Like us, children have free will to express their thoughts and feelings in various ways which are not always to our liking. Defiant children can challenge us, especially when their behavior is disruptive at home and in school.
While defiance is normal during certain periods of childhood and adolescence, it is important not to let this become an excuse to fail to teach your child how to behave appropriately and have regard for others. While it is normal for kids to seek independence at various points during their development, it is worrisome when defiant behavior starts to become a pattern and a child becomes chronically disruptive.
Oppositional defiant behavior can first show itself at the age of two and worsen over time if it is not addressed. For instance school age children who are oppositional will start by defying the rules at home and then act out in school. Usually, these kids also have conflicts with their peers and are rejected by them due to their attitude. Strategies to deal with defiant kids should be put into action immediately to prevent these kids from carrying this behavior into adulthood. It's important to understand that left unchecked, this behavior only worsens with age and time. Dealing with a defiant child is very different from dealing with a defiant teen. The emotional and physical damage that oppositional defiant children in their teen years can inflict is enough to break apart a loving family. And, of course, beneath their angry exteriors, these kids are miserable. If you have defiant children (often the oldest child acts out serves as a role model for younger children), you may feel frustrated and overwhelmed. You may have resorted to severe punishment and found that even this does not work. The answer lies not just in the consequences, but how and when you deliver them and the consistency with which you follow through. Although you may be shocked to hear this, your child's behavior can be amplified by how you react when he is acting out.
Learning how to change your parenting style helps immensely because oppositional defiant behavior is the result of an interaction in which the parent is unwittingly handing power to the child. While it's not your fault that you didn't understand this, it helps to know that hundreds of thousands of parents are in your shoes. While there is no one to blame, it is your responsibility to learn the parenting techniques that you will help your child learn respect and follow the rules that are designed for the safety and well-being of him and those around him.
Let's face it. You probably feel like you've tried everything. You've probably tried talking to your child, giving him consequences and may have even resorted to severe punishments, all to no avail. When you start to realize that you may be unwittingly playing a part in his drama, you have found the light at the end of the tunnel.
When nothing works, it's time for change. For instance, when you stop reacting to oppositional defiant children in the ways that they expect, you take them off guard and can take back your power as a parent. Of course, this is the power not to punish your child but to help him change and empower himself to be the best that he can be, so he can lead a happy and productive life.
If you need help learning new parenting strategies, a behavioral program designed specifically to help parents with defiant children is exactly what is needed. Research has shown that when positive, limit-setting behavioral techniques are taught in the home, they are transformative because both the parent and child are learning new ways of interacting. Of course, the best part of working together to create positive change is that the parent and child develop deeper bonds and learn how to trust and respect each other in more meaningful ways.
About the Author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the parenting book. Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting, which has won four awards, including a Nautilus Award given by Martha Stewart's Omnivision for books that promote conscious living and social change. If you have oppositional defiant children, make sure to read her Total Transformation review - her review of a program that has been successfully used by over 150,000 parents to turn around their kids' behavior.
