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Parenting an Angry Kid – The Secret to Getting the Respect You Deserve

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Parenting Question

I have a parenting question about the challenges I have with a strong-willed child. The challenge we have is with our 12-year-old. When corrected, she will argue her point of view until the bitter end. Our point is never taken into account and it usually ends in a long drawn out yelling match. If you don’t agree with her point of view, she doesn’t feel heard nor understood. She becomes defensive and does not even listen to our side. For instance, we say black and she says white. My parenting question is: how can we prevent families from yelling matches and resolve issues with control and authority?

Sincerely,

Penny – One Tired Step Mom

Positive Parenting Advice from Family Counselor Kelly Nault on Dealing with an Angry Kid

Dear Tired Step Mom,

Being a stepmom offers a lot of challenges. I applaud you for taking the time to find a solution to your family stress. The key to solving conflict with an angry kid like your daughter is to understand what she wants and give it to her. And what an angry child really wants may surprise you.

Transforming an Angry Kid with R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Source: Max Pixel

An angry kid either wants greater control over his life or respect from his parents (and oftentimes both!). The more respect you give them, especially teenage kids, the more respect they will give you.

The word R.E.S.P.E.C.T is an acronym to give you some common parenting tips that can solve the conflict in your home.

R – Respect Your Child

Always treat your child as you want to be treated. This is sometimes easier said than done but essential to your success. Children imitate what they see. Even if your child has provoked you, falling into parenting traps, such as yelling or using harsh punishment, only teaches your child to lash out and disrespect you more.

The simplest way to determine if you are being respectful is to check yourself. Ask yourself: “Would I use this tone and say what I am saying to a friend or acquaintance?” If the answer is “no” (and you’re pretty sure that they would recycle you for a new friend), it’s time to change your tone.

E – Expect Respect in Return

We always treat children how to treat us. When children are disrespectful, it is important to respond in a respectful but firm way. This lets them know that you’ll not be walked over. Say something like, “I can see you are angry right now. I am happy to listen to you once you use a respectful tone with me. When you change your tone come and get me as I really want to hear what you have to say.” If they continue to be disrespectful, keep your mouth shut and walk away. Wait for them to come to you in a respectful manner before discussing any further.

S – Support Your Child

Supporting your children means having faith in their abilities to correct their mistakes. Refrain from “I told you so” comments and don’t spend a lot of time (if any) pointing out what they did wrong. Once things have calmed down ask them “How did that work for you?” “What did you really want?” and “How could you make it better next time?”

P – Positive Attitude

Keeping your positivity helps you to maintain a relaxed and cozy atmosphere. To sustain your positive attitude, you must get enough sleep and do enjoyable things. You can also spend quality fun time with each of your children.

E – Encourage a cooling-off period in the heat of the moment

Continuing a fight while you are angry will never solve a fight. When feeling angry, always take a short cooling-off period. Don’t escalate the fight and say something you will regret later on.

C – Create Family Rules for Fighting

When things are calm, create family rules for fighting. You should post them in special places around the house (even put one in your wallet and in the car).

Include the following:

What each family member will do during their cool-down period to make themselves feel better

An inspirational oath or prayer that you agree to read out loud after everyone has cooled down (before discussing the issue)

Specific ways each of you will listen to one another. To get the best results, create this document as a family.

T – Train Your Child

Good parenting means taking the time to show your kids how to do things on their own. Give them more responsibility for time. With a hectic schedule, it can be easier and quicker to do the task for your kids rather than taking the time to teach them how to do it for themselves. Training is what gives our children a chance to develop essential life skills. They also gain self-confidence, and ultimately feel respected.

How to Ask for an Apology from an Angry Child

Source: Pixabay

When we do something wrong, apologies are the path to healing. Apologies are precious commodities. It should not be thrown around lightly in conversation, and should not be wasted during a heated discussion. In times of conflict, we may say something like, “I expect an apology young lady!” in a tone that means “NOW!” But in reality, this is only verbal punishment. The time for apologies is when all parties are calmed down enough to give, hear and feel them.

