PARENTING: Child Annoying Behavior

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    Children of any age need to understand limits and boundaries.  In fact, they need them.  They will challenge those limits and boundaries, because that’s what growing up is about.  It feels far safer to a tween or young teenager if they bump up against firm boundaries than if there are no boundaries at all.  They feel that they are loved and cared for, even as they are trying to pull away from the restraints of childhood. They also need to learn how to handle the strong emotions that come with the onset of puberty.  And they need to go through the tough process of growing up and figuring out who they are as individuals.

    As parents, it’s our job to facilitate all of those things.  And it’s important and essential to not take anything our children do or say as personal attacks on us.  Rather, we need to remember back to when we were kids — how we probably thought our parents were dumb and unfair and would never understand us.  This way, we can bring some understanding and compassion to our interactions with our kids.

    So first, try to see the world through your child eyes.  Ask your child to explain how she/he feels, and just listen without arguing or debating or challenging him/her.  If your child doesn’t want to talk, suggest that he/she write you a letter to tell you how he/she feels at the moment.  And try to let you child know that just for that one time, he/0she can say anything , even if it feels disrespectful to you.  Remember not to take it personally.

    After they have the chance to really speak their mind, Your child may be more open to hearing what you have to say.  That’s the time for you to thank him/her for sharing and then, gently but firmly, take a stand.  Let your child know that some things are going to need to change in your home, and that those changes will affect both of you.  Explain that you both need to establish some standards by which you will be able to live peacefully together.  Allow this to be a collaboration of sorts, but those children know that you take your responsibilities as a parent seriously and that your goal is to help them understand how to get along in the world.  So you’ll consider their suggestions but at this stage of our children growing up, we will need to have the last word.  Let them know that they are getting older, the rules and limits can be revisited and you can collaborate again on appropriate changes.

    You can start things off by talking about being considerate and respectful of others.  You can discuss shared responsibilities for taking care of your home.  You can establish rules about TV watching, doing homework, staying alone, etc.  And you can talk about reasonable consequences when the rules aren’t followed.  Then you can let them have some input about the rules and the consequences.  Stay open to them suggestions and be willing to compromise a bit, but exercise your authority as parent to establish limits that you’re comfortable with.    Consequences should be related to the offense in both severity and duration, and they should always be consistently and predictably applied.

    We will need to be strong in your resolve to not engage in debates and useless arguments, to stand firm with the boundaries you set, to consistently follow through with consequences, and to withstand the (probably temporary) outbursts your daughter will most likely direct your way.  You must be committed enough to stand your ground and not give in to our children, even when you are upset and tired and it would just be easier, this one time, to let her have her way.    Always be sure to talk about her actions rather than her personal self.  This means no name calling, no insults, no lashing out saying things you’ll regret later.  Try your best to stay calm and reasonable.

    It’s up to you to take the high road and not get sucked in to acting out the way your daughter might.  Avoid saying things like, “Why are you doing this to me?” or “You’re such a brat!” they will learn more from how you behave and interact at home.  Model mature, reasonable ways to explore your differences and reach mutual agreement  When you do this, you will show our children that you value them and their opinion, we will also be teaching them valuable skills for getting along in the world.

    Please don’t get too worried if they slams doors, even wrong verbal words  Those sorts of angry words are pretty typical for tweens and teens.  Just make sure you let them know that while you understand frustration and angry, you are not going to allow them to speak disrespectfully to you (or to anyone), and that he/she will have to experience the consequences.

    For more Questions and Sharing of Experience Ask And Share


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