Most of us really are good parents. We don’t always know it. In fact, most of us would do almost anything for our children. The problem is our world is moving too quickly. Adults are too busy, which lead our children to wonder about our caring as well as our parenting.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about your parenting:
- Deep inside, do you know your child is really a good kid?
- Do some traditional discipline methods backfire?
- Do you know how your voice, body language and creativity discourage cooperative behaviour?
- Does your child often act before thinking?
- Do you miss opportunities to encourage positive, creative behaviours?
Most children are considered “difficult” from time to time, mostly when they are being uncooperative or oppositional. There are different classifications of “difficult” behaviour. One classification are those children whose parents will say they get more difficult when they are tired, cranky, frightened or just being plain stubborn. However, these children are not normally difficult.
Of course to answer all theses questions and to go into details would be a full course for parents in itself. In fact, that’s what it is. But let’s see if we can touch on some of the key factors for understanding our children’s behaviours. First, let’s agree that most of our children are really good kids at the core. Secondly, let’s agree that, at times, some of their behaviours are rated as bad.
However, more parents will define “difficult” behaviours as not just stubborn or oppositional, but those kids that act out for no apparent reason. They also describe that such behaviour is chronic, defiant, disrespectful and belligerent. Also, parents who describe their children as truly difficult will say that their behaviours are often self-defeating for the child and result in serious consequences which rarely change or improve. Such parents are often frustrated and will often say that nothing seems to work with such children.
It seems that a common factor of such difficult children is that the behaviours make the parents frustrated, hopeless, helpless and angry.
Regarding parenting, we have to ask ourselves three basic questions all surrounding a primary question. That is, what is our motivation for having children? The questions are:
- Why do people want children?
- What do we want for ourselves?
- What do we want from our children?
The reality is that we hope for their future as well as our own. As good parents we hope for our children to grow to be healthy and responsible. We hope to nurture them, train them, teach them and care for them. To do so, we must teach them the three basic C’s:
- Control of self
- Common Courtesy
Teaching the three C’s to difficult children is the foundation of successful behaviour management.
Joyce Divinyi in her book, Good Kids, Difficult Behaviour, discussed the personal resources we have when we work with children and youth. She refers to these as Personal Power Tools, which increase the success rate for working with difficult behaviours as well as making it more enjoyable working with your child. Look at the power tool belt she suggests wearing when working with difficult children:
- Individual Energy Supply: Difficult children and youth can be very draining. As I always tell parents, you have to think of yourself also. With high energy children, you must protect your energy supply and finds ways to re-energize.
- Attitude: Negative attitude can drain energy. Maintaining positive attitude can be extremely challenging. Your attitude is the one thing over which you do have control. You must focus on the power you have, not on the power you do not have.
- Body Language: Always be aware of your body language when dealing with difficult children. Use it to express confidence, openness and authority.
- Voice: Difficult children need to know you are in charge and know what you are doing. Yelling means you are out of control, whereas a firm, low voice lets the child know you mean business.
- Sense of Humour: Humour, when used properly sends messages that you are not an adversary to your child, as well as that you are certain of your authority.
- Creativity: This is an essential tool for working with difficult youth. Being one step ahead of them is powerful. Search for creative rewards and consequences to engage the resistant child.
- Positive Expectations: We usually get what we expect. It is easy to expect the worst from these kids and then that is what we get. However, by affirming your confidence it will lead to their confidence.
- Positive Relations: Even difficult kids are willing to work harder to keep the good opinion of someone they believe genuinely cares for them and believes in them.
By setting the right boundaries and approaching challenges with patience, you can model good behaviour for your child and bring out the best in them. At Regesh, we are always here to support you in developing effective strategies and communication to strengthen your relationship with your child.