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A strong-willed preteen may be the one nagging you incessantly to buy a coveted item or to let her participate in a desired activity. Many strong-willed kids display stubborn behavior to get their way. Although it often is a challenge, your preteen's strong-willed personality can be a positive attribute because your youngster likely has an intense drive to succeed and she may be less likely to succumb to negative peer pressure. When it's necessary to discipline your strong-willed 11-year-old, do so with a combination of ongoing firmness tempered with patience and loveCreative Discipline
Strong-willed kids have an intense desire to be in charge of themselves, states psychologist Laura Markham with the Aha! Parenting website. Although it will be necessary to insist that your child abide by rules, you can sometimes approach limits creatively with your youngster by offering understanding and choices. Empathy about rules can be effective with strong-willed kids because it helps them feel understood -- "I can hear how important it is to go to Bethany's house, but you have to finish your homework first." Alternatively, give your preteen choices whenever possible. For example, asking her "Would you rather practice your flute first today or work on your homework?" gives your preteen a semblance of control.Set Clear Limits
Appropriate discipline teaches limits and encourages children to behave within those limits, according to the Ask Dr. Sears website. Using this foundation, set clear and concise expectations and consequences to teach your strong-willed child behavior limits. Firm household rules with attached consequences for breaking each rule can help your strong-willed child succeed as your youngster will be aware of the ground rules, according to the University of Alabama Parenting Assistance Line.Follow Through Consistently
Stay consistent in parenting or a strong-willed preteen could surmise that you don't mean what you say. Always enforce house rules, and every time your child breaks a rule, follow through with the promised consequence. This will enable him to know exactly what you expect and what will happen if he chooses to disobey. Your strong-willed 11-year-old can choose his path and make decisions about his actions knowing exactly what will happen if he chooses to follow rules or break them.Watch your Responses
Keep discipline positive with your preteen and resist any urge to assign blame for strong-willed behavior. It can be easy to slip into patterns of negative discipline, always focusing on undesired behaviors while not giving enough attention to the actions you desire. Minimize the energy you to devote to negative correction, advises the University of Alabama Parenting Assistance Line. Instead of a lecture, use only a word or two to redirect your 11-year-old to an activity or behavior you want. When you do see desired behaviors, notice them and praise your youngster. The positive focus on desired behavior can motivate more of the same actions. Redirection to positive activities, verbal explanations and time-outs are effective discipline for kids up to 12 years of age, according to the Dr. Phil website.Stay Connected
Generally, kids want to cooperate and obey parents, according to Markham. Encourage this cooperation by maintaining a strong connection with your youngster. Talk with her every day about activities and listen if she wants to explore thoughts and feelings. Empathize with feelings as your strong-willed child expresses them because when your child feels understood, she should be better able to regulate his emotions. Instead of punishing harshly, guide gently to help your youngster solve problems and make positive choices in behavior and actions.
Stubborn children always try to take control of any situation. Stubborn children need to witness consequences to their actions as opposed to reacting to reasoning.
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My husband & I have very different parenting styles & that has really worked against us over the years …I tend to be strict while my husband is not & I feel that I need to compensate for his lack of discipline & follow through. I'm constantly clashing with my kids & tired of being the wicked witch.
When parents have different disciplining styles, there's bound to be dissention and arguing. Tension's a given anytime two or more people work on the same project but each take a different approach.
Co-parenting is similar to any other partnership. Each person brings to the table what's been learned along the way. As parents, we're influenced by the disciplinary approaches we experienced growing up, and we tend to apply them to our children-often without first talking them through with our partner.
Imagine a baseball team-eager to win a game-but guided by two coaches who follow different rules and dish out contradictory information. Imagine the tension and the reactions of the players as they witness the coaches quarreling. If you and your husband fight in front of the children, you may not be aware of the ways in which they are affected. Some children may learn "that must be the way people resolve conflicts." Others may learn how to play one parent against the other, which causes even more confusion and distress in the family.
Here are some strategies that can be helpful:
1. Agree on a signal to alert both of you that the conversation is, or is about to, get too heated and needs to be halted. Make a commitment both to honor – and act on the signal. You might walk away and have an agreed-upon cooling off period. Or set a time to revisit your differences in opinion. Or write down what you're feeling and later share it with your partner, who might better understand where you're coming from.
2. Be prepared for behavioral problems. Remember that many changes in kids’ behaviors are linked to their stage of normal development. It should come as no surprise that your toddler becomes defiant or your preschooler has an occasional temper tantrum. Talk ahead of time about how each of you would handle these predictable situations. That way you’ll have fewer conflicts when they occur.
3. Create your own family "rulebook." Write clear, reasonable, attainable rules (for both parents and kids) about what behavior is acceptable and what isn't. Your family, like a baseball team, will be more successful when you have clear guidelines.
4. Do not to go overboard in trying to avoid arguments. Having small squabbles in front of the kids – and then resolving them peacefully – can actually be good for them; it shows that it's possible to disagree with someone you love, and that relationships don't end just because people are quarreling with each other.
