Dear Mom with kids with behavioral challenges,
Here is your virtual hug.
It's okay. You are doing a good job. Cry it out when you have a moment to yourself, it helps. But then be strong and know that your child's behavior is not a reflection of your parenting, despite what it feels like when you get the dirty looks in the grocery store or park or anywhere your child has flipped out on you.
Here's a hug for when you're talking in the calmest yet most urgent voice you can possibly muster, trying to think of anything you can possibly say to distract your kid from ripping a handful of pages out of a book at the library with death in their eyes after you distractedly told him we weren't going to the pool that afternoon.
Here's a hug when you were trying to feed and change the baby and didn't have a minute that exact moment to play a card game with your older child and she went upstairs and ripped all the bedding off her bed, tore up any loose pieces of paper in the room, and threw her Barbie Suburban so hard at the wall it stuck.
Here's a hug when your son says he's bored and doesn't know what to do. You know by him saying this he won't agree to do anything you suggest to do but play nintendo, and the second you give in to letting him play, he will have a violent meltdown when you turn it off after his designated half hour is over, but you also know that if you say no then you are just advancing the meltdown by half an hour. So you put on your internal armor and buckle down the hatches....
Here's a hug when your child is in the throws of a mega explosion. Things have already been broken. Hard objects within arms reach have already been chucked at your head or at anyone in the near vicinity, including your other young children. He's been screaming "I HATE YOU" repeatedly, and you had no other option but to grab him (if he's young enough, and heaven help you if he isn't...) and hold him until he can calm down, incurring openly bleeding scratches on your arms, bruises, and bite marks.
But here's a virtual hug when the things you are doing work. When you have a moment to talk to your explosive daughter outside of the meltdowns and realize that she really just had a sticker in her sock and forgot to tell you and that's why she got so angry so quickly. When something finally clicks and they put down the book and calm down without the meltdown just once and you feel elation similar to standing on the gold medal block at the olympics. When you have a moment and your son tells you with tears in his eyes that he doesn't know why he gets so angry and he wished that he didn't, or worse, he tells you what an awful boy he thinks he is and your heart shatters because you know that's not who he is.
You are forging the highest mountains of parenting. Take heart in knowing that you were given a course level 501 child because you are a 501 parent. Take heart in KNOWING that ALL kids want to be good, just not all of them can 100% of the time. You are a parent that knows that you screw up countless times, but can't seem to muster giving up because you just love your child too much. You are a parent that has to endure a lot of public pressure from people who have no clue what you are going through and seem to know how to "fix" your child, and you have to ignore them and risk losing their respect because dang it, you just LOVE your child TOO much to care what they think anymore.
And that's okay. In fact it's good to ignore them. And when I see you at the store blinking away a tear or two or staring vacantly forward while trying to exit the place as fast as you can while your dear one is a living version of the Tasmanian Devil, I will help you and not shun you, because I know where you are at and I know what it's like. You aren't alone.
You. Are not. Alone.