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Monica Wofford, CSP, is a leadership development expert and the author of Make Difficult People Disappear.

Can Moms really be difficult? Really?

Gasp! Difficult Moms? Right before Mother’s Day? Well, what do you do if even the most well-meaning, well intentioned mom is actually in a way that is difficult? Here are three ways to make even the difficult Mom disappear.

Know the Numbers

In the new book Make Difficult People Disappear, there is an anecdotal statistic that states 97% of the time families of four occupy one of each of the four quadrants of the CORE Profile Assessment. This means that in many families, for example, Dad might be a Commander, Mom a Relater, the first child an Entertainer and the second child an Organizer, or any other combination of the four. And if that’s the case, then chances are extremely high that Mom might be the polar opposite personality style from you. Thus, that causes miscommunications, misunderstandings, and a complete lack of similarities in the way you and she do things. Know that if this is the case, Mom isn’t trying to be difficult, she’s just different. Accept the differences and recognize that her style is one you will also encounter in the real world. Learning how to work with it and accept it will make you a better leader, team member, colleague, and parent.

Adjust Your Expectations

If you are a Commander child with a Relater Mom, you might expect your Mom to be direct in her feedback, urgently act on things that you say you want or might like to see done, or even say no to your face when you ask her to babysit your child, instead of subtly mention all she had to cancel to make that work. It’s not gonna happen. Relaters are not direct communicators. They don’t like conflict and who can resist a grandchild? Certainly not a Relater. Hehe! Seriously, it is often our expectations of our Mom’s behaviors that can drive us crazy. Keep in mind that is different than Mom driving us crazy or being difficult, so adjust your expectations and you should find her behavior easier to accommodate.

Look at Intentions

When someone’s behavior is different than what we want or need, it is often still done with the best of intentions. Moms are no different. Typically, they love their children and are truly doing what they think is best for them or their well-being. Perhaps you start off any piece of feedback you share with “I know your intentions are good and I know your heart is in the right place… and what I would really like to have is… “ finished with whatever that desire is. Notice that the word BUT is not in that sentence. “But” negates all said before it in a sentence, so if you really do know her intentions are good, avoid letting your “but” get in the way. Hehe!

Do these things and that difficulty that you see in your Mom will likely disappear…that and you’ll have learned great skills that apply to many others around you, as well.

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all!

Stay Contagious!


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