5. Don’t be trapped by your past. That includes both your own childhood and the style of discipline you may have used in an earlier marriage. Look for ways to explore, with your spouse, your unquestioned assumptions about disciplining kids. One good way to do that is to take a parenting class together. That does two things: It helps you realize how differently other people respond to the same situations you face as parents, and it gives you and your spouse a common base of information from which to develop your shared approaches to discipline.
6. Don't let negative childhood experiences determine your decision making about discipline. Keep your focus on the positive aspects of your family life in childhood to bring to your current parenting practices. This approach will free you to replace discipline strategies that don't work for both parents because of beliefs based in families of origin with solution-focused practices that respect and continue the positive experiences of both parents' childhoods.
7. Have a conversation about the ways childhood histories may be influencing the disagreement about discipline. Take a problem-solving approach to identify: (1) What is the specific child-rearing issue that is causing disagreement between parents? (2) What are the feelings and beliefs that each parent has about the issue that may be rooted in childhood family history? (3) What problem-solving alternatives can each of you commit to that will resolve the disagreement and unite both parents in adapting the beliefs and practices of your families of origin to your family life today?
8. Negotiate a Plan in Calm Waters. Sit down with your spouse and try to agree on ways to discipline at a time when nothing is wrong. When you discuss things calmly, you're more likely to come up with a plan you can both stick to. This will allow you to talk about what's best for your child, and not "who's right."
9. Present a Unified Front. Kids understand when their moms & dads feel differently about disciplining, no matter what their age. Kids will often get away with misbehaving simply by creating an argument between you and your spouse — and this not only lets them off the hook, it creates a problem between the moms & dads. Make sure that your child sees both parents following the same guidelines, no matter what the scenario. Once your kids start receiving the same treatment from both parents, they'll stop using your disagreements as a way to avoid punishment.
10. Put your childhood experiences in historical perspective. Gender roles, child safety issues, environmental factors, and cultural norms change dramatically across the generations. What worked for your family 'back in the day' may not transfer comfortably to your current family situation. What are the issues in modern family life that trigger a strong belief that the values and child-rearing practices from your childhood are important to uphold and continue in your own family?
11. Recognize that strong beliefs about child rearing may have their basis in childhood family experiences. At the same time, know that your spouse's beliefs have the same powerful roots.
12. Recognize What Your Arguments Do to Your Kids. No child likes to see his or her parents fight. When you argue about what to do with your kids, you create a troubling environment for them, which could have serious long-tem effects. Fighting with your spouse shifts the focus away from your child — and how they can learn to stop misbehaving — and on to a "parent versus parent" situation.
13. Remember the positive experiences from your childhood. Think about your everyday life rather than the major events. What was going on around you during those happy times? It's fun to share these memories with your family, so make them a part of your traditions and family life. What are the positive values and childhood experiences that you want to uphold and continue in your family?
14. Remember your successes. During your marriage, you and your husband have undoubtedly successfully negotiated many situations -- with each of you both giving and taking a little until you reached some middle ground. You can also be successful at ending arguments in front of the kids if you really want to. It won't be easy, but it will be rewarding. And your kids will be the ultimate winners.
15. Seek professional help from a good Marriage & Family Therapist if you continue to struggle with co-parenting issues.Parenting Rebellious Teens
One day you wake up and find that life has changed forever. Instead of greeting you with a hug, your little boy rolls his eyes when you say "good morning" and shouts, "You're ruining my life!" You may think you've stepped into the Twilight Zone, but you've actually been thrust into your son's teen years.
During adolescence, teens start to break away from parents and become "their own person." Some talk back, ignore rules and slack off at school. Others may sneak out or break curfew. Still others experiment with alcohol, tobacco or drugs. So how can you tell the difference between normal teen rebellion versus dangerous behavior. And what's the best way for a parent to respond?
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
Many families of defiant children live in a home that has become a battleground. In the beginning, the daily struggles can be expected. After all, we knew that problems would occur. Initially, stress can be so subtle that we lose sight of a war, which others do not realize is occurring. We honestly believe that we can work through the problems.
Outbursts, rages, and strife become a way of life (an emotionally unhealthy way of life). We set aside our own needs and focus on the needs of our children. But what does it cost us?
