Why Does Your Child “Act Out?”

A Deeper Look at Parenting.

 


Understanding Your Resistant Child

 

If you have a child that’s defensive, you already know how hard it is to get past that barrier and get cooperation going.  Back when I was a parent of smaller children, I could “feel” the resistance when my child used it with me.  Did I stop to really think through what was happening when my son and I were in the middle of a “thing?”  No, but I wish I had.  I could have saved myself months, okay—even years, of grief if I’d known at all (1) what was going on and (2) how to handle it.

Here are some brief, but I hope helpful, thoughts about your child’s resistance and how to handle it.

 

1. Getting Attention

 

One.  To get attention your child may:

 

            Make faces, talk continuously, say shocking things, brag, ask questions in a sincere and sweet way, or kick and poke others.  And, so on.

 

Two.  Your child hopes to get:

 

            More individual attention and/or special service.  Parents may feel annoyed and irritated and will complain about having to tend to the child, but often will do it anyway.

 

Three.  The best actions parents can take are:

 

            Ignore your child; say nothing, do nothing.  Work at not showing your irritation or annoyance; your child wants a “rise” out of you.  When she demands attention, don’t give it.  Focus on yourself or something else.

 

Four.  How to help your child give up her need for special attention:

 

            Treat her in a warm, accepting way when she isn’t trying to manipulate you.  Act friendly as consistently as you can. 

 

***  Above all, do not “pay off” her attention-getting behavior. ***

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2.  Competing for Power

 

One.  To compete for your “parent” power, your child may:

 

  • scream
  • throw herself on the floor
  • criticize
  • whine
  • cry
  • act stubborn
  • throw things
  • disobey
  • act superior
  • blame

 

These behaviors are a “step up” from those attention-getting ones she’s tried previously.

 

Two.  The child hopes to get:

 

     Your parent power.  You, parents, or her siblings, may try to match her behaviors, hoping that will stop her. You may even increase your responses, trying to “top” her behavior.  You may also give in to her because you feel sorry for her.  Don’t.

 

Three.  The best actions parents can take are:

 

     Do nothing.  Refuse to engage in a power struggle with her.  Continue whatever you’re doing, keep cool, or walk into another room.  Refuse to feel sorry for her.

 

Four.  How to help your child give up her desire for power:

 

     Treat her in a warm, accepting way when she isn’t trying to manipulate you.  Act friendly as consistently as you can.  

 

*** Above all, do not “pay off” her desire for power. ***


___________________

            Parents, please don’t be discouraged if your responses don’t work immediately.  They won’t. Once defenses get entrenched, you have to really stay at it for a while.  That’s because they’re very strong.  Gradually though, you’ll see that they diminish and finally disappear.

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            As usual, any questions you have about this article or anything else on my website, please email.  I’d love to hear from you.

 

      Warmest wishes until next time,

                                               

Thanks so much for reading.  And, if you think others would enjoy this, please share. 

 

  

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1 comment

  1. Meg June 19, 2012 at 8:53 pm Reply

    Great information!

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