You have seen them, heard them. Children that are completely out of control, screaming without restraint, demanding, kicking, fighting. The parents are usually frazzled, inpatient, or even non-existent. You can watch as the children in the grocery stores, demand everything they pass, the littler ones in the carts grabbing everything within reach.
Then one day, you might wake up to realize that your children ARE really just as bad. Your children are completely Out of Control.
What do you do? How did this happen?
We have good news and bad news. First, honestly, it's not hopeless. That's the good news. The bad news is that this situation exists because you, as a parent, already messed up. The child in question learned the behaviour you are witnessing is acceptable as nothing was corrected in the past. The second piece of bad news is that is is going to take a long time, and more importantly, a serious amount of work to correct it.
If you are just waking up to the fact that your child might be Out of Control, the damage has already been started. You, like so many hundreds of other parents probably just fell to sleep a long time ago when the battling to control your children got a bit too heavy for daily confrontation. You might have re-arranged your rationale, your thinking and your reality in order to survive, to lighten your life and day, to not admit how dismal the situation has become. "It's not THAT bad, they aren't like the juvies down the street". "I can't deal with this right now." "This isn't happening."
Just like firefighting vs fire prevention, you wake up one day and find your living room on fire. Fire prevention is a preliminary step to fire fighting. If you don't take precautions to prevent fires, you will be left with just fire fighting, and that's usually after all hell breaks loose, and your complete life is on fire.
Back to the good news for a bit. At generally most points of time, with the right tools and understanding, along with a great deal of patience, support, strong will and determination, there IS hope. There is always the possibility of retraining the OOC by retraining the parents.
If you have decided to stop reading here, thinking, "This woman does not know what she is talking about, it's not MY fault, I have never been able to do anything about that kid!" ask yourself one more question before you close the window. Who IS responsible? Your mother? Me? The neighbor down the street?
Most parents have ignored, tolerated, and rationalized OOC behaviour when they find themselves ill equipped to deal with these traits when first they appear. I have always mantained that we might be fairly reliable at teaching the three R's, but our country has never had any kind of standard or mandatory program that teaches about the emotional side of life, let alone good, common sense parent classes. For shame. The brand new parents have their first child as a training class, and hopefully, improve with the second child. You can't teach a know-it-all soon-to-be-mommy anything anyway. It is rather like nailing jello to a tree, or trying to get a teen to understand what it is like to be fifty so they appreciate being a teen. All you can do is bide your time and watch for the paypack down the road and chuckle.
If you are truly serious, hopefully not at a completely desperate level, but truly serious about wanting to change your lives around, as well as the attitudes and behaviour of your OOC child, then pull up a chair and make notes.
The first step is to decide whether this is what you want to do. Would I be amazed to know most readers would be responding, "But of course this is what I want to do, are you nuts?" Starting a new discipline is not a lightweight decision to be quickly, eagerly and easily chosen. You need to be aware that this journey is long, ever so long, tiresome, tedious, weary, difficult, complicated, and it is a BIG job.
Since this is a life changing, major impact project with dire consequences for failure, it requires two things right off the bat: Your will to succeed, continue, do or die, and the continuing search for tools, methods and create the desired affect until you find what does work, opposed to giving up. Trying and failing, or resorting back to your previous lifestyle is the worst possible outcome you could hope for.
Starting a new discipline, and quitting before the desired affect has occurred, is fatal. The Out of Control behaviour you are experiencing now is nothing compared to the control your child WILL have to see your attempt, and failure to correct them. If you aren't ready for a BIG job, don't start it. If you are not willing to look at your own behaviour, honestly and openly, if you are not willing to see and understand how your behaviour resulted in your OOC, then don't start. If you are not willing to try, try and try again, search, read, understand, listen, ask, research, think, try again, over and over, then don't start. If you are not willing to stick with it, no matter what, when don't start. Wait until you are ready to do anything for any length of time. Don't wait too long, though, for the damage is compiling daily, hourly.
The rewards at the end are incomparable. The time it takes to turn your child around is an investment worth millions. There is no time limit to this journey, it will take as long as it takes. This is a choice only you (and your spouse) can make. There is not a two week limit like the bedtime method, it might take years. Are you ready to take what ever time is needed, no matter how long? You can choose to change your OOC child, or continue to find ways to live with it. How valuable is your child's future to you? Decide.
Then, read A New Discipline, and all the other Parenting Articles here, everywhere, any where. Your local book store, the web, talk to your own parents, talk to parents you know that have wonderful children. This is just the start of your adventure towards having wondrous, well behaved children.
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