The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen
The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing teens with serious behavioral problems. Disrespect, anger, violent rages, self-injury, running away from home, school failure, hanging-out with the wrong crowd, drug abuse, theft, and legal problems are just some of the behaviors that parents of defiant teens will have to learn to control.
Click here for the full article.
My 26 month old's behaviors somehow seem familiar to me. I think they may be common. But I want to know if it they are due to my approach to discipline or lack-there-of, or are developmental. I used to work with children and was really interested in approaches to discipline but now I am sort of flailing around unsure and afraid that any direction I take will have a negative effect in the long run.
1. When DD is stopped from doing something, often physically by picking her up, occasionally grabbing her (gently but, well, sometimes a but rough. This is when she is doing things like sitting on our small dogs or throwing something etc). She gets this droopy eyed look and goes a bit floppy when I sit with her and talk ( simple talk) about what she did.
2. When she takes/grabs etc something she shouldn't have she will run like being chased. She is both having fun but also knows she is doing something she shouldn't.
3. She will often seem to d o something because I asked her not to--this has become a problem because the worst of it is that she swallows things when I ask her to take something out of her mouth. It used to be I could say it fun "oh, wow what is in your mouth" or pretend to ignore and she would tale it out but now she is more likely to swallow. This is not just swallowing things though. She will pretty much DO everything I ask her not to do ( I ask when it looks like she is about to do something.)
Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks! -- Katharine
I've noticed that many of us who parent using attachment principles become unsure when our little ones become toddlers. I think that's because responsive parenting with an infant means we listen to what she wants/needs and give it to her. But responsive parenting with a toddler is much more complicated because their wants are no longer equivalent to their needs, at least not when we think long-term. We listen to what she wants (to sit on the dog), think about what she and we need, both short term (not to get bitten, a safe, happy dog) and long term (to learn that sitting on the dog will hurt him), make a decision for her highest good, and then respond to the new situation our limit has created -- when she will probably need some help with her big emotional response to not getting what she wants!
26 month olds are working hard to figure out the rules. They never need discipline (in the sense of punishment) at this age or any age, because it does not help them learn. They do need your guidance, fairly constantly, about what is appropriate to live a healthy, responsible life.
They will often resist that guidance, which is natural. Why should they share our priorities? But we still need to insist on our guidance, often, and they will naturally have big feelings about that. I find parents often get confused about this. They assume they have to show anger at their child to "teach" the lesson. But anger always scares our child, and kids can't learn when they're in "fight, flight, freeze." Patiently setting the limit and empathizing with our child's unhappiness is always more effective in teaching. Eventually, our child learns that she doesn't always get what she wants, but she gets something better: someone who loves and accepts her, no matter what, including all of her angry and unhappy feelings.
When we consistently model and guide with empathy, little ones get that we are on their side, and they don't resist our guidance so much. Of course, two year olds are experimenting with power, and with independence, so they want to make their own decisions. That's why they often DO whatever we ask them not to. Sometimes they are reacting to feeling overly controlled or pushed around. But often it's nothing personal against us or our wishes. They just want to be in charge of their own lives. That's a healthy impulse – the beginning of taking responsibility for themselves. But it's a challenge for us as parents!
So on to your specific questions:
1. She gets this droopy eyed look and goes a bit floppy . This sounds to me like she might be in "freeze" mode, as in "fight, flight or freeze." That would be a natural response to being frightened. Imagine being 26 months old and happily experimenting with sitting on the dog, or seeing whether you can get equal velocity in hurling the sippy cup versus the dump truck. Suddenly a giant -- reminiscent of your loving mother, but somehow transformed into someone rough and scary, grabs you and drops you onto the couch. Would you really hear anything she said, or would you go a bit floppy?
Yes, of course you have to stop her when she is being destructive to creatures or things. But remember that when you see this behavior, your alarm bells immediately go off. You think there is an emergency and you go into fight or flight mode. Your toddler looks like the enemy. It would be hard, when you grab her, not to be rough and scare her.
If, instead, you can take a deep breath and say a little mantra (“There's no emergency”), you might be able to be a bit measured in your intervention. You might be able to move in close and scoop her off the dog and onto your lap. You might be able to put one hand on the dump truck and one hand on her arm, to stop the missile before takeoff.
