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I need help with problem children. My problem children!
Have you ever said this? I certainly have. I am currently raising my
fourth child and sometimes parenting is downright difficult.
Getting help with difficult children is an important part of
effective parenting. I have found that having a strategic
parenting plan helps tremendously. Not only are you more confident as a
parent - with a far better understanding of where you are going in
parenting - but your children feel your confidence and certainty and
often feel less need to challenge your authority overall.
Which translates into fewer problems in the long haul.
with our discussion of finding effective help for problem
Finding help for problem children
Getting help with difficult children depends greatly upon what
specific problem your child is struggling with - and the level
Let's start with minor problems. Your child smarts off to you once in a
while. You have been ignoring it, because, well, you really weren't
sure what else to do. Besides, you read something that said the best
way to deal with misbehavior is to ignore it.
But the behavior has not stopped. In fact, it's getting worse and
you're getting worried. The truth is, ignoring some behaviors at
certain times is effective, but as an overall parenting plan,
ignoring behavior at all (positive or negative) is usually a bad idea.
So when you think about how to stop
back talking, for example, you realize that you could use a few
pointers. So you visit some forums and listen to what other
parents are saying about solving back talk and how to deal
with a problem child.
I've done that myself with some problems my children have wrestled with
and I have found solutions using this method. Of course, I've found a
lot of "answers" that didn't work either. Actually, that was good
because the process forced me to make some decisions about my parenting
style and to take a hard look at my individual child; how she learns,
what motivates her and so forth.
Or you can read a parenting book. Again, a good solution for
all kinds of situations when you need help with problem children.
And yet again, you'll need to sort through different ideas (and some
junk) to find the excellent parenting nuggets.
When you're sifting through lots of parenting strategies like this,
watch for similar ideas that keep popping up, confirming each other.
Definitely look for values that match your own. Do a gut check; is the
parenting method safe, healthy and just plain make sense? By the way,
here is an outstanding article on getting help for problem children. Is It an Adolescent Phase or Out-of-Control Behavior?
Part II: 8 Ways to Manage Acting-out Kids
Next, consider getting (and being) a parenting mentor. Do you know
other families you admire and respect? Offer to take one of those
parents to lunch and ask if they will mentor you as you try to do the
best by your children. Most people would be glad to help out in this
And remember to return the favor and offer your parenting help to a
struggling parent who isn't as far along the parenting highway as you
Getting help with difficult children means intensifying the effort.
Maybe your problem child is beyond this stage, however.
Maybe you realize you need a bit more advanced help. If that's the
case, never hesitate to reach out to your child's teacher or your
clergy for referals to a competent professional.
As always, make sure the professional's values align with your own.
Otherwise you'll find yourself frustrated that their plan of action
doesn't work in your own family structure.
Don't make the common mistake of thinking that someone else -
even a "professional" - is going to fix your problem child.
Life just doesn't work that way. For example, counseling is far more
effective if you come alongside the therapist and work - hard - to
learn the new skills being taught.
There are many self-help parenting programs available, as well. I think
many have merit providing - as in the case of therapy - you are willing
to work the programs. My favorite is The Total Transformation because it has a
proven track record with all kinds of problem children issues and
it teaches parents how to take control of their parenting and then
supports parents in doing exactly that.
Support in parenting is super important. Which is another reason why I
endorse parenting mentors as mentioned above.
Getting help for problem children who need to leave the home.
This does happen, of course. Sometimes getting help for
difficult children - usually teens - means leaving their home
environment and getting a fresh start in a highly structured
environment. It is outside the scope of this article to make
recommendations on boarding schools and other residential solutions for
serious behavioral problems in
children, but certainly if you come to the decision that your child
or teenager needs this type of intervention, it would be silly to send
them off and not be taking serious parenting courses yourself at the
Your child still needs you to learn - deeply learn - some fundamental
parenting processes and parents who skip this step sometimes find that
life is no better when their child returns home.
You can start right now by signing up for my ezine "I Love My Child" (signup box above). It's a good first step.
Be proactive, Mom or Dad! It is the best thing you can do to help your
child and yourself form a happy, healthy home.
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