Archive for March 11th, 2011
Dealing with a defiant child can be difficult. The cycle of anger can only be broken if trust is developed. Trusting your child is an important part of your relationship. Trust has to be earned by both of you. Remind yourself that your child may be struggling with lots of new feelings and his behavior could be a reflection of low self-esteem. Often, children act out because they are afraid of their parents’ temperament and worry over being a disappointment. Often, parents who are constantly angry, shouting, rigid or restrictive, encounter compulsively angry children. Parents have to get beyond the behavior, and address the behavior that “necessitated” the lie in the first place. It can be easy to lose your temper when your child is being defiant, but it is very important that you demonstrate control over your emotions. Children often learn that their outbursts can control their parents and the outcome of events.
It is important to work on your relationship with your child first, because no discipline will be successful unless this is the basis. Having a good relationship takes time. Allowing room for negotiation, compromise, listening before accusing, and keeping your volume down usually helps in paving the way for more honest communication. Continually reminding your child of past mistakes is not helpful. It is important to give your child a chance to try again after a mistake. Mistakes are how we all learn.
When your child talks, make an effort to really listen. Stop whatever you are doing, establish eye contact and pay attention to what your child is saying. Quite often what is said between the lines (the tone) is just as important as the words being spoken. Demonstrate an interest in what your child is saying by asking appropriate questions and responding in a positive manner. If a child’s comments are continually passed off as being of little consequence, the child will begin to feel that his/her opinions are not important. The following tips can help you learn to read the body language of other people and enhance your own ability to communicate effectively.
1. Pay Attention to Nonverbal Signals – By paying closer attention to other people’s nonverbal behaviors, you will improve your own ability to communicate nonverbally.
2. Look for Incongruent Behaviors – If someone’s words do not match their nonverbal behaviors, you should pay careful attention. For example, someone might tell you they are happy while frowning and staring at the ground.
3. Concentrate on Your Tone of Voice When Speaking – Your tone of voice can convey a wealth of information, ranging from enthusiasm to disinterest to anger. Start noticing how your tone of voice affects how others respond to you and try using tone of voice to emphasize ideas that you want to communicate.
4. Ask Questions About Nonverbal Signals – If you are confused about another person’s nonverbal signals, don’t be afraid to ask questions. A good idea is to repeat back your interpretation of what has been said and ask for clarification. An example of this might be, “So what you are saying is that…” or “I love you enough to be honest. I have noticed that….”
Listening and valuing adolescent ideas is what promotes the ability of parents to effectively communicate with them. When people feel bad, they feel that their pain is so bad that no one can really understand it. That’s why a person who is hurting would probably rather have you say, “Your pain must be awful. I wish I could understand just how sad (or hurt or lonely) you feel.” Sometimes the best way to show understanding is to admit that you can’t understand just how bad a person feels. The key to understanding what the other person feels is identifying her feeling. After we have listened carefully (and watched carefully) to learn how a person is feeling and acting, we might do one of the following:
Acknowledge or identify the feeling.
-”You feel strongly about this!”
-”You seem to feel very concerned (hurt, upset, confused).”
Invite more discussion.
-”I would like to understand how you are feeling. Will you tell me more?”
Understand that the person’s pain is special for that person.
-”I wish I could understand better how you feel.”
-”Ouch. I don’t know if I can even guess how terrible you feel”
Use active listening.
-”Let me see if I understand. You feel like…? “
-”It sounds like you feel lonely (confused, sad, etc.).”
Arguing only fuels hostility and it doesn’t get you heard. Don’t feel obliged to judge everything your spouse says. Retain the mutual right to disagree. Never try to reason with someone who is upset — it is futile. Wait until tempers have cooled off before trying to sort out a disagreement. Don’t try to talk people out of their feelings. You can acknowledge someone’s reaction without condoning it. An example of this might be, “I don’t blame you for feeling that way…” This type of response often defuses anger.
It can be very easy to lose your temper when your son is being defiant, but it is very important that you demonstrate control over yourself and you emotions. Always remember that you are the model for your child’s behavior. Be sure not to contradict yourself. If you tell him not to yell, but then you go ahead and yell, it sends a mixed message. It is important for you as a parent to be firm and consistent with rules. Having family meetings where family members are able to talk about their feelings or rules in the home often allows for communication about why these rules are enforced or how individuals are feeling. If you have established house rules, try to follow them yourself.
Although it is important to deal with the negative behaviors, it is equally important to identify and praise the positive ones. When your son does do something that is unacceptable, explain to them why it is unacceptable but then give him a replacement behavior that is appropriate. You may say “Yelling at your parents is unacceptable and you have a choice, you can use your words or behavior and either way their will be a consequence, but it up to you to choose.” Be sure to acknowledge your son when he has done the right thing. This will help the behavior to occur more often and also raise the child’s self-esteem by feeling that he can accomplish things.
If you believe that there may be more complex, underlying issues affecting your child’s behavior, it may be beneficial to seek professional assistance. Talking to a family counselor may be helpful.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )