Updated: Mar 1, 2020
by: Logan Cohen - Professional Therapist & Online Life Coach
Parenting is a tough game, but someone has got to play it and when it comes to the problematic behavior of our own Children, we hold the key as Parents. Believe it or not, our Kids will actually go to great lengths in an attempt to convince us that we have lost control of their behavior. As a practicing Life Coach & Family Therapist, I have seen this dynamic pay out thousands of times over again in Families between Parents and their Children, and I never cease to be amazed. Our Children will literally ask (even if we are having trouble seeing it as this) us for more structure with their problematic behavior because they do not yet trust the limited structure provided. Want to make sure you are not "fueling the fire", so to speak?
Check out these 9 Parenting Tips Below!
Parenting Tip #1: A Balance Between Toughness and Kindness Creates the "Magic" For Our Kids' Behavioral Issues
It is important to find a “happy medium” when it comes to parenting effectively with Balance. Even if we do not think we are “over-focused” on either one of these polarities, it is important to keep in mind what we can do as Parents in order to limit the likelihood that our behavior is misinterpreted as either too “heavy handed”, or too focused on rescuing them from appropriate consequences of their behavior. The behavior issues REALLY come out to play when our Children cannot respect us for either being a "pushover", or acting like a jerk.
The tone of our voice is what conveys kindness and personal intent.
Follow through with consistent consequences indicates the firmness or toughness.
Parenting Tip #2: Parenting Out of Guilt is Just Asking For Behavior Problems From Our Children
It is NOT a good idea to make high stakes decisions out of guilt, so it might not be a surprise to hear this....this includes over-protecting your Child - of course only as long as it is safe and appropriate. A Child must be allowed to experience the consequences of their own decision-making. As hard as it can be to watch our Children literally setting themselves up for a hard time - or even failure - this is the only way they will learn to fail fairly and resiliently. It's not failure itself that is the behavior problem. In fact, failure only needs to be a learning opportunity. It is how our Kids behave in response to acute failure that often sets our Children's behavior problems in motion.
Parenting Tip #3: In Order to Avoid Our Children's Behavior Problems, They Have To Know What is Expected
I cease to be amazed by how many Parents come to my office in private practice and express frustration with the irresponsible behavior of their Children - all the while not being able to tell me with clarity what the “Rules of the House” are in their own Home. If we as Parents expect our Children to demonstrate appropriate behavior consistently, then it is our responsibility to follow through consistently as Parents. While no Parent is perfect and every situation is unique, an increase in consistency will let our Children know what we expect of them. The more they have confidence about what we expect of them, the more they can be successful in fulfilling these expectations.
Parenting Tip #4: Avoid Yelling - The Behavior Problems Are Making It Stressful Enough
Look...I'm a Parent and I GET IT...there can be nothing more infuriating than our Kids pushing our buttons. Even so, tone of voice is one of the most important tools we have as Parents to convey unconditional love and positive regard. It is these moments that are the most important of them all for conveying unconditional love - when our Kids have MESSED UP.
It is in these moments that our Children are scared, angry, insecure, embarrassed, etc, that we have an opportunity to prove to them that we love them - no matter what.
It is OK to be angry and even freaked out yourself as a Parent by your child's behavior problems, but if you think that you can teach your Kids how much you “love them” by yelling at them - or if you think your Parents conveyed “love” to you by yelling at you, then this is a bigger issue for you and you should consider speaking with a Professional Counselor or Therapist specifically about that. In the meantime, just please try not to yell at your Kids. They won’t tell you that they question your love for them (directly at least) when you yell at them, but from a Professional Therapist who has worked with THOUSANDS of teenagers - that is EXACTLY one of the things they tell ME once they have enough privacy.
Parenting Tip #5: We Cannot Rescue Our Children From Their Own Problematic Behavior
I know all too well and feeeel ya...Parenting can GRIND - OUR - PATIENCE! Sometimes it might seem easier to bail our little rascal out of a jam every now again so we can save EVERYBODY a bit of pain. Let’s face it - as hard as it can be to take on extra responsibilities that our Children are capable of because we do it easier/better/etc, this also robs them of important learning opportunities. The more we can get out of our Kids’ WAY, the more they will be prepared to be happy and responsible adults because they can learn from their own problem behavior and correct it on their own. The more we allow our Kids to do things for themselves when they are capable, the sooner we let our Kids learn to become independent.
