"Raising kids is part joy and part guerrilla warfare" Ed AsnerRead
Radhika says "I want to go home". Rahul walks across and takes his mother's hand away and restarts the television. Jonathan threatens, screams and throw things at his father. Sheena is late for school but is not ready to get out of her bed.
In above cases, even if they are all misbehaving we rarely figure out the difference. When we blanket term any misconduct, as misbehaviour, they all look the same. Probing a bit can give some access. If we cannot figure out the goal as a parent, we are left gasping for help. Finding out what the child intends to achieve by such misbehaviour is the main task. Parents have to figure out what emotions they feel when their child throws a tantrum. Let's look at 4 different goals.
The goal is to get attention The parent feels annoyed and they are ready to cajole. Annoyed parent means that the child wants attention. What you feel as a teacher or a parent is important to find out. As that is the goal behind misbehaving. They stop the action when given attention. Starts misbehaving after a While. Like Radhika who says "let's go home", and the moment she gets some attention from her mother she stops. After a while, she says "let's go home". The belief behind attention is “I only count when I'm noticed or observed”.
“The hunger for attention is an enemy of self-love.” ― Edmond Mbiaka
In such situations avoid eye contact, & verbal communication. with no words make them feel attended. Take action, an immediate gentle tap on the shoulder or brushing the hair can be very supportive. Rather many get annoyed and scream back “five more minutes”. Also, some kind of learning as a preventive measure is important. If the usual goal of your child is attention, you have to teach him how to get attention in different ways. Different ways being creative to get attention. That he/she matters even if no one gives special attention. Strengthen this belief it will help them in long run.
When the goal is powerIn this case, you feel challenged and provoked. When your child misbehaves you feel like you need the power. You get a thought that "they can't get away with this no matter what". But, your child intensifies action, he wants to win and starts being a boss. The thought which is running behind is "I only count when I'm dominating" or "you do what I want" or " You can't boss me". Power-play needs smart management. usually, power-play happens when the parent, also has a need to prove he is in control.
"To love without power plays, is revolution." Rita Brown
The best that the parent can do in such situations is start giving choices and not orders. Stop arguing immediately, maintain a friendly eye contact, be firm and calm. Give the child useful ways to feel powerful. So instead of going and switching off the television and declaring "no more TV now". Think what can happen new here. Give different choices keep them handy. Please don't tell me or yourself that you have tried everything. Usually, parents who have problems with managing power become powerless here. They say things like we have tried all. You have not. Trust me.
When the goal is revengeAs a parent when you feel hurt or angry. Thought triggers "how can he do this to me". Figure out that the goal of your child is to take revenge. They want to get even with you. What's going in their mind is" if people can hurt me why can't I hurt them back". usually, here the parent's ego writes checks which the body can't cash. Parents are so shocked and hurt that figuring out a different way is next to impossible.
“I want to commit the murder I was imprisoned for.” Harry Potter
First, come out of your resentfulness. Empathise with them. Ensure that you do not hurt them back by reminding them incidences of the past. Re-establish the relationship; repairing resentful situations is a big task. Make amendments to yourself. Punishing in such situations, no matter how creative it might be will not help. Because punishing a victim who thinks he is not will make you more of a victim. As a parent start observing what type of language you use when you lose it. Try being more compassionate in difficult situations. Parents with revengeful children usually don't take responsibility for their child's behaviour. A child who cannot take revenge on their parents usually starts doing this on a schoolmate. Or externalise by being a bully. Breaking glasses or property of the school is the behaviour of revenge. Revenge towards how parents or teachers behave with the child. Taking responsibility for behaviour helps, not saying "he's a quiet child at home". Needs a major change in parents like the way they speak and express anger among themselves. Also while expressing anger to others, neighbours, housemaid etc.
When the goal is to show inadequacyWhen the parent feels depressed, helpless or pity on your own child. The major goal of your child is to show their inadequacy. The child starts to feel that there is no use to try and become very passive. They feel a burden to take actions and withdraw from situations that demands work. The thought running inside them is "I can't do anything right, so I won't do anything at all". "I am no good". Misbehaviour happens in the morning hours when they are late for school.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, it is that we are powerful beyond measure" Marianne Williamson
Late night when they remember a project they have to submit tomorrow in school. They challenge your concept of being a good mother/ father. So you start doing their project keeping aside everything you have. Parents have to stop showing pity and doing the work for them. Many parents start doing the project for their child by showing pity on them. Rather, you should arrange small victories and successes. Avoid doing it for them. Praise them for small efforts and actions. Don't false praise, they act as if they are dumb to get the work done. They are not actually dumb, so save your applause. Redirect their self-talk, don't assert their negative thoughts. Keep small goals and let them accomplish. Let them overcome small hurdles, feel capable and worthwhile.
Even though many children have one or two of these goals, they can combine it to achieve their goal. So better be ready for all four situations. when planning to misbehave children are unaware of your strategy. Their whole purpose of misbehaving is to get their job done. Like my title above was an attention seeker. There is no once and for all in parenting. Parenting is like entropy giving continuous energy. Start being a smarter parent by understanding their goal. Respond in a different way. There are a lot of parents who are bankrupt with ideas. Come up with a new idea. Don't keep saying that you have tried everything. The goal of such parents is also one of the above. Can you guess?
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What Works When with Children and Adolescents: A Handbook of Individual Counseling Techniques - Ann Vernon
Maintaining Sanity In The Classroom: Classroom Management Techniques - Rudolf Dreikurs.
Children: the Challenge: The Classic Work on Improving Parent-Child Relations--Intelligent, Humane, and Eminently Practical (Plume) - Rudolf Dreikurs
Himali Kelvekar, Student of English literature with a minor in communication, media and Psychology at christ university, Bangalore with a on-ground work experience in content writing ,editing,designing and public relations.
Sahil Takshak A student of Delhi University. Writing is my first love. Passionate about fitness, travelling, human psychology, cooking, politics, music, movies and books.