Happens every frickin’ time. Just when you thought things are finally turning around, something else again.
She’s being rude and argumentative to every request you make. What’s a parent to do in a situation like that? You don’t have time for this! Back in the day, she’d get a taste of your belt.
You’re trying hard not to go back to “beast-mode.” But this is REALLY frustrating and you’re struggling to keep your cool. Sure…this is the 21st century and you’re not a knuckle-head. Other folks are getting results from using modern methods, and there MUST be something true about what the experts say.
But right now you’re not feeling it. The only thing stopping you from showing her who wears the pants around here is that you KNOW it would make you feel like crap afterwards. And besides, from past experience, that would only make her behave now… today.
But you sense it’s not going to give you the results you’re looking for tomorrow or further down the road.
What’s really happening here?
I’ve said it before. This is not a discipline problem even though it may look like one. Sure. You can go ahead, choose the easy thing and loosen that belt buckle. In fact, I’d highly recommend you do that if what you’re looking for is a child who does what she’s told no matter what. Train her to do that and the chances of her continuing to do it when she meets what she thinks is the love of her life later on… is very high.
Whoaa… you don’t want that for your child. Hell no! So what’s really happening here? And what’s the smart thing to do about it?
First, change your mindset. Realize that it’s a relationship problem.
If you’re reading TLP for the first time, I hope you’re ready. Others suspect where I’m going with this. Tweet: Guess who’s most responsible for teaching kids how to deal with problems, and how to handle relationships? Who has to set the example? Who has to be very careful he’s not behaving in a way that is just the opposite from what he’s teaching?
Can the problem be…YOU?
In a word… yes. It IS you.
Yeah.. take a deep breath. But take heart. It’s going to get easier… way easier.
I don’t care what age your child is. If she’s fighting you for everything, it’s because you’re not being what Dr. Boyatzis calls a “resonant leader.” As a result, she feels disconnected.
Don’t misread that. I’m not saying it’s always your fault. In fact, most of the time her feelings may not even be justified.
But that doesn’t make her feelings any less real.. or legitimate. And if you’re the one who’s going to guide her into seeing that her behavior isn’t correct, you first have to behave like the adult in the room.
First and foremost, adults (or resonant leaders) stay calm and in control. They don’t let children succeed in controlling the adult’s emotions whenever they feel like it. If you escalate when she pushes your button, and you raise your voice, reach for your belt-buckle, or anything like that, guess who just took control?
And you need to stay calm because if you’re not calm, your mind CANNOT be quick to work out how you’re going to get her to repair whatever damage she just did. And you won’t be able to lovingly model how it should be. You will find it hard to give her that hug she’s really looking for. And she won’t take a step in the right direction.
That’s just the way it is. You don’t need a degree in psychology to understand it. Beast-mode is for when you’re in a dangerous situation (or in the gymn!) It’s for survival purposes only. It stops you from thinking…period. You either ball up your fist or get ready to run for your life. Forget coming up with anything smart. Hesitating to think or be smart could actually cause you your life in such a situation.
But that’s not what’s happening here. It’s some centuries-old programming that tricked you into thinking about going there.
So what do you do about relationship problems?
Once you realize it’s really a relationship problem, and you know the nature of relationship problems, everything changes for the better. Why?
Because fixing relationship problems is about being a resonant leader. And being a resonant leader is about relaxing. Stop stressing out. Your job is really about reconnecting with her. Guess how you do what with children? In fact, guess how you do that with… any human being?
You got it. I told you it gets easier. Your biggest challenge is really how to stop what’s happening, then finding a way to change the conversation completely…to turn the whole thing around. The new conversation will bring you both some relief. It will be about how you are going to spend some quality time together and have some fun.
Yes.. fun! That’s actually the solution. That’s your flesh and blood there… your little mini-you! I’d wager she’s just behaving the way you did in the same situation way back when. It’s in the genes!
When you wanted to connect with her mother on your first date, beast-mode didn’t even enter your mind.. right? You’re way smarter than that. In fact, in any situation where you’re dealing with an equal you want to influence, you instinctively know you have to “resonate.” And if the situation allows it, the fastest way is to spend some fun time together. Put the discipline cap on a shelf to gather some dust.
Get yourself motivated.
Well here’s the thing. You ARE dealing with an equal.
If you feel like venting, vent on all those outdated messages from your childhood about children having to know their place and all that.
Those messages were for teaching kids to survive in faraway places at a time that existed about six hundred years ago! Take them in your mind’s eye, wrap them up in a neat ball, and smash them to smithereens against the wall with all your might!
REFUSE to raise a weak, compliant little person for people to walk over and lead around like she doesn’t have a mind of her own. Not YOUR child! She’s still wet behind the ears but that’s going to change. And if YOU have anything to do with it, she’s going to be a kick-ass, yet cool kind of adult who can take charge and handle her business with ease, and with class…while making it look Angelina Jolie-easy.
Guess when she’s going to have to start practicing. And guess who needs to be her biggest influence? Guess who needs to make up his mind that NOBODY’s going to take that job away from him just yet?
Then what? Well I can’t teach you high-level skills from just reading a blog post. This was just meant to point you in the right direction. If what you’ve read so far resonates with you in any way, here’s what I want you to do…
I’m busy revising my e-book on repairing and maintaining the kind of parent-child relationship makes everything else about parenting a little more stress-free. It won’t be ready until around March, since I’m also starting the “Teach Life Skills” Podcast, and gathering research information for the “Motivate Success In School” (MoSIS) program.
That’s a lot. If you want to get started, sign up now for MoSIS. It’s a $197 program you get for free because you visited this site and read this blog. The offer is only visible for a limited time, so hurry. Just click here to go back to the home page, and sign up. Request the e-book by hitting the reply button on the first email I send you.
Leave a comment below to let me know if I’m full of it, if you think I’m on to something, or whatever. Your feedback is always appreciated.