Parenting Tip #6: We Want OUR Kids to Avoid the Behavior Problems, So Don't Worry About the Jones's OR Their Parenting
Just because we have to develop physically into Adults in order to have our own Children, a lot of Parents can still be immature and JUDGY...It is never fun to be criticized by our peers but with this being said, if you are too concerned by what other Parents might think of you or your child's behavior problems, then it will be REALLY hard to put all of this into practice with your Kids. The long-term goal is to teach our Children responsibility - NOT win a “first impression popularity contest” or alleviate our own anxiety when everyone seems to be watching us as we discipline our Child.
Parenting Tip #7: Kids Only Know How To Avoid Perceived Behavior Problems If We Can Be CLEAR - Mean What You Say & Say What You Mean
As mentioned in earlier blogs, it is important to make sure that behavioral expectations are clear and reasonable processes are in place before putting these disciplinary techniques into effect. So WHY are you repeating yourself so much if there is so much clarity? I was just asking the same question...
I have seen plenty of perfectly bright and eager to please kiddos literally become DESENSITIZED to the voice of their Parents. As frustrating as this can be, it as actually quite easy to create.
Kids become “Parent Deaf” when they grow accustomed to hearing verbal prompts from their parents, but nothing changes in their environment. It is also common that as we give more and more corrections, our frustration grows into irritation, then risks developing into full blown anger. And the more irritated we get, the more likely it is for the multiple corrections to be taken as criticism by our Kids, leaving them feeling disrespected.
The only talking that is required is a friendly reminder of expected behavioral terms. After that, it's time for the Parent to back off and let the logical and natural consequences speak for themselves WITHOUT creating a power struggle
Parenting Tip #8: Our Willingness to Engage In Power Struggles Creates Problematic Behavior. If We Are Struggling with A Minor, Then We Have Already Given Up Our Power and LOST
As Parents, we are responsible for setting the limits and deciding how to respond to the behavioral choices of our Children. We ARE NOT responsible for the behavioral choices of our Child, but we must be willing to accept their choices as well. In order for our Children to develop ownership and/or accountability of their behavioral choices, they must have enough space to do battle with themselves - and battle they will! But our Children will not be able to come to terms with their problematic behavior adequately and responsibly and get themselves under control if they are battling with US as the Parent. Get out of your Kids’ way by getting out of the power struggle!
Parenting Tip #9: If We "Give In", Then Again We Participate In Our Child's Behavior Issue By Reinforcing The Problem Behavior In Question
This might seem like common sense, but it cannot be overstated. If there is a firm behavioral expectation in place or Kids have consequences coming, do not give in to their demands unless they meet the agreed upon expectations. The only way consistent behavior can be fairly expected is if there has also been consistent “follow through”. What is the point of putting all of this thought and energy into these Parenting Techniques if you are not going to actually let them play out? Let's dig in!
My name is Logan Cohen and I am a Professional Therapist & Life Coach with over 10 years in the field of Counseling Psychology. I am a Clinical Supervisor for the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy, as well as the founder of New Leaf Counseling Group, LLC in Charlotte, NC. After spending tens of thousands of clinical hours with my own clients, starting a successful group practice, as well as a beautiful Family, I “picked my head up from the grindstone” to check in on childhood Friends & Loved Ones.
I painfully discovered that more than a few of my childhood Friends passed away at a young age from preventable health conditions and decided that as a Man, Husband, Father, and Friend, I could no longer stand by as People suffered in silence and self-destructed rather than ask for help. It doesn’t have to be like that and the holistic healing methods offered by the Balanced Man Plan is designed to help People “get unstuck” and break free from old patterns that are the barriers between Self & quality of Life.
The Balanced Man Plan is a therapeutic digital experience delivered through Self-Guided Coaching Plans created by a Male Therapist with the common barriers & strengths of Men in mind. The Balanced Man Plan has the goal of introducing a natural Balance back to Life so it is sustainable for the optimal Health & Well-Being of Self and Loved Ones - and ALL from the privacy and comfort of Home. If you have enjoyed what you see so far, check out our Self Guided Coaching Plans!