When All You Get is Resistance
by Tina Feigal Copyright © 2017
No, no, no, no, no! Are you exhausted from fielding way too many acts of resistance from your child? If so, let’s look at how to get rid of such strong resistance, and replace it with calm cooperation. I can almost hear you saying, “She’s obviously never met this kid!” You’re right, I haven’t met your child, but I do know a thing or two about how resistance develops and what to do about it.
First, when you see repeated resistance, ask yourself, “Why does she respond this way?” Figuring out why you see this behavior is the first step to resolving it. Pushing harder to make her comply is a step away from resolution.
Second, imagine you were in your child’s shoes, with a young person’s perspective. You are totally subject to your adults’ decisions, and you are growing up enough to make some of them yourself. But the adults don’t seem to see that you’re different, so you must resist them until they do. The message of resistance is, “SEE ME!”
Third, look for ways that you can actively notice the changes in your child’s abilities to make her own decisions. Maybe she chose away from a toxic friend last week, or maybe she decided to work on her big assignment with friends instead of going it alone. Maybe she just put her dirty clothes in the hamper without being asked. Or perhaps she was thoughtful to you in an unexpected way. These are all the experiences you can use to see her.
Fourth, let her know. Write a note to your child saying that you notice she’s changing. Tell her specifically how you see her growing, for example, “I saw you make a great decision about phone time last night. You brought it to the kitchen for charging at 9, as we’d decided, and you allowed yourself some unplugged time. That’s the sign of a truly grown up person, and I’m going to be on the lookout for more signs, as they are coming fast right now! I need to adjust my thinking as to how old you really are, and start treating you in a way that you deserve. ”
Fifth, watch the resistance melt. When you see your child for who she is right now, in the Present Moment, her need to resist you loses its purpose. Enjoy your victory, share it with your child’s other parent, and write about it in your gratitude journal.
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