You can absolutely ask for an apology from your child. But for any apology to be effective, it needs to be in flexible terms. A request for an apology should sound like this: “I would like an apology when you are ready to give it.” This simple statement is honest, clear and respectful. Parents aren’t the only ones deserving of an apology. It is important for moms and dads to apologize when they have messed up too.

Your family is fortunate to have you as their step-mom. By knowing that your angry child is seeking for understanding, you can solve the conflict. Give them respect, expect respect in return and watch your child’s behavior change for the better.

Parenting

Strategies for Resolving Conflict with Your Children

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Conflicts between parents and children have gone on since time began. As a child starts to learn how to talk, it seems they have likewise learned how to say ‘no.’ And they often say it often about everything from bedtime to eating their vegetables. What’s even more maddening is when they fight you on things you know they do want, like a trip to the park. It begins to seem as though children exist to be contrary.

Thankfully there’s help available. Below is a list of four strategies that will help you resolve conflicts with your child. What’s even more amazing is that these techniques work well whether you’re dealing with a toddler or a teenager.

  1. Don’t get sucked into the tension of the moment. Conflict with children quickly escalates. One demand becomes another until you’re so wrapped up in the whirlpool that you can no longer think or make a rational decision. At that moment you need to step back and take some time away. Take a deep breath and be calm. It might be time to let someone else watch the kids while you step outside and take a walk.
    Walking away from a conflict with your child is something of an art. The last thing you want is for the child to think you’re not listening to what they have to say. But every argument reaches that point where no one is saying anything new. It’s about here that things start to get personal, and indeed uncomfortable. That is the point of taking a break. But even this takes skill. Excuse yourself quietly. It’s not the time for a dramatic exit. Whatever the case, you’re going to have to let your own emotions steady out before trying to help your child to calm theirs.
  1. Calm down. Clearing your head will help you to be both calmer and more rational. Once you’ve removed yourself from the situation, then take a few minutes for yourself. Breathe deeply. Practice mindfulness or even a lot of prayer until you’re in a better place and able to be in control of yourself. Find that inner peace.

Source: Pixabay

  1. Become an active listener. When your child is upset about something, before assuming they’re wrong, ask them to explain why they’re upset. Then listen to their answer. Ask questions. Clarify. And then repeat back to them what you thought you heard them say. It might be that they have a legitimate concern. Or it might be they’ve misunderstood the situation completely. Either way, you’re now in a better position to help find a resolution to the situation.
  2. Practice empathy. Realize that there might be something more going on with your child than there appears to be on the surface. That will not only help you to calm down, but also might show you a possible solution, or at least a new way to address your child in a way that’s respectful and more compassionate. Keep in mind that your insights might well show you that the problem is with you.

    Source: Pixabay

  3. Empower your child. Allow them to make some of their own decisions. For example, rather than getting involved in a long fight over what to wear, allow your toddler to choose at least part of their outfit. It’s about learning how to pick your battles, saving the fights for the things that matter.
  4. Reconcile. Try apologizing. Recognize that it does take two people to get into an argument. Apologizing acknowledges the part that you’ve played in the situation and invites your child to do the same. This is a great way to teach your child how to resolve conflicts in a healthy way.
  5. Reconcile. Try apologizing. Recognize that it does take two people to get into an argument. Apologizing acknowledges the part that you’ve played in the situation and invites your child to do the same. This is a great way to teach your child how to resolve conflicts in a healthy way.

    Source: Pixabay

    You don’t have to live in dread of a conflict with your child. Having conflict is inevitable. What you do need is to learn how to take back control when the conflicts happen. How you deal with conflict says a great deal about you as a parent.

    Remember, it’s up to you to decide how you want to react to these situations. Being able to keep your cool in trying situations is an invaluable skill and one well worth cultivating, especially in parenting.

    By staying calm and practicing these steps and you’ll soon find the road back to a peaceful resolution with your child, regardless of their age. And in the process teaching them the invaluable lesson of dealing with conflicts in a healthy way.

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Parenting

So You Have A Picky Eater?

