What to do with rebel children?
8 great tips for tired parents
Rebel children come to teach us about interaction and cooperation (and patience, of course) so that parents can work out their own weaknesses and hear that inner rebel, whom they successfully learned to suppress in the process of growing up.
If you try and look at things through the eyes of a child, and also accept the fact that in many ways this young rebel is a repetition of your own childhood traits and ways of thinking, then much in their behaviour will become more logical and explainable. In addition, when you are an adult, you can track the triggers (situations when we lose the ability to control ourselves and start screaming, talk nonsense, spank and put kids on the naughty step) and learn to avoid them as much as possible. With children, and indeed with people in general, it is better to work to prevent conflict situations rather than resolve them.
From time to time I have such a little rebel at home, and we try and learn to understand each other a little more and a little better. However, we don’t always succeed and sometimes we go backwards and I start shouting. Then I clench my fists in frustration, feel powerless and try to suppress my anger, I then remember myself being a rebellious child, recall all the parenting courses I have attended and all the parenting books I have read and start to make some conscious parenting decisions.
1. It is impossible to change the world without changing yourself. Start with yourself. Critically assess your own behaviour, and try, if not to get rid of, then to take control of at least part of your internal fears and insecurities, because often protests and mini-revolutions are a direct response to overprotection and pressure from the parents. The more we are told not to jump from that high branch, the more appealing it sounds.
2. Look at the situation through the eyes of your child and try to understand what is behind his protest and rebellion. Try to figure out what triggers these moments of inexplicable stubbornness most often. For example: "You are angry because your Dad has gone on a business trip again and will not be able to come to school to see your game." Or "Are you angry because I talked on the phone for two hours and could not pay attention to you? I know it can be disappointing" Sometimes it is easy to figure out the reason for "that" behaviour, but sometimes it is impossible. Yet, you can always try again. Children notice all these attempts from their parents to get into their world and are willing to compromise. Or maybe one day they will randomly blurt out the reason and by that time you probably will have forgotten completely what they were talking about a week ago.
3. At least sometimes leave the last word to the child. This is much more difficult than it seems at first glance, since we are used to exerting our authority, age and knowledge. Sometimes, however, the ability to remain silent is worth more than a thousand words.
4. Let your child have control and make independent decisions. This is very important in life. And in situations where control is important, guide his decisions by offering limited choices. Give him the full right to choose clothes he is wearing at the weekend and accept his choice, even if he ends up wearing purple tights, yellow socks and a jumper with sequins. Or if you think that is too risky prepare and lay out three T-shirts and two pairs of trousers to choose from.
5. Speak in advance about the consequences of destructive or dangerous behaviour. If the child often runs away or fights with other kids, discuss the possible consequences before leaving the house. “Now we will go to the park, where we will meet friends and it will be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, if you run away or hit other children, we will have to get in the car and leave right away. " Make sure your child understands your intentions. And in the case of an "escape", calmly, but without talking or discussing, lead the child to the car. Even if you are having fun and do not want to leave yourself, the main thing is to follow through with the terms of the agreement. “I'm sorry to have to leave. You had fun too. I know. Maybe next time you stay with me rather than running away and we will stay for longer. " All this with a calm and friendly tone of voice and without "I told you so".
6. Keep in mind the established habits and patterns of behaviour. For example, the child will provoke you and will protest more and more increasing your irritation until you “lose it “ and yell or spank. After that, there will be a lot of crying and drama, and then he will calm down and cheer up. This can easily become an established behavioural pattern and a force of habit - calming down only after punishment and crying. Such patterns need to be changed. And as a parent you can only count on yourself and your adult mind. When the child is ready to initiate a conflict, break the pattern and offer him empathy and full acceptance of any emotional state. Exhale, hug, put him on your lap, do not let go if he kicks, and all this until he opens up and relaxes. Whisper about how glad you are that you have him in your life and how important he is to you ... And later, when the storm is over, you can discuss further actions in a calm atmosphere.
7. Collaborate. Do not be afraid to directly state your desire to interact and learn to ask children calmly yet firmly (an ask and an order are completely different things). The ability to ask for help with dignity is very important, and your child will learn it from you. For many people in our own and previous generations, asking for help was perceived as a sign of weakness. Yet in fact, many things in life can be simplified, corrected and even prevented if at the right time you can make a request. “I will be very grateful if you can help me carry my things from the car. I will carry the bag with the boots, and you will carry your ball. " "Please unload the dishwasher while I sweep the floor." The assigned and shared responsibility removes the desire to protest.
8. Remember to talk about your feelings, only without charges and accusations. Talk about what you are experiencing, send that "I-message" and it will reach the addressee much faster than an accusatory "You, you, you ...".
In general, it's great when a strong and independent personality grows in a family. The main thing is to stop thinking of him as a naughty child and a rebel. Address the strengths, not the weaknesses, focus on the solution, not the problem. Your child is persistent and confident. And that's awesome! You are almost certainly a strong stubborn person yourself, and it is not in your nature to give up and surrender. But you are older and wiser, remember this and search for a compromise. Believe me, your child is looking forward to it.