Parents usually have good desires for their kids. They want kids to be respectful, responsible, faithful, obedient, and so on. But when parents make these behaviors their primary goals for parenting, their kids tend to resist. Why? Kids tend to resist because no one likes to be controlled – and parents’ good goals are usually mingled with a little selfish motivation of “wanting life to go smoothly for my benefit” that kids pick up on. So when parents’ varied efforts to meet these goals are met with children’s resistance, parents and kids alike feel frustrated.
In order to relieve their frustration, parents then often repeat their varied efforts with more force and the problem grows in intensity. Over time the relationship becomes defined by the adversarial struggle as both parent and child become more discouraged.
We have seen many parents reverse this cycle, and learn to much more effectively influence their children by learning to embrace a new primary goal for discipline. Instead of the primary goal of gaining right behavior, we invite parents to make a primary goal of winning their children’s respect. After all, just because we’re parents doesn’t automatically mean our kids will respect us. We must earn this respect by not “exasperating our children” (see Eph. 6:4).
The following strategies have helped many parents reverse the control/resistance cycle:
- I will work at staying calm when my kids misbehave.
- I will model the behaviors I desire in my child.
- I will make sure the child knows love even when they misbehave.
- I will ask them questions that help them learn.
- I will recognize the talent in my child’s misbehavior and invite the child to use that talent in more honoring ways as their consequence.
This shift toward these strategies is all focused on stuff parents can fully control — namely, ourselves. Embracing this approach has made a HUGE difference for many struggling parents.
If you can do it on your own – make this shift. If you want to make this shift but find it too hard to do on your own, enlist a Connected Families coach for a four session coaching package and you’ll be well on your way.
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