Thursday, April 17

Day 2 - Dealing With The Difficult Child

I am still recovering from the flu, and still not up to par. I will try to do my best posting this topic, as promised.

The Difficult Child - Most families have at least one child that butts the system, wants to do things their way, acts up at inappropriate times, and is disagreeable. We can easily think of that one child, and all the things they have done, popping into our heads right this minute. Ugggghhhh!!! We think, how do I fix this?

First of all, I must add, that my difficult child was with me during this workshop. He was not at all happy to be there. The day had been a bit boring for him, and he was sick of sitting through workshops with mom. However, he did enjoy shopping for homeschool supplies, and going to lunch. So, when we got to this workshop, he sat leaning against the wall, and totally disassociating himself from the group of 50+ people in the room. There were other teenagers in the room, that pretty much looked the same as he. I thought to myself, that he must feel that this workshop will be a bash session about the difficult child. He was surprised to find that it was not. By the end of the workshop, he was sitting by me, leaning his head on me, and laughing with the speaker. What a transformation, right? Well, this is what she said:


How To Handle Them:

Proverbs 22:6 says to train up a child in the way HE should go. Not the way his brother should go, but the way HE individually should be trained according to HIS own personality.
It's hard not to compare sibling to sibling, from time to time. I know I am guilty of this. Why can't you act more like your brother? Who hasn't said that, or even thought that occasionally?

List your goals for parenting. Are your goals for them not to embarrass you in public, or are they to "train" the child? Child training should be motivated by God. Building faith, virtue, and character, before academics.

Don't push away from the child. It is easy to separate ourselves from the difficult child. We are angry, and just want to be away from them. Sometimes we tell them to just go away. Go to your room, leave the table, etc... During these situations it may seem easiest to remove the child from the situation. To shut ourselves off from this child, and move on without them. This will make the child feel unloved, and forgotten. It is important to talk to the child when you see his "attitude" starting to show it's ugly head. Force yourself to remain calm, and they will calm down, possibly stopping the behavior before it really starts. Remember to love your child. It's hard sometimes to remember to love your difficult child, especially when they have just put you through the spin cycle. Really love them, and not because you feel guilty for something you think you may have done, but because you do. Ask yourself, if you curse or bless your children with your words. Always try to respond with kindness. Don't dwell on thoughts of anger about the child. Focus on their positive attributes they bring to the family. Let your difficult child know that you are praying for him.

It is very important to remember to speak calming and with kindness to your difficult child. Difficult children tend to put up walls to protect themselves from hurt. The difficult child feels misunderstood most of the time, and doesn't easily express their feelings well. This does not mean however that they don't have feelings. In fact, the difficult child may be the most sensitive of all your children. It is important to remember that.

Difficult children tend to need a schedule or routine. They desperately need structure to keep them on task. Chaos causes chaos. Have you ever noticed that when your home is in disarray, or your schedule is in disarray, that that is when your difficult child most often acts up? Difficult children need the same routine every day. Difficult children do not like change or surprises. They find comfort in things staying the same. It is our job as a parent to be consistent, and help them to be as comfortable as possible.

Give them lots of praise and encouragement even over little things. It's important to recognize that most of all the difficult child needs praise and encouragement. They are the child that is usually being yelled at, and ridiculed for their actions. One great point that she made was to say 10 great things about your difficult child, before saying a negative. Sometimes you have to count all ten things, but just as in your checkbook, you always want a positive balance going. So if you deposit 10 encouraging things into your child, and withdraw 1 negative thing, the positive balance remains strong. If you are constantly withdrawing, with no deposits, your child will be overdrawn, and so will you.

Teach them to be responsible for their own actions. This means that we should also take the blame when we show our "unattractive" side to our children as well. I know I have been guilty of this. So many times I have apologized for yelling at the kids, and then retracted it by stating that I wouldn't have yelled if they would have listened in the first place. It is important to remember that unless we take the blame for our actions, that they will be less likely to take the blame for theirs. When seeking help in taking responsibility for our actions, always seek answers from the Bible. Ask your child to look with you and see what God says about such action. Always point them to scripture. "God says this is right." "This is why we can't do this."

Remember these 3 great points about your difficult child:
1. Children who demand a lot of time are ones that "give back" much.
2. Challenging children help to provide much-needed exposure of sinful attitudes in the parents' hearts.
3. The time that seems to be taken away from the other children may actually be an investment in their lives!

More about the difficult child can be found at the speaker's website:

Suggested resources to help you deal with your difficult child:

Character Building for Families - Lee Ann Rubsam
Character Prayers - Tom Bishop
Child Training Tips - Reb Bradley
Praying Down the Path of Your Child's Life - Tom Bishop
Proverbs for Parenting - Barbara Decker (This resource is great! I didn't know that there was a Proverb for just about any sin. Best of all, it tells what God's answer is to the sin.)
Good and Angry - Exchanging Frustration for Character - Scott Turansky, Joanne Miller
Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in you and Your kids! Scott Turansky, Joanne Miller
The Young Peacemaker - Corlotte Sande

DVDs/CDs - by Dr. SM Davis
How to Bless your Children
3 Key Elements of Successful Parenting
How to Parent as a Team

1 comment:

MerrandaVK said...

Wow. I have enjoyed your posts lately! Particularly this one. My middle child, while yes is only 3, has proven to be a tough one so far :) These are great truths to keep tucked in my heart as she grows.

Thanks for the tip you left on my blog!

And yes, Evan says he thinks he remembers you. He said he was pretty little, and mostly remembers his outdoor adventures from that time :)