Posts Tagged ‘disrespectful children’
Saying No to One Thing Means Saying Yes to Another
As we Minnesotans watch an April snowstorm blanket the landscape with eight new inches of “pretty stuff”, it’s hard to accept “no” from Mother Nature when we yearn for Spring RIGHT NOW. We desperately want warm sun on our faces, robins and daffodils, not boots, gloves, and snow shovels!
Isn’t it interesting to note how as adults, we have experiences that thwart our desires, just the way our kids do? Last night, my son texted me an interesting thought to ponder. “When we say no to something, we’re saying yes to something else.” Then he typed, in his adorably thought-provoking way, “Opposition.”
When our children are oppositional, they are saying “no” to one thing, such as “brush your teeth”, “get off the computer”, “time for bed”, or “finish your homework.” What’s the thing they are saying “yes” to at that moment? Of course, you might answer, more freedom to play video games, more freedom to stay up late, more freedom to watch a movie instead of finish homework. But there’s more to it than that.
When children oppose their parents, they’re also saying “yes” to their own sense of who they are. As young as 12 months, they’re wired to start opposing their parents’ requests because they are exercising their newfound will. Is this a disrespectful aspect to all children? Some may argue yes. But it’s really more helpful and less conflict producing to see it as a natural developmental phase. As adults, this is our job and we even benefit from celebrating that our kids with big wills are on the right path. We do better to support their will, rather than try to fight it.
So, you might say to me, “How do we get the bath taken in time for bed, when all they want to do is play?” The answer lies in recognizing the emerging will as a vital part of the child’s growth as a person. Acknowledging how much they want to continue to watch their favorite show, play their favorite video game, or finish up their art project, will go a long way toward gaining cooperation. Say, “You’re really into this game, I can see! I notice that you’re gaining a lot of new skills by playing it. Finish this one game and I’ll meet you in your room, ready for bed in 10 minutes.”
This approach acknowledges the child’s will to play the game and also encourages, rather than forces, the letting go. (We all know how well it turns out when we try to force a child to do something.)
Here are the 5 steps:
1. Establish a routine bedtime with your children’s input during a family meeting.
2. Tell your child exactly how you will let him or her know it’s bedtime. Have him sit in front of the computer and rehearse this aspect. Place your hand on his back if he can tolerate it, and say in a respectful tone, “See what time it is? I’ll meet you in your room in 10 minutes.” That’s all. He knows when bedtime is.
3. Just wait respectfully for him to comply. If it takes longer than you thought, rehearse again tomorrow, but don’t lecture now.
4. Give heartfelt appreciation for coming when he does. Even if it’s a few minutes late, you want to let him know he’s been successful in coming to the room. Reward what you want, and you will see more of it.
5. Have a peaceful, appreciative end to the day.
If you need coaching help with these steps, or any other parenting challenge, click here.
What Your Child Can’t Tell You
It’s essentially a short-cut. If you want cooperative behavior from your kids, take the short-cut by training your mind to see what’s beneath the communication. Practice seeing your child’s innocence first, and working to understand what lies beneath the foul language, the time spent with the door locked, and the “interesting” style of dress. You will find a vulnerable, changing child who simply doesn’t have insight yet. That’s our job as adults … to gain the insight and act accordingly.
Rather than exhibit anger over disrespectful behavior, acknowledge there’s an emotion that the child cannot express directly lying just under the surface. Kids get hurt a lot easier than most adults realize, so they are compelled to protect their tender hearts by lashing out. If we don’t give them cause to protect themselves (by seeing what’s really going on) they won’t have to be so defensive.
So the next time you see a child “acting out”, ask yourself what’s being communicated. It will be an emotion that the child is too young or too immature to express directly, such as hurt, frustration, disappointment, hopelessness, or something else you can help to identify. Then address the child in those terms, rather than with your own irritation. Say, “You seem upset. Want to tell me what’s up?” or “How about you take some time in your own room until you feel better and we can talk?” or “I remember being your age and feeling that same way. Sit down, and let’s try to make this better together.” You are getting to the root emotion, rather than placing judgment on the child’s behavior. Congratulations! You are on the short-cut to better communication and better behavior with your child.
Copyright © 2011 Tina Feigal
Disrespectful Children – How to Handle Them
I have had so many calls from parents lately who say they have disrespectful children. If you know my style, you expect me to say, “What’s behind the disrespect?” because if we only see the behavior from the adult point of view, we won’t get anywhere with changing it.
Here’s what I mean:
From the ADULT POINT OF VIEW: “This child is sassy, won’t listen, ignores me, won’t comply, talks back, refuses to do what’s needed, and is a royal pain.”
From the much more useful CHILD POINT OF VIEW: “I am frustrated and I don’t know what to do with my anger. I have to fight everything my parents say to me because it’s the only thing I can do to make sure they see me. I just want them to SEE ME. I yell louder, and they still just give me orders. I ignore them, and they still just say what I do wrong. And they call me disrespectful, say I am lazy, and complain to my relatives, all of which makes me want to fight more. So I fight more, because they don’t see the real me.
I am much smarter than they give me credit for being. They repeat the things they want me to do like I’m a two-year-old and I don’t understand what they want. I totally understand what they want, but when they keep saying it, I feel insulted and annoyed. Can’t they see I’m a good kid, but I am fighting because they are saying things I already know? Don’t they see me?
Who wants to do what people say when all day long, it’s, “Come here. Pick up your things. Do your homework. Get off the computer. Go to bed. Can’t you listen?” I feel like a failure all the time, which never makes me feel like doing what they want.
I wish my parents could figure out how to talk nicer to me. I wish there was someone who could tell them what to say that makes me want to do what they want. It would sure be more peaceful around here. I’m not a bad kid, but I need to be talked to like they see me.”
Luckily there is a person who can help parents see what’s inside, from the child point of view, sort of like a child whisperer. You can learn how to talk to kids in a way that shows respect and gets rid of their disrespect. Call me at 651-453-0123 for a coaching appointment today if you want respectful, peaceful interactions with your child.
Looking forward to hearing from you! Learn more about parent coaching here.
Copyright 2010 Tina Feigal