Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dear Frustrated Mom

This letter came from a lady who really needed our help. She had struck her child and felt awful for doing it. Unfortunately this happens more often than not and while no one should ever strike a child, no parent is perfect but if you have problems controlling your anger around your child it is important to get help IMMEDIATELY!!


I read about your site and subscribe to your newsletter.

My child does not listen. He is 8 years old. He wakes up late for school, I have to remind him to do almost everything and repeat instructions to him all the time.
He is a pleasant child but just NEVER listens and NEVER follows through with things unless he is told over and over again.
This morning, I slapped him across the face because I was so angry with him and he was left with a small blood nose. I feel awful and feel like the worst parent. what can I do to help myself and him. How can I be a better parent.
Please help.
I never want to hit him or yell at him again.

Dear Frustrated Mom

First of all I want you to take a few deep breaths and then tell yourself that you are not a bad parent but there are much better ways to deal with your son and when you know better you will do better. Forgive yourself and lets try a new approach with your eight –year- old. I want you to promise me that if it ever gets so bad that you feel like you might strike your son that you will walk away, leave the room and compose yourself for however long it takes until your anger has lessened to the point that you can face your boy with a level head. That said, let’s talk about what else you can do.

Being a Mom is not an easy job at the best of times and I am not going to offer you a quick solution as your child is not going to change overnight but if you follow my advice, you will soon find that your child has changed his behavior and for the better. It will be a bit of work but well worth it and the bonus is you will have a much better relationship with your child so it is a win/ win all around.

Your child is misbehaving and refusing to listen because he wants to get your attention and it doesn’t matter if it is positive or negative to him your attention is like a gift and he will use whatever means he has to make sure he gets enough of it. Because any attention is better than no attention from you, your son is not listening to you when you ask nicely time and time again. When you are finally at the end of your rope and you start to yell and get excited, he thinks Aha! Now I have Mom's undivided attention and this is how I get it. So what you have to do is show him that when he misbehaves he will not get the attention he craves so desperately from you. Instead, look for the times when he is being a good boy and lavish attention on him. Praise him for getting dressed or hanging up his coat without being asked. Hug him
and say, "You are an awesome kid for hanging up your coat, thank you so
much!!!" He doesn't have to do anything monumental to get your praise and
hugs, anything small will do and make sure he knows you are sincere.

Please keep in mind that this is going to take a bit of extra work on
your part because you have to constantly be aware of what your child is
doing. You will be surprised how fast your boy will clue in that when he
is good he gets lots of attention and hugs and when he misbehaves, not so
much. When his behavior is bad there must be a consequence, such as a
favourite toy or video game taken away for a day or he can't watch
television or play with his friend. It has to be something he will really
miss. At your child's age time outs don't seem to work. I find that by
losing something my children really likes for a bit they get the message
loud and clear that the behavior will NOT be tolerated and there will be
a consequence to their action. You must be firm and look them in the eye
but do not under any circumstances get excited or upset and yell. Use a
tone of voice that says you mean what you say and follow through on your
promise. DONOT let him talk you out of losing the privilege even if he
says he promises to do better if you don't take his toy or game or
whatever away. Make sure you walk the talk or he will learn how to
manipulate you and totally lose respect for you. You are his parent and
you are here to teach him that he will be rewarded for good behavior and
his bad behavior will have a consequence. It is important that you say
you are not pleased with the behavior but you still love him and NEVER call
him a bad boy. This method is called Positive Reinforcement and it works
like a charm if you work it. The change will not happen overnight but if
you are consistent you will be surprised at how quickly your son's
behavior will change for the better.

Please talk to a professional if you feel that your anger is getting the best of you. No one will think badly of you, in fact they will commend you for wanting to do what is best for your son. No parent is perfect and we all do things that we may regret later when it comes to our children. Try and spend some quality time with your child even if it is only ten minutes a day if it is quality that is what counts.

I really appreciate your email and I hope this helps. Cassie and I have
written two articles on the kidsgoals website that will give you even more
information about discipline and the positive reinforcement technique one
is called Effective Loving Discipline and the other one is Positive

Hope that helps. Keep in touch and let us know how it all works out for you.
All the best.

Happy Parenting :-)


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