WT 083: My Kids Are Acting Out: What Should I Do?

Tantrums, fits, and screams, oh my! We all dislike bad behavior: you, me, family members, neighbors, that lady in line at the grocery store that gives you a sideways glance. Handling children with high energy or children that act out is tough. Listen to Karen describe how she handled her children’s bad behavior with the questions you provided for this episode.   

Question 1: Karen, my kids respect discipline from their father, but not me. Any tips?

Karen's Answer: Okay, girl, I’ve got tips, are you ready? :)

Tell your children that you’re turning over a new leaf and cracking down. Whatever it is that your children are doing—talking back, tantrums, fighting, etc.—tell them you’re not going to tolerate it anymore. When they do it again, punish them instantly. No warnings.  

Here’s the deal moms: you MUST have your say match your do and you MUST be consistent.  If you are not both of those things, you will lose the battle and the war. We can’t have that. Since the children respect their dad, get him in on it with you and back each other up. Your children think they can run all over you and you’re soft.  You aren’t! You’ve got this!

Question 2: When I am out with my kids doing something fun, and one acts up - what do I do? I want to take the disobedient child home, but I feel so unfair doing that to my other children. How do I explain to the others that we're leaving even If they are being great.

Karen's Answer: This is honestly the best case scenario. When you tell the others they have to go because their brother/sister is not behaving, the siblings will gang up on each other which puts the pressure on the one acting up to behave. This is when peer pressure works in your favor.  It’s the old saying, “Life is not Fair.”  It’s good that your children are learning it early in life. They will be better off in the long run.

Tell your children your expectations before the outing begins. Also explain the consequences of not meeting those expectations. Then there is no excuse when you have to punish them. Set expectations early and often!

Question 3: Karen, How do you deal with a hyperactive child that won't nap or calm down?

Karen's Answer: First thing I would do is cut out sugar and watch their diet. Second thing I would do is limit tv or technology. The third thing I would do is take them outside and play hard. You want him/her borderline exhausted.

Create and vocalize the routine so they start to understand and recognize it. For instance, a naptime routine would be: put on his/her pajamas, read a book, watch a movie, etc. Then make the room dark and quiet. Whether they nap or not, I’d leave them in the room and force them to have some quiet time. If all the above doesn’t work, I would talk to your pediatrician.

Start being proactive and don’t just assume this is who they are. Figure out a solution that best fits your child. Every child needs to rest.

Question 4: What do you tell yourself or remind yourself of when you have maxed out your patience or feel like you failed as a mom? What makes you get up and tackle the next day with a positive attitude?

Karen's Answer: I remind myself that every day starts anew. I read 2 Corinthians 12:9 which says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God’s grace will get me through each and every day.

I experienced this especially in the early years and teen years. I write in journals; and, if you could read them, you would see this is an ongoing struggle. I confess to God and ask Him to give me what I need when I need it.  

Keep in mind, you’re going to fail as a mom; you’re human. Perfection is not the goal. The goal is to do your best and learn from your mistakes. If in one year you’re still struggling in the same area, figure out what it is you need to learn and find someone that will teach you. The Bible is full of knowledge in parenting.

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