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If you have a picky eater, mealtime can make you feel like you want to pull your hair out. It is frustrating for parents to watch their child only fiddle with their food at dinner or not even touch it, claiming they “don’t like it.” So what happens? Thirty minutes later guess who is hungry? You guessed it. Your little picky eater.

Jamie’s mother was concerned about Jamie’s lack of interest in food. She stated, “Jamie never wants to eat anything I fix for dinner. What can I do to encourage Jamie to eat the meals that I have prepared?” I came up with the following ten tips for her. You may find them useful as well.

TIP: INVOLVE JAMIE. You can have Jamie help with planning the menu or meal preparation. Kids are less likely to “turn up their nose” at something, they had a hand in.

TIP: PLACE A LIMIT ON JAMIE. Let’s think that Jamie is playing with her food at dinner and not really interested in eating it. Mom says, “Jamie, I will be serving breakfast at 7:00 a.m. try to eat enough to make it to then. You decide how much you will need. Oh! We will be clearing the table in _____ minutes.”

When Jamie comes to you later that evening complaining of being hungry. With an understanding tone, remind her that you will be serving breakfast at 7:00 a.m. as usual. Jamie will most likely be persistent about getting something else to eat. It is important that you follow through with the limit you have placed. Otherwise, Jamie learns that you do not mean what you say and you lose your credibility with her. You may have to tell her several times that you will be “serving breakfast at 7:00” until she realizes that you’re not going to give in.

Jamie: “Mom I’m hungry. Can I have some cookies?”

Mom: “Kids who eat all their dinner are welcome to have a snack after.”

Jamie: “But mom I’m really hungry.”

Mom: “I know Jamie. I would be hungry too if I ate as little as you did for dinner, but don’t worry I will be fixing a big breakfast at 7:00 a.m.”

Jamie: “What? Do you want me to starve?”

Mom: “I’ll be serving breakfast at 7:00 Jamie”

Jamie: “This isn’t fair.”

Mom: “I’ll be serving breakfast at 7:00 Jamie”

Jamie: “Fine!”

TIP: NOTICE THE EXCEPTIONS. Call attention to the times when Jamie eats most of her meals. “Wow! Jamie, you ate everything on your plate. Good job. You should be proud of yourself.” Too often, we only notice the negative aspects of our children’s behavior and that is what we reinforce with our negative attention.

Source: Pixabay

TIP: CATER TO JAMIE’S DESIRE TO BE “BIG”. “ You won’t like this halibut, Jamie. Usually, adults are the only ones who like halibut.” Guess what may just become Jamie’s new favorite food?

Source: Pixabay

TIP: PROVIDE VARIOUS CHOICES AROUND MEALTIME. “Would you rather sit by me or by mommy?” “You can eat with a fork or a spoon which would you prefer?” “Do you think you will need more potatoes or is that enough?” “Have as much as you think you will need to make it to dinner.” “Milk or juice?” “Should we eat at 7:00 or 7:30?”

Source: Pixabay

TIP: BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL. “You know dear, although spaghetti is not my favorite, I will eat it because I know how hard you worked to make it.”

Source: Pixabay

TIP: EXPOSURE. Encourage Jamie to try a variety of foods early on in her life before she knows anything different. Some children may have never thought eating liver was gross if it hadn’t been for what someone else had set their expectation to be.

Source: Pixabay

TIP: PROVIDE SOME FLEXIBILITY. Let’s remember there are some foods that certain children can not stomach. If Jamie has a problem with spinach, but it is part of that particular meal, try to have other items. This way she can get her fill up on once everyone has their share. But, this should be the exception rather than the rule.

Try letting Jamie dip her food in sauces, dressings, syrups, and ketchup. It may make them taste better to her.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

TIP: MAKE MEALTIME ENJOYABLE. Try to talk about things other than eating at mealtime. Dinner is a great time to talk to Jamie about how her day went. During breakfast, you can discuss what everyone has planned for the day.

Anyone pitching in to help prepare a meal can teach Jamie an important family value. An added bonus for children is that it can teach them important skills. It can be about thinking skills like timing, measuring, colors, comparisons, counting, and cause and effect.

