There’s a concept in psychology called Unconditional Positive Regard. It means to set aside biases and to think well of someone and accept them regardless of their actions. Professional helpers like therapists and coaches this practice this all the time to build a relationship with a client the create a no judgement zone to support them and help them reach their goals.
As parents, this may or may not be an easy thing to do. If you and your child are in a cycle of reactivity to each other there is a lot of mistrust and judgement flowing from both of you. There is a lot a parent can do to be the one to restore an atmosphere of connection and trust. One of the main things you can do it to remember your love for this child and practice a constant positive regard for your child.
If your find yourself complaining about your child, and getting tense just thinking about your child you need to restore your positive regard for your child. I blogged and kept a Facebook chronicle of my children when they were very young. I took tons of pictures of them- and still do. I love the Facebook feature of Memories on this day. I check it every day and get an “aww” feeling when I see pictures and cute saying of my kids when they were little. Look back on your memories with your children and get that sweet feeling of nostalgia. Give hugs. Build hugs into your routine; hugs when they leave for school or you go to work. Hugs before bedtime. Hugs are affection, acceptance and a transfer of warmth and love- positive regard.
You may need to just take some time out and sit and think about your child. Do it as a mindfulness exercise. Sit where you can see your child when he or she is occupied with something else and you can just quietly sit by. Think of your child when they were born or when they entered your family and the warm and overwhelming feelings of love you had then. Think of what you love about your child. That walk, the way they laugh, how sweet they look sleeping. Think of his or her talents, their generosity, and what makes them so special to you. Just take some time to think of only positive thoughts and love toward your child. Set aside the friction and irritations and saturate your mind with positive regard.
Just like “you are what you eat” you also act as you think. Your thoughts affect your feelings and your actions. Next time your child has a big behavior, it will be easier to see the child behind the behavior and stay calm to try to meet their needs. So decide to keep positive thoughts toward your child, and watch how your constant positive regard affects your relationship to keep you connected with your child.