The Awesome Thing about Your Kid’s Misbehavior…

The Awesome Thing about Your Kid’s Misbehavior

The rough-looking teen’s tough veneer had softened. I detected tears in his eyes.

“No one has ever said anything like that to me.”

Just minutes before, I met this teen in a line at our local amusement park. After a brief conversation, I dug a little deeper and asked Jared what he was good at. “Are you kidding?” He seemed angry. “Look at me.” Violent tattoos, tattered dark clothes, a defiant countenance and multiple piercings on his ears, nose, eyebrows and lips were suggestive of a hard life.

What to do when kids swear or say OMG…

Swearing and OMG (1)

“S#*t,” “Oh My God.” …or “What the _____?” We’ve heard from numerous parents that this kind of language hurts their ears as well as their hearts. If this is a struggle in your family, here’s how you might respond through the Discipline that Connects framework.

“You are SAFE with me!”

To communicate emotional safety while addressing your kids’ word choices means coming alongside them as their understanding helper instead of their judge (can they ever tell the difference!). Are your kids worried they won’t fit in? Do they even know what the words mean?

In the same way, it’s helpful to understand what might be behind your angst when your kids say offensive words. Consider these questions:

Prep Your Kids for a Responsible School Year

Getting an education is a tremendous privilege. Most parents recognize that future opportunities are built on many layers of learning that happen during the school years. That’s why when kids make poor choices at school, either behavioral or academic, parents usually get pretty upset. If we are honest, it’s mostly because we think our kids’ bad judgment or irresponsibility reflects poorly on US! But really, their behavior is THEIR “report card” and not ours. As school approaches, take some time to prepare your children to be responsible for themselves this school year.

Prep Your Kids for a Responsible School Year

Social Anxiety: How to Help Your Shy Child Bloom

shy hiding child

Parents usually love when their kids are outgoing and gregarious crowd-pleasers. But when kids clam up parents tend to get a bit anxious themselves and make the proclamation — or maybe more the apology — “Oh, he’s just a shy one.” The “shy” label may be somewhat accurate, but it does nothing to honor the child or help him become more confident about who he is.

Does Punching an Object When You’re Angry Actually Help?

Have you ever directed an angry child to go punch a pillow, hoping that would provide some release of their frustration? Parents have even bought their angry kids punching bags in hopes it will help. Good idea. Bad plan. It turns out this usually backfires.

boxing gloves punching

RadeLukovic | iStockphoto.com

Here’s why: Punching a pillow or yelling loudly to let off steam does nothing to constructively direct the anger. It gets a kid all worked up, adrenaline flowing, with no real resolution to their anger. After the punching and yelling are done, the problem is still there, and the child has learned to aggressively vent their anger at something they’re not really angry at. This usually teaches kids to be passive aggressive.

So if your idea is to truly help your kids constructively express their anger, help them make a plan that involves expressing it at the object of their anger. Help them learn new skills for constructively expressing anger.

12 Misbehaviors and the God-Given Gifts Behind Them

Seeing Strengths Even in Struggles

12 Misbehaviors

Did you know that one of the most critical times for a parent to affirm a child’s talents is when they misbehave? It’s true. We are all born with giftedness–but even good gifts can get twisted by sin (Romans 7:21 reminds us, “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”). The challenge for parents is identifying the “gifts” within the misbehavior; what we call “Gifts Gone Awry.”

Gifts That Have Gone Awry

All talents or gifts can be used for God’s purposes, but they can also be distorted by selfishness and sin and used to serve misbehavior. When this happens, the gift is still present, but it’s gone awry. To punish the misbehavior without affirming the talent behind it may both reinforce the child’s identification with the sin (I’m bad!) and stifle or weaken the talent’s use in honorable ways. It is therefore critical when correcting a child’s misbehavior to also affirm and find a positive use of the gift that fueled it.

Need help identifying the gift behind your child’s stubborness or stealing?  It can be tough, but here are some examples of common misbehaviors and some gifts/talents that tend to drive them.

How a Pipe Cleaner Can Stop Your Child’s Meltdowns!

A Practical Idea for Teaching The Skill of Flexibility

Pipecleaner
Does your child sometimes unexpectedly meltdown at the drop of a hat? Does unexpected change or inflexibility lead to frequent tantrums? If so, you’re not alone! As a parent helping kids sort out their frustrations can be a challenge, especially when they have a tantrum that ramps up quickly.  Practical tools that help a child understand how their behavior affects others can be simple, like the following example from Jen and her son Jonah.

Despite Jen’s best efforts, her goal of trying to stop her son’s meltdowns just seemed to make them worse. After realizing that she needed to be more proactive instead of waiting for those inevitable outbursts, Jen worked with Lynne during a parent coaching session on a new plan. Here is her story:

Your kids: Responsible or Spoiled?

The Key to Avoiding Entitlement:

Stop doing stuff for your kids that they can do for themselves - red

Are you unknowingly too child-centered?

We wrote recently about the problem of entitlement among children — about how many well-meaning parents, without thinking about it much, have become too child-centered. The article struck a nerve. Some felt offended or were defensive, while most strongly agreed but asked for more ideas about how to keep their kids from feeling entitled.