Be creative in the ways that you dish up Jamie’s food. Mold her mashed potatoes into a volcano. Then, cut her meat or sandwich into bite-sized pieces. Poke toothpicks in them and layout veggies in the shapes of letters or numbers. You can also use a drop or two of food coloring to make it more interesting.

Source: Pixabay

TIP: LIMIT SNACKING. For children to be hungry enough to eat a meal they usually need to go two or three hours without food. However, it is difficult for children to go from noon to 6:00 p.m. without food. A nutritious snack after school would be fine to get Jamie to dinner, still having her appetite.

Source: Pexels

TIP: RECALL PAST SUCCESSES. Think back to the times when Jamie had eaten her meals. What were you doing? Were you placing a lot of emphasis on her need to eat her food? What was she doing? What were you eating? What happened before the meal? These kinds of questions may help you realize some of the things you or Jamie is already doing which assist her in becoming a better eater.

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Parenting

Six Ideas To Help You Discipline Your Kid

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Got a kid? Love him or her? Of course, you do. So when he or she misbehaves on a consistent basis, what’s the best way to administer discipline?

Well, as you may be aware, there is a wide range of thoughts on this subject. One school of thought teaches hands-off to let the children figure it all out on their own. No punishment or reward systems. Another extreme says that the Singapore model of “canning” people for littering is a good one.

Most of us find ourselves between these two nutty positions. And the word “nutty” is being charitable. If you don’t think so, then stop reading. You’re a lost cause and should find yourself in a nice rubber room so that you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else.

Every child responds to anything in different ways. Some kids have a very high “pain” threshold. They can take whatever penalties you exact as they stubbornly refuse to do what they should do. There are others who can be easily motivated by various token systems.

So how do you find out what method of discipline will work for your kid(s)?

In a word: experiment! Here are six ideas for proceeding.
#1 – Put on your “scientist hat.”Research what’s out there. No author knows your kid better than you do. Many research studies can lead to various strategies for your kids. So knowing what’s been done before is a very good strategy in and of itself.

#2 – Once you know what you can do, you can now start interacting with your kid(s). Learn to differentiate discipline and abuse as we live in a reality wherein two can be seen as the same thing. So be careful as you try different discipline ideas.

Important note: Remember your main goal in doing these ideas. If you want to raise good and intelligent children, be patient to see if one thing applies to your children.

#3 – When you find something that seems to work, don’t think you can finally relax. Don’t confuse short term hits with long term success. Your child may be responding well to your discipline. But when it wears off, your child may very well revert to the old behaviors that you tried to change. The tough phase will last for more than a few weeks. So give things at least 3-6 weeks to see if the changes are enduring.

#4 – Tweak before you make major changes in your efforts. For example, suppose you are rewarding your kid(s) with pizza at the end of the week if they do something right. You assume that they’re responding to novelty rather than the measures themselves. Rather than junking the measures, tweak them a bit to determine if your suspicion is valid. For example, you might vary the food rewards. Say, “Look – if you do good things, you get to pick what we have for Friday dinner.” You might be on the right track and tweaking gives you a chance to really find out.

#5 – If tweaking doesn’t work, then, by all means, try new approaches.

#6 – Finally, be humble enough to know that you might need professional support. This can be in the form of a therapist or counselor. You’ve got to be careful here because these professionals have different competency levels on how to deal with your case. Some would suggest certain drugs as the initial therapeutic intervention for your child. You have the right to be skeptical in such situations. Listen to your own inner voice here. No matter how good the intentions are, many therapists simply get things wrong. If the one you’ve initially selected isn’t right for your child or your family, try another.

There are also organizations that can help you find a decent therapist that you need. America and many other nations are rich in resources to help families. Look into them if your problems grow too intense for you to handle on your own.

Finally, use common sense. It may sound strange but you’ll be the only one to make the final decision. Regardless of any professional help, books, or online forums that you encounter, you’ll be responsible for your child. Use the best intelligence you can and proceed with caution.

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