Oh c'mon. You've said it inside your head like a THOUSAND times.
Yelling & screaming.
Just straight up bad behavior.
Up until a certain age, you can just pick them up and plant them squarely on their beds.
I always told myself my goal as a mom was to be faster and stronger than my kids so I could catch them and tackle them before they ran too far away from me.
My oldest is 7 and I'm pregnant, and, well, I lost control a lot sooner than I thought I would.
I know you feel me. Cause you're wondering if it's this hard NOW, what do the teen years hold in store? How will I make it? And above all... WTF do I do right now?
The first thing to know is that behavior is a clue to what's going on under the surface.
For your kids, you, your spouse, anyone you know.
Positive or negative, it's all an indicator.
So if you're dealing with negative shit on the outside, it's a reflection of what's going on inside.
Aggressive-type behaviors (whether physical or verbal) might be signs of serious distress. Anxiety, depression, regulating emotions and behaviors are possible struggles that you just can't see.
The second thing to remember is that kids don't act out, bully, or give you a hard time because they're "bad kids." It's not a reflection of who they are as a person.
They'll make mistakes. It's unavoidable. They may assert themselves differently (and be misunderstood). But overall, they're still trying to figure things out and create all kinds of coping mechanisms.
They may be trying to get attention, gain a sense of control, fit in, have skewed perceptions of their own behavior, or just simply have a dominant personality.
So what can you do? What solves this? How can you stop your kid from being such a jerk?
Put on your grown-up pants, cause you gotta go deep.
This is not the time to pull back and isolate your kid. It's the gut reaction (I've done it), but it can make it worse. Give them space and time to calm down, but don't pull the silent treatment hoping it will fix things.
This feels like shame to them and creates a sense of unsafety.
You want them to tell you stuff. You want them to open up.
1. Remember how old they are.
Intelligent children (I know yours are just as brilliant as mine) often get treated as if they're older than they are.
We treat them as if they have the emotional maturity to match what's coming out of their mouths. Suddenly they seem so knowledgeable and curious - and its fun!
It's easy to forget that they're only 7. Or 10. or even 15.
It's an unfair expectation for them to be able to regulate their feelings on the same level as we do. Consider what might be confusing to them. Consider what they might not know yet (that you assume they do).
For example, you know what anxiety is and feels like. But does your 3rd grader? How do you even explain something like that?
2. Start asking.
Find out what's going on. This can be challenging as younger kids don't often have the vocabulary to communicate how "anxiety" feels. They may say they don't know or don't want to talk about it.
You don't have to get everything in one day. But keep asking. Describe aspects of anxiety, depression, fear, nervousness, sadness, being left out, being picked on, and so forth to help them formulate their feelings.
If this is still a struggle, you can pull up a list of feeling words online and just start talking about what they mean. Go as small and simple as you have to.
3. Consider yourself.
The tough pill to swallow is that the problem may originate at home. It could be friends at school or a big life change (new sibling, new house, new school), but chances are good it could be very subtle family dynamics.
You're in good company here. It happened just this week in our home:
Lately, my son has been blatantly ignoring our requests. Which side of the car to get in, brushing his teeth, getting chores done. It's been a nightmare.
When I finally quit badgering him and took a look at what I might be doing, I saw we had been loose on boundaries and rules. We were bending them (it's summer after all), not consistent between mom and dad, and all over the place. We didn't follow through on what WE said we would do, which sets the tone and the example for him.
Kids thrive on boundaries. They rely on us to have them in place and hold them steady. It gives them security and solid expectations that we are reliable and they can count on us (even if they don't like it).
There was pushback and FURY when we reset and reinforced them. I even had to follow him around the house at one point to make sure he did what I said. But after 2-3 days, everything was peaceful and calm. He's back to his kind, calm, cooperative self.... because I showed up the way I was supposed to.
Not because I broke his spirit into obeying me no matter what.
When we become the parents they need us to be, they are able to relax into the kid they want to be.
When you were a kid, and you acted a certain way, there was a reason. Maybe you felt unsafe, like you didn't see your parents enough, they didn't understand, they were just lousy, you got picked on a school, or you just 'knew' something was wrong but you didn't know what or why.
Kids don't have a hard time on purpose. They don't decide to be obnoxious, embrace anxiety, or even choose to be bullies ON PURPOSE.
We weren't born this way. We were born open, trusting, lovable, and smiling.
Which is why I've opened up 1:1 personal calls for anyone who needs specific help.
There's no reason to struggle or be confused about how to help your child. Those days are over - I have all the info you need.
When you know what's *really* going on inside your child (beyond the bad, exhausting, frustrating behavior), you can solve it at the core.
If that sounds like you, message me. Together we will make this happen for your child and for your family.
60 minute calls - $97
90 minute calls - $147
If you have questions, please let me know.
I'm here to help you. I'm here to help you work through this.