The terrible twos, the trying threes, and the fearsome fours are all difficult stages for parents to deal with in a child’s life. Never mind when they become teenagers and young adults.
If your kid is a bit naughtier than most, and he’s always getting into trouble, here are some things you could do about it.
Show Empathy and Compassion
As parents, we are often the closest people to our children. After all, we introduced them to this world, and they have spent most of their lives with us. Even so, this doesn’t mean that we know everything that is going on in their lives. We are not with them when they are at school or with friends. As such, we are not familiar with everything that might be troubling them.
Unlike the James Dean classic “Rebel Without a Cause,” kids are not troublesome for no reason. There is always a trigger to certain behaviors and a reason for rants, disobedience, and even lies.
Of course, deception cannot be tolerated, and we shouldn’t allow our children to do as they please. But it is our responsibility to inquire, dig a little deeper, and find out what is happening inside. And once we have identified the problem, we can seek help from a psychologist or make use of psychotherapy tools and training videos if the underlying reason for bad behavior is some kind of trauma.
Most importantly, we should be empathetic to them and show compassion. If they see we care, they will more than likely also put their best foot forward.
The Importance of Consistency
Imagine the following scenario. One day, your son comes home from school, and he looks sad and disappointed. After asking a few questions, you find out he was scolded by his teacher for repeatedly not doing his homework. You don’t want this behavior to continue, so you speak to him about the importance of being a good student and take the TV away for a few days.
On a different day, your son once again doesn’t do his homework. But this time, it is his birthday, so your spouse doesn’t do anything about it. Rather, he takes him for a burger and some fries and buys him an expensive gift. All through the day, he doesn’t even mention the homework.
It doesn’t seem like a very big deal. Yet, in the child’s brain, it is. On one occasion, he was punished for something, whereas on the other, he got a reward.
This generates a lot of confusion. The child doesn’t know what kind of behavior is acceptable and which one isn’t. As such, he might engage in further naughtiness to push the boundaries of what he can get away with.
To avoid this from happening, parents need to remain consistent both among themselves and each other. A mother’s education template should be in line with the father’s. It should also be consistent within herself. Only then will the child be able to recognize that bad behavior is not something without consequence.
Doing What You Can
You are not Wonder Woman, no matter how much you want or try to be. And your husband is not Superman, an all-powerful, righteous being with all the right answers to every question ever posed. He isn’t even Batman, a “regular” guy with flaws but having unlimited resources to overcome them.
Yet, many parents try to be. They try to do too much, especially when it comes to dealing with difficult kids. They fail to realize that every process takes time, and some days your kids will feel and act much better than others.
Keep in mind that your parents raised you, and you turned out fine. This means that you also have what it takes to raise happy, successful children.
If your kids are driving you mad many times, all you need to do is keep going. If you remain positive, do research on possible solutions, and take it one step at a time, often the answers will come up by themselves.
Doing what you can doesn’t mean being lazy and simply letting go. It is still your job to lead by example. The best thing you can do to improve your daughter’s behavior is by you behaving the way you think she should.
Whether they say it or not, kids are always looking at what you are doing. They’re always emulating what they see, be it good or bad. Don’t expect your kids to like vegetables if you hate them. Don’t ask them to exercise and take care of their physical fitness if you are a couch potato.
Raising children is never easy, especially if they are less than willing to help out. But there are ways to make this process more comfortable. You can try to be more compassionate and consistent with your behavior. Finally, you can use the tools you have at your disposal and stay optimistic.
By doing this, your kids will eventually find themselves once again on the right path.