Then what? Obviously, your goal is to teach her not to do these things. That's why you “talk” to her on the couch. But I would bet that when she's floppy, she's not listening or learning. If she's really in “flight” mode, then we know the learning centers of the brain shut down. But what if she isn't really frightened? What if she's just “floppy” because she can't bear another lecture (even a short one), and she knows she did something “wrong” again, and she just wants to get out of there? We all know what that feels like, and how little learning goes on then. Talking to her about her behavior isn't going to teach her much, at least not yet.
Instead, let's attend to the feelings that are causing the floppiness. Either she is frightened, or she is mad that her experiments in physics or dog domination were interrupted, or she is embarrassed and humiliated that you caught her doing something she knows is off-limits, or she was actually taunting you with her off-limits behavior, trying to get you to intervene and help her with some big feelings she can't manage. In all of these cases, talking with her won't help her. What WILL help is attending to her emotions. How?
She's on your lap, or you are next to her on the floor with one hand on her arm and one on the object she is about to hurl. Or she just hurled it, and you are still on the floor next to her. You look her in the eye. You say something like:
“That's not for throwing. We can throw a ball outside.”
“The dog doesn't like that. It hurts him. OUCH!”
She might cry, because she is frustrated, or frightened, or because your eye contact and kind voice and limit have put her in touch with those big feelings that were trying to find their way out. In that case, hold her and say “You don't like it when I stop you….You like to throw things…..You were trying to play with the dog…..I'm right here….You're safe.”
She might look at you defiantly and try to throw again or grab at the dog. In that case, she is testing both to see if your limit is serious, and to see if it is safe to assert her independence with you. You want her to know the answer to both questions is Yes. So you restrain her physically only as much as is necessary, and kindly, compassionately, repeat your limits regarding throwing or dogs, adding that you see her perspective and that there is a solution:
“That's not for throwing. I see you WANT to throw right now. We can throw a ball outside. Let's go out.”
“The dog doesn't like that. It hurts him. You WANT to play with the dog, don't you, Sweetie? Here's how: GENTLE, GENTLE.”
At that point, she will have learned that this is the rule and you will insist on it. She will have also learned that you see her perspective and care so much about her that you are trying to make her happy. She also learns the beginning of Win-Win problem solving. And by your modeling, she learns that we can stay calm even when we have big feelings, and that all feelings are acceptable but some actions have to be limited. All by attending to her feelings, without lectures about right and wrong.
AND while she may cry – which is good, to process all those big feelings – she won't be floppy, which is a way of hiding from life.
2. When she takes/grabs etc something she shouldn't have she will run like being chased. She is both having fun but also knows she is doing something she shouldn't.
This is another way of exercising her power. I suggest that you start playing Chase games with her daily. Just try to catch her and trip or fall down or bemoan how fast and uncatchable she is. Anything that gets her giggling shows you are on the right track. That way she gets the experience of out-running you without having to “misbehave” to do it.
Won't this reinforce her behavior? No, it diverts it. It meets her need, so she doesn't have to grab the scissors and run with it to get you to play this game.
What if she still grabs the scissors and runs away with it? Stop chasing so she stops running. Say calmly, “You have the scissors. Can you show me?”
When she brings them to you, resist the impulse to snatch them. Instead, have her hold them and show her the sharp edge. Then take her with you to get a piece of paper and show her how it cuts. Then let her cut, under your supervision. Then tell her that she can use the scissors with you again later, but right now it is time to put them away “safely” because you are going to go do X now, so the scissors need to go where they live. Then put them away out of her reach.
What does this get you? She learns safety. You give her mastery, which is a higher form of power than running away with a forbidden object. She learns that coming back to show it to you gives her something better than running away with it.
What if she doesn't come back to you? That is when it stops being a game and becomes defiance, which always signals that she needs you to connect with her. Why? Because all children want to just do what they want. But more than that, they want to stay positively connected with you. Defiance is saying she no longer cares about the connection. So your job is to put connection at the top of your list. Do a lot of roughhousing and laughing, and a lot of snuggling, and a lot of sharing her interests, and you will find that the defiance will fade. But for now, you will have to go to her, put a hand on the forbidden object, and repeat the scenario from #1 above that you use when she is about to throw something.
