From Back Talk to Sibling Rivalry: How to Fix 6 Common Parenting Challenges
Every parent faces difficulties while raising children, yet some of these problem areas strike a communal chord. Mighty Mommy addresses 6 common parenting challenges along with tried and true solutions to help.
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I’ve long believed that parenting is definitely the toughest job you’ll ever love, but let’s face it—there are plenty of days that our role as a parent is tested to the limit leaving us worn out.
There are dozens of reasons our parenting skills get tested on a very regular basis, and though each of our children have unique personalities, learning styles, and talents they all share one thing in common—the ability to challenge their parents in order to get their own way.
Mighty Mommy has faced many a parenting trial over the past 20 years while raising her own 8 kids, and shares 6 common parenting challenges along with some tried and true solutions to fix them.
#1. Back Talk
As I stated in my episode, 5 Ways to Curb Backtalk, one of the most challenging aspects of parenthood is dealing with a fresh child who engages in back talk. Bottom line is—it’s rude, disrespectful, draining but definitely a behavior that parents across the globe must face.
"When a child talks back, what he's really expressing is anger, frustration, fear, or hurt," writes Jane Nelsen, author of Positive Discipline, on babycenter.com. "Talking back guarantees your attention, and some attention is better than none."
Solution: Sometimes back talk is simply a way that your child wants to get a rise out of you. If you want to nip it in the bud, remain calm and simply say, “I feel hurt by the way you’re talking to me. When I hear that tone of voice, I’m going to walk away. We can talk again when you can speak respectfully to me.” Then walk away. The key here is to be consistent. You need to remain calm each time the back talking takes place and quietly leave the room. As tempting as it might be to raise your voice or go right back at your child with negative words, this strategy will never be helpful without consistency.
As overwhelming as this stage of parenting can be—not to worry—for the most part, it’s completely normal. It's basically a test your child is giving to you, her parent. Tantrums usually result from one simple thing: a child not getting what she wants. When a child doesn’t get her way, she responds with frustration and, in order to get your attention, she throws a fit.
In an on-line article, How to Handle Tantrums and Meltdowns, Dr. Vasco Lopes, a clinical psychologist, explains “A majority of kids who have frequent meltdowns do it in very predictable, circumscribed situations: when it’s homework time, bedtime, time to stop playing.”
“The trigger is usually being asked to do something that’s aversive to them or to stop doing something that is fun for them.”
Solution: Dr. Lopes recommends eliminating or changing tantrum trigger so they’re not as problematic for the child. “Anticipating those triggers, and modifying them so that it’s easier for the child to engage in that activity is really important,” says Dr. Lopes. “For example, if homework is really difficult for a child, because she has underlying attention, organization or learning issues, she might have outbursts right before she’s supposed to start her homework. So we say to parents, ‘How can we make doing homework more palatable for her?’ We can give her frequent breaks, support her in areas she has particular difficulty with, organize her work, and break intimidating tasks into smaller chunks.”
Today’s kids grow up with an entitled mentality due to heavy exposure from non-stop advertising, TV shows and movies that glorify having stuff, and peers at school who always seem to have the latest gadgets or the hottest labels. This ultimately leads to parents giving their kids much more than they need—and sometimes, more than their family can really afford.
Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, writes in the article, 9 Signs That a Child Has Entitlement Issues, “When children receive everything they want, we feed into their sense of entitlement—and feelings of gratitude fall by the wayside.” ““The entitlement epidemic usually begins with over-parenting—over-indulging, over-protecting, over-pampering, over-praising, and jumping through hoops to meets kids endless demands," she says. "Today’s generation of parents are overly invested in their child’s happiness, comfort and success.”
Solution: Find Gratitude Lessons in the Everyday
It's easy to turn daily life into valuable lessons about gratitude. When you see your son lovingly playing with the family pet, stop and express your gratitude to him for being so kind. “Brady, I love watching you take such good care of Molly, you’re so good with her.”
When your spouse stops at the store after a long day of work to pick up milk and bread, instead of taking it for granted or treating it like an errand let him know you appreciate his efforts. By positively reinforcing such actions, you’ll be setting an example of how much you value the good things that your family does, and in turn will help your family build a foundation of gratitude for the good things in their lives—not just material stuff.