By Linda Sorkin, LMFT with Soul Empowered Coaching
Have you ever felt that tremendous sense of guilt for secretly calling your child OBNOXIOUS? Or, without saying anything, felt embarrassment or extreme frustration at the audacity of entertaining deep negative thoughts about your obnoxious child? It is OK to feel the way you do; purge your consciousness and admit it. We have all been there, so no need to berate yourself and repent your guilty thoughts! All parents desperately need the tools to handle those challenging moments and empower their kids to behave differently and be their best selves.
Related: Creating a Relationship with Your Kids
6 tips to regain your sanity, and see your obnoxious child (a.k.a. my wonderful child) in another light.
- Remember that all behavior is communicating something to us. Therefore, it is our job as a parent to decipher what our child's behavior is attempting to divulge at any given moment. Read between the behavior.
- Now take a deep breath and observe your child, and label the behavior not your child. It is ultimately your child's obnoxious attitude, behavior, or comment that is bothering you not the child himself/herself. This is an important distinction to make because you do not want to give your child the message that they are inherently bad. They are not bad or defective!! It is ONLY the behavior they are choosing to express that is seen as problematic. Your child's obnoxious behavior is ONLY behavior, a passing phase in development and life, NOT your child and NOT your child's identity.
- Do not react to your child when addressing their obnoxious, disrespectful, frustrating behavior. Instead, respond to them in a calm, loving manner. This is easier said than done. Arguing, yelling and blaming doesn't resolve the problem, it only adds to it. They are observing how you handle your emotions in challenging moments, so show them appropriate ways to deal with conflict! Lead by example with the behavior you want them to internalize.
- Accept the difficult situation your child is in and meet them where they are in their own process. Describe what you see in their behavior so he or she can get a sense of what they are communicating and how they are affecting others in their life. Empathize and mirror.
- Take the time to help your child identify and communicate their feelings effectively. The depth and quality of your relationship with your child is proportionate to the time and sincere loving care you put into it!
- Help your child identify what he or she wants. Problem solve options to get their needs met in a more productive and empowering way. Partner with your child to identify and achieve a solution.
Related: Solutions for Family Stress
Being a conscious, empowering parent takes time, consistency, and tolerance. It is not easy to effectively manage your own emotions when dealing with a difficult child.