Raising a defiant and spirited child can be a challenge and a drain. But so is the task of collecting and attempting to implement all the management ideas, strategies, and interventions you pick up along the way.
It’s like taking golf lessons. You reach a point where your head is so full of what you are supposed to do that you can’t play the game. You become so intent on every stance and every move that you lose completely the ability to hit the ball. Joy for the game takes a nosedive until you recover and realize “fun” shouldn’t be painful.
What do you do? Well, I can’t help you with your golf game (I’m terrible at it), but with your children, do this: Take a moment to clear your mind, then reflect on just three things.
Speak to yourself as you apply these three; they just might serve to bring back a more hopeful perspective. The three are Understanding, Affirmation, and Empowerment.
Understanding: Knowing how and why inappropriate behavior happens helps me realize it’s not always a personal war against me. Sometimes inappropriate behavior comes out of insecurity, confusion, embarrassment, and fear.
Affirmation: I love my children, no matter what. I will take and make the opportunity to tell them so in words and actions.
Empowerment: Empowerment is the fuel of responsibility. The ultimate responsibility for long and lasting change is in my child’s hands, not mine. All I do should encourage appropriate empowerment and responsibility.
Find ways to demonstrate Understanding, Affirmation, and Empowerment with your children. It WILL make a difference.
A nationally recognized child and adolescent psychologist, author and speaker, Dr. James Sutton is in demand for his expertise on emotionally and behaviorally troubled youngsters, and his skill for sharing it. He the founder and host of The Changing Behavior Network, a popular internet radio program supporting young people and their families, and every month he publishes The Changing Behavior Digest, offering tips on managing difficult children and teens. Both resources (and others) are available at no cost through his website.