3. She will often seem to d o something because I asked her not to.
This is very similar to #2, above. Your daughter is proving that she CAN do what she wants. The truth is, she can. Our goal is to help her WANT to cooperate with you. But she won't be able to do that unless her needs for power and autonomy are being met.
Again, I would PLAY with her to work on this issue. At a time when you have time to play, make a game out of “reverse psychology” where you instruct her to do the opposite of what you want, making a big deal about how she doesn't obey you. Make it a jokey, fun, game, so she understands that it is indeed a game, and she will love playing it.
“Let's play the game NO, DON”T DO THAT. Ok, don't drink that juice….Oh, no, she's drinking that juice…..Ok, don't sit down….Oh,no, you're sitting down. Ok, whatever you do, DON”T give me a hug….”
As long as she's giggling, you're on the right track. Say “Ok, that's it, that means you get a huge snuggle!” Then grab her gently and give her a big snuggle and say, “When you do what I tell you not to, you must need a huge snuggle!”
Won't she think that defying you is a 24/7 game? No. When you are not playing the game and the limit is serious, your attitude and tone change, and she sees that immediately. 80% of communication is tone and body language. At that point, you set your limit just like you did in #1 a above, and help her with the resulting feelings. You can even say, "This is not a game. We don't hurt the dog."
But when you do announce the game and get her giggling -- often -- it will defuse her need to oppose you, and the tension between you. That makes her more likely to cooperate with your requests at other times.
At the same time, you will want to give some thought to increasing her sense of mastery and control in other ways so that she doesn't NEED to test you by defying you. Have you read the Aha! Parenting section on Toddlers.
Also, I think you will find this article very helpful: Parenting Your Strong Willed Child
Best wishes, and enjoy your spirited daughter! She sounds wonderful.
Parenting techniques may range from permissive and tolerant to authoritarian, severe and pushy. I think they must be somewhere at the middle and let’s call them assertive techniques. Be aware that parents and children are often stuck in an unhelpful and vicious cycle of chaotic and angry based actions and reactions, when it comes to solve a conflict. So be attentive how you manage your behavior in the relationship with your child! Also keep in mind that better parenting techniques predict better psychosocial skills and less psychological problems in child. Improving your parenting methods is likely to improve your child’s abilities to cope with social and emotional problems and conflicts.
Empathize. When your child misbehaves, don’t evaluate his behavior from within your skin, but put yourself in his position if you want to understand what have caused his behavior. Only from this perspective you will be able to offer him assistance and emotional support. Be attentive with your child; watch him deliberately so that he feels your attentiveness. Most important, say him often “I love you”, don’t rely only on the fact that you love him, he need to hear you saying it, this will make him feel accepted, even if you showed him that you don’t accept his misbehavior.
Discipline gently. Some say that parenting methods are linked to punishing due to the image of a punishing God in religious imagery. I think that was in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament the central rule is Love. So all of your actions and reactions toward your child must rise from Love and end in Love. Comment on your child negative behavior, but avoid hard punishment. Discipline doesn’t mean punish, but explanation and teaching. Show him consequences of his misbehavior, consequences that will affect him and others. Combine the discipline with the reward of appropriate behavior. When your child is irritable and misbehave, don’t take his behavior personally, but take it as a sign or symptom that something wrong is going on. Don’t escalate the problem by yelling, just step back, relax and try to figure out what is going on in your child inner and outer world. Remain calm and don’t engage in negative responses. There are four common causes of a child misbehavior: a) your child want your or others attention (so make sure he get what he want), b) they want to gain power over you (avoid confrontation and discuss things when situation is calmer or distract your child attention to something else), c) your child may seek revenge for what he interpreted as an injustice (his misbehavior come from hurt so don’t respond with anger, but with a caring attitude), d) he misbehave because he want to avoid a possible failure (don’t ask your child to perform something in others presence or something that he may see as being over his possibilities).
