Imagine yourself going on a trip to the mountains or the desert. In the beginning, you’re enjoying your freedom, that feeling no one can reach you, that you don’t owe anything to anyone, no explanations nor tasks, nothing, absolutely nothing to do.
After a little while, you get a bit lonely. You want to talk to someone, to share how you’re feeling. To feel a little bit seen and a little bit heard by someone who knows you well. You reach for your cellphone to call that someone, but you’re in the desert, and there’s no reception.
You stare at those three dots, tirelessly trying to connect, but there’s no connection. And the more these dots try, to more eager you get to have that connection. But nothing’s coming…
Terrifying, isn’t it?
Have You Ever Felt Lost?
This little imaginary trip to the desert is a representation of how children feel before they become defiant, too angry to communicate to, too demanding, or even too “needy.”
If your child is defiant, will do practically anything but listen and cooperate, if they demand and demand and demand no matter what they are given… If you can’t insert a word without hearing and angry “STOP” or seeing something fly your way, know that your child is out of the connection area. They’re alone in this desert called life. Or up on that mountain. They want to come back home to you, but they don’t know how to.
Finding the Way Back Home
When our kids are “out of line,” behaving in ways they know, we disapprove of, showing immense anger, defiance, or violence, rejecting our attempts to communicate, and it’s because they’ve lost their way home.
Our actions, what we usually do when push comes to shove, are the opposite from what can actually bring our kids back to us, help them feel empathy and compassion for our pain, and help them open up to us. With our purest intentions, we usually make things much worse. We punish, we shut down, we send them away. And that hurts everyone even more.
So before you decide on your next strategy to dealing with your child, consider these 10 things:
10 Things You Need to Know About Your Defiant Child
- Feeling disconnected from your parents is the loneliest feeling a child can experience
- From this place of loneliness, he tells himself that there’s nothing he can do to come back home to you, figuratively. That no matter what he does, he’ll only hear unpleasant words from you.
- Feeling with his back to the wall, yet eager to reconnect, he’ll tell himself that he’s not worthy of anything but being scolded.
- He will always tell himself that the problem is in him as if he starts believing otherwise, if he loses trust in you, his hope to be taken care of is gone.
- He’ll interpret anger as love.
- Searching for that love, he’ll keep trying to anger you.
- He can’t break this cycle. He doesn’t have the knowledge or tools.
- He needs you to step up and give him the map back to your heart.
- He needs you to put discipline and judgment aside.
- He needs you to reach out to him, with a loving smile, and reconnect.
Goodbye Child Discipline
I’ve written extensively about the mistaken modern approach to child discipline (follow the link to read the post), so here I’ll say one thing: your child knows. He knows what to do, and he knows what not to do. He knows what’s allowed and what isn’t.
For some reason (disconnection in 99.9% of the cases), that knowledge is inaccessible. Relentlessly trying to push for that knowledge only separates you from your little one and doesn’t address the root cause of what’s going on.
If everyone tells you that you need to discipline him more, better, harsher – everyone’s wrong.
Connection is an existential need for all human beings of all ages. Children need connection even more than adults because they know that they will not survive without our connection. Instinctively and biologically, children strive to be on good terms, to be connected to us. That’s what they want. That’s what they need.
If you’re now blaming yourself for not seeing this earlier, don’t. This is how our world works. We live in a world that believes that power and force are the only solutions when, in reality, they are causing all the challenges.
I was that teen, that misbehaving child. I know exactly how it feels, and one of the reasons for which I am now doing what I am doing (working with parents to help them build strong connection with their children) is to do my very best so that other children and parents won’t go through what we’ve gone through.
In my bestselling book, “No More Tantrums, Empowering Children to Peace of Mind”, I share all the knowledge and tools that you need to re-frame your parenting and restart your relationship with your children. Follow this link to get your copy.
Join my life and parenting support group on Facebook, where I share secrets to living and parenting from the heart.
Hope to meet you soon 🙂