Give yourself a pat on the back.
Parenthood is tough, and you’re doing the best you can.
You thought the worst was over when you no longer had to deal with dirty diapers, multiple middle-of-the-night wakings, and temper tantrums.
But it seems like the worst isn’t over. In the blink of an eye, you now have a defiant child on your hands.
He talks back to you. He disobeys you. He doesn’t pay attention in class. He refuses to do his homework.
Maybe the situation is more serious than that. Maybe he’s hanging out with bad company, or maybe he’s started smoking or drinking.
You’ve tried everything, but things haven’t improved. But rest assured that there’s hope, because the situation can get better.
Having mentored many rebellious, defiant children, I’ve come up with a list of 10 strategies that work…
1. When you’re angry, walk away temporarily.
It’s reasonable to get angry when your child is rude or disrespectful. But if you’re on the brink of losing control of your emotions, walk away.
Tell your child that you’re angry, and that you’ll address the situation later. This way, you won’t say or do anything you’ll regret later on.
Take 10 to 15 minutes to collect your thoughts and decide on an appropriate response. When you’ve calmed down – by that time, your child will be calmer too – start the discussion afresh.
2. Nag/scold less, and listen more.
Tweens and teens complain to me that their parents just don’t listen to them. When they try to explain their point of view, their parents often respond by saying:
- “Don’t argue with me.”
- “I know what’s best for you.”
- “When I was your age …”
- “Why are you being so difficult?”
- “When you grow up, you’ll understand …”
These responses cause children to become even more defiant.
Instead of nagging and scolding, trying really listening. Ask your child about her thoughts and opinions. Ask her how she feels. Ask her what she thinks you can do to be a better parent.
Then listen without judging or criticizing.
Gradually, you’ll get to the root of her rebellious behavior.
For a start, I recommend that you have 30 minutes of no nagging/scolding time every day. This could be the first 30 minutes after your child wakes up, or during dinner.
In this way, you’ll learn to kick your nagging/scolding habit and create a more pleasant home environment. [Read more…]