With over twenty-two years of practice as a child, teen, and family psychologist behind me, I continue to be humbled by how complex we all are as human beings. Yet, when it comes to parenting difficult and defiant children and teens, I think we make it more complex than it needs to be.
To help any defiant child or teen, keep the following points in mind and truly take positive action. I have seen over and over how defiant behavior can be significantly lowered in children and teens--usually in week and often less than a few days.
- Listen, and I mean really listen, more to your child or teen than you talk to her.
- Remember that understanding your child is just as important, if not more important, than loving him.
- Check your ego at the door and stop taking your child's or teen's challenges so personally.
- Catch him doing more things right than wrong.
- Stop nagging.
- Be mindful that growing up IS different today, and the world is more complex and faster moving than when you were a kid.
- Give yourself some grace and cut yourself a break. Stop trying to be perfect as a parent. Remember the only perfect people are in the cemetery.
- Laugh, laugh, laugh. A comedian friend of mine, David Naster says it best, "You just have to laugh!"
Dr. Jeff is the author of 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child