Do you find yourself dealing with an out of control child?
The young, trendy store clerk looked me over curiously as I hid between the racks in the clothing store. Chris, my rambunctious two-year-old was out of control and throwing the mother of all temper tantrums about twenty feet away. All the parenting advice I had read up to that point seemed to contradict the other. Should I discipline him or ignore him? Stay calm or use my “firm” voice? As a new mom, I was as confused as ever, so I hid in a nearby store while my toddler threw himself around and screamed on the dirty floor of the mall.
If this scene doesn’t sound familiar to you, you’re blessed. Chris was more than strong-willed; he was out of control, and I was at my wits’ end. I was a twenty-year-old, newly married mom at the time who had decided not only against spanking my child, but against disciplining him too. The “parenting experts” taught that children needed to express themselves freely. If I didn’t want my child to need therapy when he grew older, I must allow him to emote without boundaries, I thought. I was naïve, yet good-intended, which is how I found myself hiding from my tot and concerned onlookers in a rack of prom dresses.
Your Response is Crucial
If you are dealing with or have ever dealt with an out-of-control child, you know that your response to him/her is crucial. A strong-willed child can seem like a ferocious dog. They sniff out any area of weakness in you, and then they pounce! That’s why, as a mom, you must remain cool, calm and collected instead of crazy, cranky and cowardly.
Chris gave me a run for my money, until I realized these simple tips for handling his out of control behavior.
- Focus on the fear, not the behavior.Fear makes us do crazy things. In a child, it might make him/her act impulsively, say mean things or even lash out at their parent. I learned how to help my youngest son, Collin, write out his feelings when he was only a few years old. Putting words to his feelings helped give him the power to talk instead of tantrum.
- Set appropriate boundaries.
It is not okay for your child to be out of control. It is okay for him/her to be allowed to emote but always within healthy, appropriate boundaries. My sweet Collin struggles with anger. It’s something we’ve been praying together for since he was very little. When he gets angry, he is allowed to go to his room and have a “moment,” but once he comes out, he needs to have himself together.
- Stop judging yourself.Why are we so tempted to beat ourselves up when our child acts out of control? Someone once said, “God is the perfect parent, and still his children rebel.” You are not to blame for all of your child’s mistakes and decisions. Take responsibility where you need to, learn from your mistakes, but understand that your child is ultimately responsible for his/her own behavior.
There is hope for you if you are dealing with an out of control child. I have mentored countless moms over the last 10 years who have gained a new awareness and have seen improved behavior in their children by following these simple steps. So, hold your head up high, come from out of the clothing racks and into the loving, open space of positive, purposeful parenting.
MEET OUR FEATURED EXPERT
Dana Che is an inspirational speaker, author, blogger, relationship coach, and host of the online talk show Real Relationship Talk who is passionate about seeing people walk in relational wholeness. Over the last 10 years, Dana has journeyed with all types of moms as a mentor mom and coach. As a speaker, she has served audiences both large and small at women’s conferences, business events, schools, churches, moms’ groups, and youth conferences sharing her story as a former teen mom and other topics like building authentic relationships, purposeful parenting, finding purpose in pain, and more.
Dana holds a B.A. in communication from Regent University. She shares her life with her husband and high school sweetheart, Shaun, their four amazing children, and their “multi-cultural” dog in beautiful Virginia Beach, VA. For more information or to book Dana to speak at your next event, visit http://danache.com.
The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. Our primary focus is in helping churches and communities launch single mom’s ministries and have done so more than 1,500 times! Our support groups connect 71,000 single mothers each year to a local church. We are a one-stop shop for all things single mom ministry related. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.