My kids are driving me crazy! It’s a refrain that’s being
heard around the country.
And when you conduct parent workshops, the same issues
that produce that refrain come up over and over for parents.
No matter where you go, parents are talking about the same
problems with their kids. And the sad truth about these problems
is that parents are usually major contributors to them.
Here are three of the problems that keep coming up for
parents, and an explanation of how parents can
solve their own problems.
Problem #1: My kids don’t listen to me
To expect that kids will listen to you perfectly all
the time is an irrational thought. Kids don’t listen
and attend to things in the same way that adults do.
They can be intensely focused on the activity they’re
involved with. Kids will often need you to repeat
things a number of times in a patient, pleasant tone.
And yes, your job is to be very patient with them.
It is often the “parental” tone of parents’ voices
that is part of the problem when kids don’t
listen. After all, who wants to be lectured
constantly about what to do? If things still
don’t work, take action—kids will respond
to action much better than they will to words.
Problem #2: My kids aren’t respectful—they talk back
and argue too much
One of the problems with not having obedient kids
anymore is that kids feel more freedom to speak their
mind. This can be irritating, but it’s far better than
obedient kids who do what they’re told out of fear.
If your child talks to you in a disrespectful way, you
have choices. One choice is to be angry with them and
to actually create more of the very behavior that you
dislike. Getting angry when your child talks back to
you is a great example of creating your own problems.
A better choice is to ask them what’s bothering them
in a compassionate way. Kids will often take
out their feelings on someone who they feel
safe with—you! And remember that you can
tell them in a calm and firm manner that it’s
not OK to talk to you that way.
Arguing is a choice for parents. It still takes two to
tango. Most parents who complain about their kids
arguing are pretty good at it themselves. You may
disagree often with your kids, but arguments can
usually be avoided if parents stay disciplined.
Problem #3: My kids aren’t achieving as well as they
Whether its’ tying their shoes, getting better grades,
or success at sports, parents will always be worried
about how well their kids are measuring up. While there
certainly are situations that require extra help and
support, most of the extreme concern about your child’s
development is a problem itself. When parents worry
about their child’s capability, it sends a powerful
message to your child. Einstein and Edison, by the way,
were very poor students as children!
The responsibility of parents is to believe in their
child’s ability to succeed and to set high expectations
for them. The rest is to be patient and to be aware of
your own insecurities. It is these insecurities that
may be part of the reason your child isn’t doing well.
While it’s easy to point fingers at your kids,
remember the old saying: “The apple doesn’t
fall far from the tree.”
Parents who attend to their own issues first will find
far fewer “rotten apples” in their tree.