Five Ways to Survive Your Child’s Difficult Stage

By Cindi McMenamin

Is your child going through a stage that is worrying you or driving you crazy?

In my book 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, I interviewed moms of children going through the “questioning” stage, the “testing” stage, and the “lack of motivation” stage, to name just a few.10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom

In some cases, the phase lasted only a few months. In most cases, it lasted about a year. But in every case I’ve seen or heard about, it was a limited time – a short season of a child’s life.

Most of the things we worry about come down to a phase our kids are going through. A phase that eventually ends, and then our kids seem normal again.”

As one mom summed it up: “Every phase my kids went through, whether good or bad, seemed to change over time. I spent a lot of time worrying about something that wasn’t even an issue a year later.”

Here are some practical ways to keep your sanity and not worry when your child is going through a difficult stage:

  1. Learn to Respond, Rather Than React. When we react, rather than respond to our children’s behavior, it can escalate a situation between a parent and child, especially if you are reacting emotionally to something you don’t understand (like your child’s choice of dress or unusual request). Instead of reacting to something your child might say from a bad attitude or an irrational thought, respond by calmly saying “Tell me more about that.”
  2. Learn to Laugh. It helps to have a sense of humor. See the “stage” as something to look back and laugh about later.
  3. Learn to Count It Out. One mom told me she counts to ten in every situation where she’s tempted to lose her cool. Being patient by taking a deep breath and counting makes sure we are not as impulsive and emotional in our responses, as our children are in their actions.
  4. Learn from Moms Who Have Been There. God many times speaks to us through the wisdom of others. Talk to godly moms who are facing the same things with their kids and can offer sound biblical insight. If you don’t have a group of moms around you who can give you biblical advice, find a Moms in Prayer group at your children’s school or find a moms group at your local church.
  5. Lean on God and His Word. In Psalm 16:8, David said, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” You can have that kind of confidence, too. As you lean on God and His Word, you can stand firmly and be a steady, immovable force in your child’s life no matter what he or she is going through.

About Cindi McMenamin
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Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker who helps women find strength for the soul. She is the author of 15 books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Woman Inspires Her Husband, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter,  and her newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. For more on her ministry, books or free resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage or your parenting, visit her website at


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