Most parents believe and say, “My kids know how to push my buttons to manipulate me and that is why they don’t behave for me”! I also hear well-meaning, grandmothers/fathers, mother-in-laws and neighbors reinforce this notion by saying, “He never does that at my house”! This implies of course that the parents are responsible for the child’s inappropriate behavior.
Believe it or not this is not why kids behave inappropriately with their parents and not with others. It’s because their parents unconditionally love them and that makes kids feel safe enough to misbehave. In other words, they feel comfortable enough and are sure enough in the love of their parents to experiment with different behaviors. They know that their parents won’t ever leave them, no matter how troubling their behavior might be.
So parents, have faith the next time your kids seem out of control with you, that you are doing something right and that is allowing your kids to try out different ways of communicating to see how you will react.
Remember when your kids behave appropriately be there to let them know that by telling them you like the way they are talking to you, following the family rules and or treating you and others. And when they pick other, not so appropriate ways to behave, make sure they see you respond to them in a different way. This will help your kids begin to tell the difference between what they get from their parent when they behave in different ways.
For kids, life is all about learning how healthy relationships work by trying out different ways to behave. So, instead of looking for ways to get your kids to stop misbehaving look for ways to teach them what they can do to create a healthy relationship with you, their parent, who they love & adore, Dr. Ann
*Check out my newest project Pocket Full of Feelings, a product for family emotional literacy learning.