At one time or another, all parents feel like their child is acting “out of control.” But eventually this feeling passes as the event passes. But for some parents, an out-of-control child is not a fleeting phenomena but a 24/7 reality. These children constantly push the limits and seem to care very little (if at all) about the consequences.
If you are the parent of an out of control child, you must take steps to maintain your authority, not only for your child’s well-being, but for your own mental health. With this in mind, here are some tips for parenting an out of control child:
Set Boundaries and Stick to Them
Do you know why many kids test their parents and their boundaries? Because they have a strong need to feel safe and secure. If they test you and you don’t bend, your child will feel safe and secure knowing YOU are in control and they don’t have to be. When you make a rule and set boundaries, be sure to always follow through with consequences.
Be Very Clear
Kids don’t hear or process information like adults do. How you speak with colleagues or employees at work will not work with your kids. You have got to be 100% crystal clear. And it’s a really good idea to write down all household rules so they know EXACTLY what will be tolerated and what won’t.
Use Positive Language
No one – especially an out of control 8-year-old – likes to be told what they can’t do. Your kid will simply focus on that negative word CAN’T. Instead, always use positive language that describes what they CAN do once they have completed a chore.
For instance, instead of saying, “No video games until you fold the laundry,” say, “You can watch video games once the laundry is folded.” It may seem like a subtle difference to your ears, but it will land much differently in theirs.
If you’ve tried these tips and others but are still having a hard time parenting your child, it may be time for family therapy. A trained therapist can help you and your child communicate and help your child discover why they are acting out, offering tools to change their behavior.
If you’d like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me.