Getting Controlling Kids To Cooperate
Attempting to control, argue with, or quit dominating children simply worsens the situation.
It’s a never-ending downward spiral.
There is a missing component.
When children bury their heads in all of these controlling or strong-willed behaviours, they feel helpless.
Unless a youngster is feeling utterly out of control, there is no need for them to desire control.
Because they, too, are weak, parents may try to exert greater control in situations where they believe the child is attempting to exert control over them.
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Controlling Kids Can Increase The Childs Desire For Control
As an example, if you try to make a dominating youngster sit in the corner and they refuse, you’ll see this. When you place a youngster in a corner, they battle you and try to get out over and over again.
When you set a boundary with an older child, such as taking away a tablet, the youngster will go to any length to disobey you and sneak the tablet when you’re not looking.
- These are some of the things you might see in youngsters who want to be in charge…
- A child’s personality appears to be strong and domineering.
- They are constantly defiant to being told what to do.
- They revert to physical violence or snitching on others.
- They are frequently branded as “bad,” “naughty,” “rude,” or “bossy.”
- They try to inform another child which toys are appropriate for them to play with.
- They refuse to accept anything.
- They will not drink from a specific cup.
- They refuse to dress or change their attire.
- They’ll shout and tell you, “That’s not how it’s done!”
So, with a domineering child, how can you set boundaries and turn things around?
(Because children who are feeling out of control require immediate assistance and advice from their parents!)
This is where the secret lies.
When dealing with controlling children, the key is not to exert more control over them, to try to eliminate their desire for control or to demonstrate to them that they do not need to act in a controlling manner.
The key is to assist them in finding something they can control that is acceptable to both you and them.
This brings you together as a team, satisfies the children’s need for control, and keeps them working within the limits you set.
To provide you step-by-step guidance, I’d like to tell you about Language of Listening®, a three-part parenting paradigm that I use and teach to parents just like you.
Describe What You See
is an important milestone in parenting. This is the step when you connect the dots. This is where it takes you out of your head, where we live in judgement and logic, and into the present with a child, where we can both agree on what’s going on.
So it’s the neutral zone where we can meet our children when we can describe what we see. You can then provide direction to your children.
That is, after all, what parenthood is all about.
It might sound somewhat like this in the “He’s gazing at me” example above:
“You don’t want him to look at you!” says the narrator. You despise it! You’d rather be invisible or have him leave you alone. That way, he wouldn’t notice you.”
Other responses that could be used in a number of scenarios include the following:
“You didn’t want it that way. “Wish you could…”
“You want to…”
Declaring what the youngster wants or wishes is a terrific place to start when trying to change the circumstance. Only when children feel heard and understood will they open up to your advice and perceive answers with less resistance.
Find Things Your child Can Do
You designate a CAN DO for your child if you observe something you don’t like. Something the youngster can do to address their needs as an alternative. It’s an empowering move to let your child realise what they CAN control instead!
Here are a few samples to get you started.
The child does not want to be looked at.
You have the option of closing your eyes.
You are free to exit the room.
You can act as though you’re not there.
You can use a blanket to keep warm.
The child wants to go out with his buddies but is not permitted to do so.
You and I can choose where we go together.
You have complete control over which game we play at home.
You have the option of being alone in your chamber.
You are welcome to visit the park. If you wish, I can take you.
A child wishes for a toy to be given to them by another child.
You can request a turn from her.
You can wait until she’s finished with her work.
You can give her one of your toys to swap.
Before your friends come over, you can store toys you just desire for yourself hidden in your room.
You can put it on your birthday or Christmas list, and it will be yours to keep for the rest of your life.
Child becomes physically abusive or picks on others.
If you’re angry enough to hit, you can rip this paper or hit a pillow.
Those are words you can scream in the bathroom.
In your bedroom, you can rant at the wall.
You can scribble it down and tuck it under your pillow.
The finest solutions will ultimately come from the youngster. If the youngster already has a strong need for power and control, allowing them to choose their own solutions rather than relying on you will be a huge plus.
I adore using the all-purpose CAN DO like this to help your youngster come up with solutions: There has to be something you can do!
If you’re willing to negotiate, say something like: There’s got to be something we can do!
Name Strengths That The Child Has
One of the tenets of Language of Listening is that every child possesses unlimited inner strength. This is significant because children act in accordance with their self-perceptions.
Every potential strength that your child requires to flourish in life is already present within him or her.
You can point out the STRENGTH when a youngster accepts the CAN DO.
It’s never fluff or meaningless praise when a child’s STRENGTH is named after something the youngster did. It’s based on real-life experiences and observations.
“You did this,” you can tell a child when you describe what you saw. You figured out a way to maintain control in a way that benefits everyone. That demonstrates your problem-solving abilities,” you say, anchoring the strength in a way that they can relate to.
It becomes a part of who they are, and it shapes their future acts. This is the key to understanding why STRENGTHs work.
Controlling Kids Turn Into Self Controlled Kids
This need is met when you can show your children how to meet their desire for control in a way that benefits everyone. They feel in command, and they cease attempting to gain power in ways you may not appreciate.
Ghandi, for example, was one of history’s most influential figures, and he was well aware of it. But he didn’t have to go around demonstrating his dominance.
When a child notices that her big brother is staring at her and she doesn’t like it…
You’ll notice her gently stroll away from the kitchen table, collect a blanket from the living room, and return to the kitchen, where she sits at the table with the blanket draped over her shoulders.
And then there was nothing…
She understands that her brother does not have the ability to throw her into an emotional tizzy.
She understands that the greatest power comes from the inside.
And no one on the planet can handle it.
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe To My Parenting NewsletterSign Up For My Parenting Newsletter for tips on creating a happier home and becoming a more positive parent. As a bonus when you subscribe you’ll get a copy of my FREE Growth Mindset Printout For Kids which is the KEY to raising resilient kids with a growth mindset.
2. Register For A Pretty Awesome FREE 60-Minute Class:Register for a free class called GET KIDS TO LISTEN THE RIGHT WAY; an exclusive FREE class from nationally recognized parenting coach, Amy McCready.
3. Sign Up For A 7 Step Positive Parenting CourseEnroll now in the most in-depth parenting class. After discovering these common sense, easy-to-implement, research-based tools you can learn how to:
- Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
- Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
- Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)