Last week I wrote about the importance of respect between parent / mentor and child. To continue along on this theme, I would like to suggest that a child who seeks revenge, or whose goal is power, usually regards logical consequences as arbitrary. What I mean by logical consequences, are consequences which permit choice such as: You will finish your homework and take out the garbage in order to play your video games, or you can sit quietly and read a book and take the consequences for unfinished homework. For a younger child, a logical consequence for acting up at the dinner table may be: you can settle down at the table, or you may leave the table until you’re ready to join us.
Parents of defiant children need to concentrate on improving the relationship through respect and encouragement. It may be necessary to put off a consequence on some conflict until the relationship is improved.
In a book entitled, The Parents Handbook by Don Dinkmeyer and Gary McKay, they talk about the fact that “today’s family structure is based increasingly on social equality. And, traditional methods of raising children are no longer as effective as they were a generation ago.”
It was also suggested it is necessary to be both firm and kind. Most parents are either firm or kind. Few are “firm and kind” at the same time, and that’s a balance you should be aiming for. Strictness deals with the child, while firmness deals with our own behavior and feelings. “Strictness is a term related to control of the child, and firmness is an attitude towards one’s decisions.”
The authors tell the reader to not “try to be a good parent”, and to refrain from overprotecting. They suggest that the child experiences the consequences of his or her own decisions, and they also make a point of saying you should avoid taking responsibilities which are logically the child’s.
Finally, I would agree with the idea of becoming more consistent in your actions. This really holds true in the classroom, and although I don’t think anyone can be totally consistent, through increasing your consistency, you let children know what to expect so they can make their decisions accordingly.