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Proverbs 31: Encouragement for Today

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Out of control children can turn a household upside down.

Turn your speakers UP!
Can I ask you a question?

In your home are you walking on eggshells?

Is there far too much...
  1. yelling?
  2. Anger?
  3. Frustration?
  4. Going over the same issues again and again?
If that sounds far too familiar, then hope is just around the corner for you. I have found simply asking the question of how to control an out of control child is the perfect starting point for change.

Are you unsure of what to do next? Let's discuss what to do with an out of control child.

Programs for out of control children

First, let's take a quick look at some of the more formalized programs for working with an out of control child.

You may already have tried therapy. That can be of enormous help - but usually only if a family is willing to do their part and work quite hard at making some fundamental changes. Always look for a qualified therapist whose values align with your own.

Some people use self-help type programs either alongside therapy or as stand-alone processes. These can be VERY useful because they reinforce the step-by-step behavior and word changes needed to help a child regain self-control. The Total Transformation is one of these programs that I like very much. It has a proven track record with lots and lots of parents, is written by therapists AND it supports parents very well. As a parent myself I know how important it is to have adequate support when you are trying to handle serious parenting issues.

What to do with an out of control child - let's get practical.

Let's back up a bit and talk about some daily things you can do that can help your out of control child regain some self-control.

  • Firm boundaries.

You've probably heard this one before. Everyone says it; set boundaries so disrespectful children will know how to behave.

The issue is what do you do when your child ignores those boundaries? A child who is exhibiting out of control behavior is already past stopping at boundaries.

So now what?

First of all, boundaries that are being ignored are a sign of a parent who didn't expect to be challenged.

Please read that last sentence again. Slowly. Think about it.

I am not criticizing you. I am sharing with you a simple but powerful truth I have learned myself - the hard way - over nearly thirty years of parenting. When I started expecting my boundaries to be challenged, I started designing better boundaries and better consequences, right from the beginning.

I also had a plan ready for when those boundaries were ran over. And you know what?

My kids started respecting those boundaries.

My children were shocked the first few times that happened. They didn't expect me to be so ready for their behavior. Over time, they even stopped challenging me nearly as often.

They knew I said what I meant and I meant what I said.

So seriously start with boundaries. Experiment and find ones that work for you and your child.

And remember: all children need - crave - effective boundaries; defiant children need them even more.

  • Consistency.

You've probably heard this one, too. Most of the time I find parents - with out of control children or not - like to TALK about consistency more than they actually like to BE consistent.

This is understandable. But you need to know inconsistency will act as a wrecking ball to your parenting.

An inconsistent parent is an easy mark to an out of control child. This child knows with absolute certainty that getting his way is just a matter of time.

You and I may think that being consistent 99 times out of 100 is excellent odds. But when dealing with out of control children, the rules change.

These are bright, bright kids. 1 time out of 100 and they'll get their way? What a power trip! It's just a matter of running the numbers and in fact, the harder and faster they misbehave the closer they come to getting their goal. See how they're thinking?

Hm. Changes your perspective, doesn't it?

Here's an excellent question. What about medication? How to control an out of control child with meds? Is that even possible? Or a good idea? Here's an article that might interest you and give you food for thought. Out of Control Behavior: Should I Medicate My Child?

Asking what to do with an out of control child is the first step towards finding a solution that will work for you and your child. Keep asking! Keep searching! Keep praying! Keep working with your child to find the combination of solutions that will help move your child forward.

Remember, making movement forward is a wonderful thing. You are aiming for measurable progress, not perfection. You can do this, Mom or Dad! You are the best cheerleader and coach your child has. Gather your courage, dig up excellent resources and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Take advantage of my ezine "I Love My Child" (sign up box above). You can do this!

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