Children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), bipolar, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified), can be very difficult. If your child has one of these conditions, he may try to push your buttons so you lose control and he wins. The only way out of this gridlock is to develop some refusal tactics of your own.
Adopt these winning tactics that soothe your child and elevate your parenting style:
1. Refuse to argue. Your child’s first line of defense (and distraction from the real issue at hand) is to start an argument. Counter his defensive tactic with your calm logic.
For example, if you child doesn’t want to do the dishes, he may say, “I didn’t eat any of that stupid dinner so I’m not doing the stupid dishes.” You can say, “I hear you. The chore chart shows clearly that you wash dinner dishes this week. Please start now.” If you weaken and argue, he wins.
2. Refuse to cater, coddle, or pamper your child when he is disagreeable. Otherwise he’ll think, “I must be the prince, and you must be the doormat. Why else would you cater to me when I treat you lower than the rattlesnake’s belly?”
Your child’s second line of defense may be to throw a tantrum or act out.
This is a control tactic plain and simple. Your child can control this. Counter his defensive tactic by withdrawing your attention. Calmly clear other children, pets, and breakables from his tantrum area, and move to another room. Without attention, he will get bored quickly with his tantrum.
3. Refuse to get emotionally overwhelmed. If you get overwhelmed, say “I need five minutes to decide what to do with you.” Calm down and return in exactly five minutes. That’s modeling self-control. (And you win.)
4. Refuse to raise your voice. If he’s out of control, try whispering. If he unnerves you enough that you raise your voice, he wins again.
5. Refuse to beg, bribe, or nag. Or your child will think you’re weak, and he wins. Praise him when you catch him being good. And give him a chance to win by improving his behavior.
6. Refuse to hit, spank, or threaten. You already know that these methods do not work. Your child sees your attempt to use these methods as weakness (and he wins again).
You need to motivate your child to improve his behavior and win your praise and attention.
You can remote control your child’s behavior with a token system, also called a behavior chart.
The secret is to find one that is easy to use. Some are too complicated.
7. Refuse to hold grudges or gripe about the past. It’s impossible to change the past, so it’s unfair for you to harp on it. If you do, your child is entitled to have a tantrum. (And he wins.)
All you have is the present. What you do right now builds your future, and your child’s, so make it count.
You Can Solve This.
Your calmer cooler response will be so surprising that your child will admire and respect your patience and strength of character. Then and only then will he trust you enough to learn from you. You both win.
I invite you to use these methods to transform quickly from reactive parent to surprisingly calm cool and collected parent worthy of attention and respect.
Copyright (c) 2008 Debra Sale Wendler