What to Do When My Child is Out of Control

Children act out because they feel out of control, inadequate, and/or unsafe.  Temper Tantrums, eating disorders and self mutilation are ways that children “act out.”  Parents can become confused, fearful, embarrassed and sometimes angry when they feel they have no control.

Humans have an innate need for control.  When that is threatened, we fight back to gain control.  Acting out is a way to gain control.

As parents, we can either give up some control or lose all of it when our children “act out.”

Giving children choices is a way to share the control without giving it all up.

How to give choices:

·         Choices should be age-appropriate.

 ·         Give choices when things are going well (lots of deposits into the “control” account).

 ·         Give two choices that you can live with.  Ex.  You can clean your room Saturday or Sunday.

 ·         Be willing to allow the child to have the consequence of the choices they make.

 ·         Be careful not to turn the choices into a threat (you can either clean your room or lose TV time).

 ·         If they do not choose within a reasonable time (10 seconds for most), choose for them.

The delivery of choices is important.  Non-threatening choices, offered in a calm, non-hysterical manner, give children a chance to take some control over their problems.

To learn how to use “Magic Phrases” so that your choices don’t sound like threats, join us for the “Becoming a Love and Logic Parent” class in your area.

I am here to help, feel free to contact me with questions or specifics.