Although it might seem unfamiliar, some of the following parenting strategies may be helpful:
-Use explanations and reasoning instead of commands when you make requests, it teaches kids to feel respected and to be respectful in return.
-Ask your child to explain their reasoning when they make choices-their responses are often sensible.
-Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep (research shows that when 6th graders under- slept for one hour on just one night, they performed at a 4th grade level in school for the next three days).
Calm parenting is important in your child's brain formation. Ongoing anger and yelling can change brain structure by stimulating fight or flight responses, which re-route neural pathways so that kids have a harder time listening, learning and calming themselves.
Work with your kids to identify and express feelings, so that behavioral outbursts decrease. When kids learn the skills of identifying, expressing and processing feelings, they are able to make decisions based on what feels right and wrong internally. Creating an atmosphere of closeness with your child by understanding their innermost thoughts and feelings increases the likelihood that they will operate from a place of family culture and internal strength as they begin to navigate peer pressure.
Kids' behaviors might seem to come out of nowhere, but are usually intricately connected to their families or to their daily situations. As parents, we sometimes get into a cycle of blaming our kids for their upsetting behaviors, and wanting the problems to be fixed without realizing that we have a part. There are reasons kids act out that even they might not understand or might have a hard time talking about.
When kids are having difficulty at home or in school, it is often helpful for the family to come into counseling together. A parent's perspective of a situation can be helpful in: 1) exploring the mutual interactions creating upset, 2) piecing together the puzzle of understanding and 3) creating ways to feel closer. It is important to talk about family dynamics and any recent changes within the family unit or situation. Often, kids initially feel more comfortable when parents are present in counseling. It's also helpful when getting to know a new counselor if all of the focus is not on the child. And remember, it can take time to get to know your counselor and develop enough trust to make changes.
Many parents have not had the experience of being mostly understood and accepted as children. It can be a satisfying and reparative experience for you to parent with conscious intention. Providing that experience for your child also fosters self-motivation, responsible actions and expectations of success for your child.