Most parents face mild to moderate challenging behavior from their kids from time to time. What’s the most effective way to respond?
- Decide which behaviors need to be addressed. As a parent, it’s a judgment call, but most parents agree there are times when you’ll want to “pick your battles.”
- Take responsibility for your own behavior, not your child’s disrespect. As hard as it is, remember: your child’s behavior is a reflection of him\her – not you.
- Stay calm : take self inventory. Learn how to respond v react.
- Define for your child what it is you are feeling and needing. Help your child define what it is they are feeling and needing. Talk to your child about which behavior is respectful and which isn’t. What you’re really doing is showing your child that when she treats others disrespectfully, she’s not likely to get many nice things done for her in return.
- Teach your child alternative problem-solving skills. If your child is handling her frustration or anger in a way that is disrespectful or unacceptable, talk with her about different ways she can express herself appropriately. Ultimately, it will be your child’s responsibility to manage her own emotions and behavior by using the tools you provide her.
- Learn how to empathically tune in, set limits & boundaries.
- Cultivate realistic expectations based upon who you, your child and your family are.
- Strive for conscious communication: the foundation of healthy Independence & Interdependence.
- Always: Focus on the Positive & Send Positive messages to your children
- Provide positive reinforcement. Recognize times your child does behave in a respectful way toward you or others and make sure he knows you’re aware of it: “You know, I really enjoyed talking to you this way today. I hope we can have more conversations like this.” Even if he was only respectful for a moment, notice and acknowledge it. You want to reinforce the behavior you want to see more often. Focusing only on behavior you don’t want to see won’t accomplish your parenting goal: to teach your child to behave in a respectful manner toward you and others.
This list is intended to open a dialogue with parents dealing with a child’s challenging behavior. Often parents struggle and wonder if they are being too lenient or too rigid. With children who are extremely defiant, disrespect can escalate into a pattern of verbal abuse or more serious rule-breaking. These behaviors are most often a part of a more serious pattern of conduct and behavioral issues and require the help of an expert in the field of parenting.
Even though a child’s disrespect can be a frustrating problem, often what we see as problems are also opportunities to teach our children valuable life skills. If you have a family or individual problem that you need help to solve, reach out and schedule a consultation with Board Certified Family Health Counselor:
Karin Yapalater, CHC, AADP \Park Avenue Integrative Health Practitioners