Do you feel like your kid is out of control? Well of course they are, they are their own person and we have established that we can only control ourselves, right? Now if your kids are young enough, of course, you have a pretty high level of control. If the kid doesn’t come with you, you literally can pick them up and their feet leave the ground and you have 100% control in where they go. Now they can kick and scream and throw a fit, things I would never tolerate, but they can do that and that would be in their control if they chose to do that. Like the post before, let’s not yell at the kids who act this way. Put them in time out until they have calmed down and if you’re like me in that crazy scenario, you can also use that time out time to allow yourself as a parent to also calm down. Then only when they are calm, have stopped screaming, yelling and crying can you sit and calmly share with them why the way they acted was not appropriate and never acceptable.
Have a conversation with your kids at their levels and build them up to have self-esteem and remind them that they always have a choice. You can educate them early on to respond with good choices and get positive rewards and maybe utilize their love language here. This is of course in reference to my very first ever blog post on Quality Time with Dad. Or you can bring in some negative consequences if they make bad choices like taking away iPad, TV, Netflix, or going out to play or the park privileges as an example. When your kids are older, you will need to get creative with the consequences so that they don’t feel like punishment but are instead a direct consequence of making a bad choice. Don’t let them get mad at you for a consequence that they essentially chose because they made a choice that led to that predefined consequence. Ask your teenager for example who slams the door all the time when they are angry. Ask them, well, you keep slamming the door and you know we don’t like it so what happens if you slam the door again? The kid might say, “then take the door away.” Make sure the next day that kid comes home from school or from being out that the door is no longer on their room. It will make them think twice next time! If the kid wants the door back, well, then they will have to pay to have that door re-attached by a professional and fix any damage they made because of their attitude and taking it out on that door. They will have to get a summer job or cut some neighbors grass, but it will be a lesson learned for sure. They can’t get so mad at you because you executed the punishment that THEY choose! They can only get mad at themselves and you may need to remind them of that fact.
Give your kids chores, make them feel like they can contribute in meaningful ways. It’s valuable to you as a parent, of course, to have the extra hands around the house to pick up some of this work that had always landed on your lap to do. More importantly, your kids will need to learn these skills for the day that they live on their own. How else or where else will they learn to do laundry, fold the clothes, the extra work involved in letting the cheese harden on a plate in the sink? The annoyance of running out of shampoo when you’re already in the shower or missing a clean and dry towel when you completed that shower. Food doesn’t just appear in the fridge; they need to appreciate the value of money. This summer I asked my son to find a summer job and I look forward to seeing him go through the interview process and put my hand on his shoulder when he’s disappointed by the size of his first check after Uncle Sam takes his cut. Our kids will no longer be kids, they will be adults and it’s on us as parents to prepare them as best we can for a future that is most likely going to be even harder for them than it was on us.