In my blog post the other day I talked about changing your reaction to your kids, allowing them room to make mistakes, and just generally trying to sort out the reasoning behind things instead of just making harsh judgements based off your own assumptions. It brought to my attention to very reason why the suggestions people have given me in the past about how to deal with my ODD child will never work.
It’s because nearly every suggestion I’ve ever been given is based on the thinking that my child needs to change.
To a degree, that’s true. She has some behavioral issues that certainly need to be sorted out & some changes are going to need to be made on her part for that happen. However, there’s nothing I can do to force her to change. The decision has to be hers.
So what do you do in the meantime? You change yourself.
I know what some of you are thinking:
“So, you’re telling me that my child is the one with the problem, but I have to change?”
Yes. That is exactly what I’m telling you.
That’s where I messed up so frequently before & still do more often than I’d like. I dealt with her in ways that my other two children responded to rather than tailoring my response to what she needed or would be able to understand. I’ve had to make changes in the way I discipline her, talk to her, respond to her, and even in the ways that I love her.
Up until the past couple years or so I think my husband and I have used every method that we could think of to force her behavior and her attitude to change without changing anything about ourselves. My daughter and I didn’t understand each other or “speak each other’s language.” A person who is strong-willed is going to resist any change or action that they themselves didn’t come up with. It’s what they do…they resist, they challenge, they analyze, they go against the grain. That’s a really great thing if used correctly & I realize now that I don’t need to punish her for being such a strong, amazing, fearless person. She needs understanding and guidance more than she needs punishments & power-plays. Yes, there will be some negative consequences for both of us, but I’m finding the more I change my reaction to her, the more her behavior changes along with it. We don’t quite “get” each other yet, but we respect each other and that’s where understanding starts. 🙂
How do you respond when your kid is being particularly difficult? Do you blow up, stay calm, ground them, take things away, give them chores, give them some sort of multiple choice?? Let me know in the comments! 🙂