Universal Problem: Every Child Misbehaves
As a parent, have you ever been exasperated, frustrated, or bewildered by any of the following misbehaviors from your kid(s)? a) arguing, b) begging, c) complaining, d) downright defiant, e) eating where not suppose to, f) forget to do chores, g) gross antics, h) hollering too loud, i) imperfections, j) jumping on furniture, k) know-it-all (smart aleck), l) laziness, or m) much more than we have time to list? Listen, parenting is not easy and is not for the faint of heart.
Parenting 101: Tip #1 For Dealing With Misbehavior
#1) Realize the main issue behind most misbehavior is insubordination. Misbehavior is clearly a matter of authority, power, and a desire for kids to usurp it. In other words, the child covets the authority that God has rightfully given to you, the parent. Misbehavior is simply an expression of them wanting to be in charge, to run the show, to become the parent, and to get you to follow their program.
The other day I heard my wife project my name in a very strengthened tone across the house, “Kevin, he’s not listening!” Evidently, our 11-year old son was told to get off his X-box and put his clothes away. Fifteen minutes had passed and the gamer (someone who plays video games) still could not relinquish the control. Why? He wants the very thing that is in his hand–to have complete control over his life. On more than one occasion I have had to bolster my wife’s authority by simply turning the TV off. At that point I would predictably get a response of, “Dad! I didn’t even get to save the game…gee whiz!” (This dad don’t play games-no pun intended).
Parenting 101: Tip #2 For Dealing With Misbehavior
#2) Consequences. Consequences. Consequences. The most successful parenting and time tested results in handling misbehavior are to issue painful consequences to the child or teenager. Even the “Nanny 911” reality TV show utilizes this principle with good results. Depending on the severity of the offense and the age of the child, proper parenting dictates that one should construct a set of consequences that are swift, certain, and extract some degree of pain from their life. Here are some examples:
A 16-18 year old that is guilty of smart-mouthing, breaking curfew, getting bad grades, etc. could have their driving privileges revoked, ipod or cell phone removed, disallow their friends from spending the night, etc.
Good parenting issues the consequences not in a overly angry, reactionary, or shameful way, but in a civil, straightforward, matter-of-fact delivery. In fact, good parenting dictates that the rules be written out and placed in a visible location with the corresponding consequences listed for each of the violations. Kids desire to have boundaries in life, know what is right from wrong, and be reminded that there are consequences in life for all of us.
Our job as parents is to prepare them for a healthy, productive, and law-abiding adulthood. They need to learn early on that every single one of us: 1) is not God, 2) is always under some type of authority, 3) should not just live for ourselves, and 4) be reminded that none of us has complete control over our lives.
A good book that I recommend for further tips is entitled “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours” by Dr. Kevin Leman. Now good luck in applying your “Parenting 101: Tips for Dealing with Misbehavior” attempts.
Dr. Kevin Leman, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2005).