The response to my previous article: 5 Tips for Parenting Defiant Children, has been overwhelming. My email box was crammed full of questions and comments. Today I would like to offer you more tools and tips that will help you and your child shift from being ‘Defiant’ to being Delightful.
First let’s do a quick summary of the previous article. I wrote that parents should start by knowing that their ‘defiant’ child is being driven by continuous inner anxiety and stress – even though, sometimes, it may not look that way. I showed you how stress affects your child’s hormones and neurochemistry and how this triggers ‘fight’ behaviors which is one of the ‘fight or flight’ response to stress.
- Begin by looking at your defiant, angry, oppositional child with different eyes.
- Put away all the traditional ways of disciplining.
- Don’t treat the symptoms. Treat the underlying root causes.
- Become your child’s ‘teammate’.
- Strengthen your child’s prefrontal cortex.
Today I will deal with tip number 3 – Don’t treat the symptoms. Treat the underlying root causes because there is little point in using these tips if the underlying cause of the stress is not eradicated.
There are two kinds of underlying stressors that could trigger ongoing stress:
1. Stress coming from inside the child.
2. The Child’s Life Stress.
Stress coming from inside the child.
‘THE’ most painful of all feelings any of us can ever have, is the feeling of not being good enough. This is usually referred to as low self-esteem, low self-confidence or low self-belief. It is such a painful feeling because every interaction we have with our world emanates from either feeling good about ourselves or feeling bad about ourselves. Not feeling good enough colors the child’s entire world and causes continuous inner stress and anxiety no matter what he is doing.
The Unique Identity Builder
This is one of the most powerful healing tools for parents to use with kids, of all ages, who don’t feel good about themselves. Here’s how to use it:
- Identify all the positive characteristics, strengths and traits that you have seen your child display. Be sure that these are real strengths he/she does have – not strengths you would like them to have.
- Then deliberately and consciously watch for every occasion the child shows any one of these characteristics.
- Let yourself feel the pride and gratitude for having a child who behaves in this positive way. If you feel grateful, your will pump positive chemicals in your own body and brain.
- Make your child aware of this strength – say something like, I really like the way you helped your friend today. You are so kind. You make me laugh – you have such a great sense of humor! You are so smart with math. I wish I could be so quick with numbers…’
The goal is to help your child take ownership of his/her strengths. If they can see themselves actually behaving in that way, they will be more likely to believe it and own it. Neurologically speaking when you use this tool, you are making use of the brain’s neuroplasticity. What this means is that you are actually creating new neural pathways which you keep strengthening by continually sending messages that teach the child…’See! You are you and that is great – and here’s why’. Eventually this new, positive neural pathway will take over from the neural pathway that has made the child think, ‘I’m not good enough.’
Here is one final vitally important piece of information. In order to build new and strong neural pathways that will transform the child’s self-esteem and reduce the stress and anxiety about this:
- You need to offer 5 positive messages for every negative message
- When you bring a positive characteristic to your child’s attention, keep speaking about this for a minimum of 20 seconds. Thirty seconds is better. You can extend this conversation to 20-30 seconds by giving your child as many examples as possible of how and when you have seen your child behave in this positive way.
I have 2 videos that explain how to use this tool in great detail. The one is called, Find the RIGHT Label for your Child and deals only with this one tool described above. The other is the NeuroParenting Video Program which contains 12 different healing tools for parents. You can find these at … http://www.parentstakecharge.com/shop/
Next week I will write the third article about Defiance which will deal with the child’s Life Stress.
Can I ask a favor?
Okay I’ll admit it …I need to know what you thought about the 2 FREE videos I offered that many of you recently signed up for. I am working on MORE FREE videos for you and want to be sure that I give you what the very best and what you need. So here’s the deal – if you loved the first two – or didn’t love them, found them useful and interesting or didn’t, please take a few minutes to let me know in the comment section below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You cannot imagine how much I learn from your feedback and how much I appreciate it!
P.S. If you missed the 2 FREE healing parenting videos – you will find them on http://www.parentstakecharge.com/shop/