Write down home rules and stick them on the wall. Read and explain them each week or daily if necessary. Negotiate limits and agreements with your child.
Combine logic with love. Associate the parental control or limit-setting and direction with warmth and affection. Remain verbally and physically affectionate with your children, especially in conflictual situations, because this will make your child feel secure in your relationship. Treat your child with respect, even if you are angry and frustrated and put the accent on affection and acceptance, rather than on punitive discipline (so you will get the desired results). Use reasoning and ask your child to think at what he have done (why? is it good or bad? it is right or wrong?). Explain … explain … explain …, not only command to do something or interdict something, but explain why (causes, consequences). Use “when … then” inference, both in a positive and negative way.
Provide choices to avoid power struggle. To diffuse his strong reactions, be prepared to offer him alternative activities and distractions. Also anticipate reactions and have ready at least one kind of optimal reaction to his negative action or reaction. Anticipate both, yourself and your child’s reactions in order to be able to respond appropriate. Most important is to anticipate child’s emotional responses in different situations, then develop strategies of reactions. All this mean to rely on a wide choice of parenting techniques so that you will be effective in your parental interventions.
Build on child’s strengths and interests. Maximize his strengths and minimize his weaknesses. Encourage self-help attitude and behavior and also physical activities. Give your child small tasks to do, because accomplishing tasks and attaining goals form and strengthen his skills, at the same time giving him a healthy self-esteem.
Meet your child needs and most important understand your child’s fears. They may seem senseless to you, but for your child it is something very serious and real. Be humorous and playful, your child need you to play with him.
Ignore your child’s negative behaviors. Ignoring (avoiding giving any attention to your child) is an effective way to discourage a “not OK” behavior only and only if it is practiced consequently and consistently. Plan ahead which behaviors you want to ignore. Begin to ignore (no eye, verbal and physical contact) when negative behavior begin and stop ignoring when it ends, then give attention and praise positive behaviors.
Practice positive reinforcement – provide your kid with praise and positive feedback when he is doing something well. Praise positive behaviors more than negative ones are criticized. Use praise, not blame and criticism to change your kid behavior. Make use of your own behavior as a model to change the habits of the entire family and combine praise (for positive actions) with withdrawal of privileges (for negative ones).
Practice “time out” or isolation for a negative behavior – this mean not given attention for a short period of time or let him in another room for reflection. This time let child reflect on his behavior, because in a social situation he can’t do this in silence.
Connect with your child through stories. Therapeutic stories are a powerful way of reaching your child’s affective comprehension, because they allow kids to safely identify with the characters of the stories. This kind of stories speaks to your child in a powerful metaphorical way; they are entertaining and give messages to the unconscious dimension of your child’s mind.
Don’t try to be a superparent, you can’t be perfect. Don’t expect your child to be perfect too or to behave as an adult. Be patient and realize that each child is different, so don’t compare your child with others. Your expectations have to be a little over child’s possibilities, too high expectations make your child avoid what you want to do, because of the fear of failure. Be consistent and clear in your expectations. Also be consistent in your attitudes and behaviors, don’t shift them unpredictable. Parental inconsistency makes the child confuse.
Monitor and modify your parenting behavior as needed. For example, change your attitude and behavior from abusive to nonabusive, but assertive. Be aware of your automatic attitudes, reactions and responses in specific conflictual situations. Are they optimal and appropriate or aggressive and intolerant? Creatively generate your own (personal and appropriate) various child management strategies. When the usual and customary parenting techniques or methods don’t work, try to be more creative and flexible!
This is a matter of effective and efficient parenting and education: think for the long run too, not only for “here and now”. Your method may solve a conflict “here and now”, but think how the way you acted will affect your child’s future. An intelligent and wise parent must adjust his parenting techniques to the developmental level of his kid; you can’t apply the same methods in the same ways to a ten years old child as to a three years old child. Also you have to individualize (match with child’s temperament traits) and contextualize parenting methods for different children and different situations. An optimum technique will work best and bring you and your child best results, while a bad technique will bring you more difficulties and your child more frustration.Subscribe
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