If what you are doing is not working, you may as well try something different.

Do you find your child challenging?

So often, parents contact me when they just do not know how to handle a child who is challenging them. They know they are in a negative spiral, giving out to the child throughout the day, and the child becomes more challenging.

Feelings are key to managing behaviour

Yet, as I listen to the story, they ‘spill the beans’. Perhaps a baby has arrived recently or there has been a change in the home or at school. We know that when a child feels right, they behave right. Therefore, we need to see their difficult behaviour as coming from inner turmoil. Can you see a challenging child and now see that hurt people hurt other people? Can you see them crying for help?

Compassion is the best response

Ironically, when a child is difficult, they need to know that we see them as good people who misbehave sometimes. However, this is not the message many of our children get. The parent may raise their voice, or shout as them or tell them they are bold. Then, they may do what we want them to do, but only because the most important person in the world and the person they are utterly dependent on, has frightened them. If you want an obedient child, this is what to do, and they will conform and comply. However, they are not happy, but they have to bury how they feel as it is not safe to speak up.

Separate the child from the behaviour

The message the child needs to hear is ‘I love you, but that behaviour is not okay. Mom’s are for loving, not for shoving. Sisters are for loving, noto for shoving. I cannot let you hurt me or your sister, however when you feel sad or mad, you can come to me and I will make time for you. Do you feel I have less time for you since the baby arrived? Do you feel left out? Do you feel a little unloved?

Encourage your child to ‘spill the beans’

‘I hate him, because you never give out to him. You only give out to me. I am sick of that naughty step. I need you to make some special time for me, without the baby, because I feel wobbly since he arrived. You never have time for me. I feel you do not love me anymore, since he arrived’

Meet the need and your difficult child will not need their poor behaviour

Listen to the child, and respond to them in the way that they need. Make special time for them, just 8 minutes a day ensure they feel loved, valued and secure. Then, watch the child blossom and grow as you change your interation. Tel them what they are doing right, not what they have done wrong.

Parenting is Stressful

Therefore, like in the aircraft remember to put your own oxygen mask on first. When you take care of you, you can take better care of everything and everybody else!

Happy Parenting!