5 Tips for Parenting a Difficult Child
Most parents will use the word “difficult” to describe their children at some point. Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, this article will teach you how to raise challenging children and bring collaboration, compassion, and understanding into your household.
Children are children; whether they are three, eight, or fifteen years old, they have their own beliefs about the world, which may or may not coincide with our own. This is where we argue, fight, try to integrate threats, and occasionally punish one other (more on punishment (fear conditioning)s next week). It’s a natural and anticipated aspect of life/childhood/parenting when it happens “here and there.” When it appears like the relationship is devolving into a power struggle, it’s a wake-up call to start again and do things differently.
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What Classifies A Difficult Child
We will label childrens that are rebellious and/or resistive, who appear to have difficulty following directions and working with their parents, as challenging.
I’ll have to travel back in time to answer this “when” question (whether your child is a toddler or an adolescent – disobedience and resistance don’t appear overnight). When parents enrol in my online parent coaching programme, I always start at the beginning: all humans, including children, like making their loved ones happy.
Everyone has a basic and existential need for connection, and as a result of this need, everyone strives to collaborate with others to whom they are linked. When there are frequent power battles and a lack of collaboration, the relationship will be harmed at some time. It wasn’t handled well, and now everyone is suffering the consequence. So, what can we do to improve (growth mindset) things?
Our Language Matters
This may appear strange, yet it is correct. When there is a power struggle here and there, it does not impact the way we experience our children; but, when we only fight, our experience is greatly influenced (as it should be), and this shift in experience pushes us to modify the way we speak. Then we start saying things like “resistant,” “defiant,” “argumentative,” “difficult,” “misbehaved,” “mean,” and so on. Without realizing it, we have placed a label on our children.
Children accept our words exactly as we say them, owing to their strong need to connect. Most children would not naturally vouch for us if we did not believe them; instead, they believe us since we are their primary caregivers. Even if our comments cause them pain.
Our experience alters when we use bad language to characterize our children. Our expressions, tones, and gestures alter. The change from optimism to negative affects all aspects of our children’s lives, including their perceptions of themselves. When children are branded by their primary attachment subject, they will either accept or reject the label.
This is why we should discuss the childrens behaviours and motives rather than the child herself. We should state “you just did an extraordinarily kind deed” instead of “you are such a helpful person!” – yep, even with “positive” descriptors, it counts.
How To Parent A Difficult Child
Winning the battle against disobedience and resistance is a long process, but it could be the most essential duty we owe to our children as parents. Not only is this about maintaining our relationship, but it’s also about enabling our children to live their life according to THEIR meanings rather than our interpretations.
Here are the steps; while we should start someplace, they all exist simultaneously:
Return to the heart’s origins to strengthen the bond. We are doing the wrong thing if we take our children on a one-on-one date and reprimand them and tell them how terrible their actions and thoughts are. Children enjoy answering questions when they believe they are being asked out of pure curiosity, and they will share when they do not expect to be judged.
Meet Their Needs
Observe without judgement, relying on our emotions rather than our heads. “Resistant” and “defiant,” as well as all the other adjectives we use to describe children, are OUR assessments of the actions they perform or the words they utter in an attempt to have their needs met. Only when we have moved past the evaluation and into the true experience our children are having can we have a genuine discussion. Otherwise, we won’t even be discussing the same topics.
Connecting before communicating is a good way to practise successful communication. It’s incredible how much a little touch, a loving word, or any other show of connection may influence cooperation. We’ve become accustomed to living in a disconnected world where demands are yelled at from across the house. Children aren’t quite there yet; in order to communicate, they need to be connected.
Raise self-reliant children who understand that their choices matter, since our choices won’t matter all that much. We need to feel in control of our life, our decisions, and our acts. Autonomy is a human existential need. Children whose life experiences are characterized by a frequent rejection of their words, wants, thoughts, and choices will become increasingly rebellious and resistive as time passes. By addressing our children’s desire for autonomy, we enable them to take their own path rather than resisting ours.
Assume Positive Intentions
Even if the situation appears to be unfavourable, always assume positive intentions. Although most parents find this difficult, it is one of the most useful recommendations. Returning to the idea of labelling, this is a piece of empowering advice for children to help them reconnect with their inner motives (rather than anger or frustration that are directed at us, their parents). Say something like, “I’m sure you just wanted to snuggle him, you’ll get it right next time.” Instead of telling her, “How many times do I have to tell you,” say something like, “I’m sure you just wanted to cuddle him, you’ll get it right next time.” Let us pause and MAKE A CHOICE to nurture positivity whenever an instinctive reaction is ready to leave our lips.
The list appears to be modest, with only five suggestions, yet they are life-changing suggestions for dealing with “difficult” children. We will be able to put any relationship back on track (yep – any relationship) if we follow the steps as stated, acting from our emotions rather than our heads.
The beauty of Nonviolent Communication is that it is applicable to ALL HUMAN BEINGS, regardless of age; it is a key to communication unlike any other, and it has the ability to alter everything it comes into contact with. Give it a go; no one has yet to be disappointed.