Mothering a Struggling Child


 A mother consoling a struggling child.Although my children are a bit older, last year was by far the most challenging for me as a mother. When your child struggles, you can’t help but wonder, “What did I do wrong?” and question yourself, “Was there anything I could have done differently?” In this regard, the truth might be that it’s not your fault. You can go by the book, but you can still have a struggling child.

I’ve always thought nothing else matters if my kids are happy and healthy. Surely, I can. That’s easy. ­Nope. I was very wrong. I quickly learned that numerous factors are out of my control as a parent.

Unfortunately, I can’t keep them in a protective bubble. I wish I could, but it’s not always your fault from bullying by their peers when they were younger, to adhering to unrealistic beauty standards set by society as they got older, and so many more struggles in between, a struggle in inevitable.

I thought that keeping them healthy was an even more manageable task. Well, not at all. Although I cook all our meals and ensure the quality of our food, they still eat out, eat at school, and demand unhealthy snacks or believe they will starve.

For example, my youngest has food fixations that change every few weeks, meaning that she only eats certain foods for some time (could be red foods at some point, starchy foods, jiggly foods, sour foods, etc.). Of course, I must provide whatever food she is currently fixated on, or she won’t eat anything.

And while my husband is very athletic, they took after me and prefer to be couch potatoes. Well, this one is my fault. I can be more active, energetic, and stronger than they are sometimes.

So, my kids weren’t as happy or healthy as I had wished. I had to accept that and learn to help them with their unique struggles. And most importantly, I needed to be there for them every step of the way, no matter what I felt. I had to be strong for them.

As my kids continued to struggle, I couldn’t help but reminisce about how happy they both were when they were younger, when they were still in their bubble before the harmful influence of the outside world. They pursued so many interests and hobbies with love and enthusiasm. Not anymore.

They are so bright that if you look at them, you won’t doubt they can be anything they want. The problem is that they don’t believe it.

As a mother, this affects you too. But as a mother, you must be the comforting hug, the believer when all faith is gone, the reminder that keeps nudging them of all the good in the world and all the goodness inside them. You need to be an immense rock they can lean on and shield under in stormy times.

So, no matter how hard it can sometimes be, remember it gets better; nothing lasts forever, including struggles. The kids grow up, learn, and heal, and so do you. Eventually, everything will be okay.

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Donia is a stay-at-home Egyptian archaeologist who majored in Egyptology. Egyptology had always been her passion since childhood. But family is her biggest passion. She lives in Mount Kisco with her husband Ayman, their daughters Dania (2005) and Mirette (2012), their cats Tiger and Drogo, and their German Shepherd Max. She is also a stepmom to two girls Nada (1991) and Malak (1995). When she is not busy taking care of her big family, she enjoys anything Sci-Fi and fantasy, watching cooking and baking competition shows, playing the drums, playing tennis with her husband, video games, and DIY projects. According to her girls, she particularly enjoys event and travel planning for her family and always goes all-out and prepares too much for an event. She is excited to join Westchester County Mom to share her experience as an expat and mom.


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