid. The feeling passes. Teach your kid it is not the end of the world and you know they still love you, as you do them even when you or they 'feel' the hatred.

I know we don't like to use that word.

Happy Mother's Day!

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