Stubborn children test your patience and parenting skills to the limit on a regular basis. Is this just part of raising children? All children go through at least two stages of being stubborn. Stage one is the “terrible twos,” when they learn to say “no” and then learn “yes.” The teen years is also when they say “no” as they practice making mature choices.
If a doctor has diagnosed your child as having ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), you will encounter similar issues. Differences between the two diagnoses relate to the frequency and the severity due to the cause of the defiant behavior.
To understand the child’s problems and being able to develop suitable plans and consequences are the first steps for parents. Whether your child experiences the stubborn stages, dealing with ODD, or has another major issue, address the problem early. In fact, at the first sign of rebellious behavior, teach and modeling acceptable ways to react and respond.
Next is an example of a conversation between a stepmother, whose 12-year-old stepson came to live with his dad, the new stepmom, and and younger sister.
Stepmother: Can I help you get settled into your room?
Stepson: You’re not my mother, and you never will be.
Stepmother: You are right. I am not your mother, I am your dad’s wife, your stepmother. I asked if I could help you get settled.
Stepson: You’re a liar. You don’t want to help. By the way, I do my own laundry and I cook my own food.
Stepmother: All right, let’s back this conversation to the beginning. If you are going to live here, we have some rules about respect. We show respect in our action and words. You don’t get to call me a liar, and I don’t get to call you a liar. Can you live with that rule?
This stepmom felt that this boy was begging for some attention, for some rules. He wanted to know if he was welcome in their home. Several weeks passed before the stepson settled into accepting that he was in a new home with people who would love him, but also not let him fall into his defensive anger.
Strategies To Help You Handle Stubbornness
The first approach is asking why a child behaves the way he or she does? Understand that you, as the parent, can best understand explosive behavior as a form of developmental delay. Dr. Ross Green, the author of The Explosive Child, suggests that the following questions will help parents see more clearly the crux of the problem.
This child acts this way because…
How come what works for other kids isn’t working for this child?
What can I do instead?
Build a sound basis. Parents start teaching expected life skills at the earliest ages.
Brainstorm. Write down your best ideas that might help solve the problem.
Consider the pros and cons of each possible solution.
Which of the possible solutions seems likely to work?
Plan out the solution step-by-step: What? When? How?
Refuse to bargain: Kids use bargaining to make several points: get out of chores, make a break or cut a deal. Children learn to accept the consequences of their choices and behaviors.
Reinforce the positive: Reward their positive behaviors. Point out when your child completes a job and has done it well. Support and praise a thoughtful decision. The power of positively deserved praise cannot be under-rated.
Parenting the whole child implies that we honor our children’s wholeness while we dissect and discuss the parts of the whole—physical body, mind, emotions and spirit. It may indeed be paradoxical, but it’s our way of understanding how the parts contribute to the whole and our job if we work with parents, families, and children.
We consider our children’s wholeness when we:
Bear in mind the emotional and mental factors that contribute to strep throat.
Look to a biochemical problem associated with a child’s temper
Consider the negative self-talk and thoughts that can float around in the head of a depressed teen.
Regard childhood patterns from a holistic perspective. These can include a child who falls down all the time, one who has allergies, one who is shy and sensitive, one who doesn’t want to be touched, and so on. We want to help, but do we help their biochemistry, their behavior or their spirit?
Think about how children spend their time, and if their activities are balanced between stimulation and quiet.
Bundles of Energy
The foundation of whole-child parenting is understanding that our children are bundles of energy in the form of thoughts, physical activity, emotional expression and spirit. Rather than thinking about managing our children, think about managing their energy.
The energy of the body needs food, touch, air and water. The energy of the emotions needs positive input like optimism, smiles and support. The energy of thought needs inspiration and imagination, or it gets bored. The energy of the spirit needs connection, faith, compassion and quiet. It needs calm moments of awareness.
Most of us know these things and have our own intuitive ways of mothering and fathering our children. In fact, the joy of parenting the whole child is discovering how much you already know and do. The ease of whole-child parenting is that when one avenue doesn’t work, there is always another way. For example, because we know that the nature of emotional energy can be chaotic, we can find several ways to structure and channel positive emotional energy with our child. We might follow schedules, share meals, read books or see a heart-warming movie.
A Soul Living in a Child’s Body
Thinking of a child as an “energy bundle” helps us take our parenting less personally when a child screams, “I hate you.” What we want to take to heart is that this soul is living with us in a child’s body. We are responsible for helping this child to develop in the best, most fulfilling way possible.
Parenting is really about educating the mind and body so our children are happy, successful and healthy in body and soul. Working with the mind-body connection is the foundation for parenting the whole child.
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When you are working toward changing bad habits into more positive ones, set small goals and reward yourself for accomplishing them.
If you are trying to establish a new habit, one approach is to add the practice to a behavior that you already do each day. For example, write in your journal after you eat lunch each day. When you are online, send five messages of gratitude to others before you start your workday online.
You may be limiting yourself. By ignoring the limitations and pushing past fear, you can create newer, healthier habits that break you free of your comfort zone.
To make a change in the present, you have to move away from the past. Thoughts of the past might run through your mind when trying to sleep. Your personal growth could stall or hinder if you are continually re-living the past. Clearing the closet of skeletons can help you banish your negative thoughts and bad habits by allowing you to focus on who you are now and who you want to be in the future.
Do you know that states of mind are contagious? Any negative person in your life significantly affects you. When trying to change your habits, surround yourself with those who are of a positive mindset or successful in some area of life. Surrounding yourself with positivity can propel you to accomplishing your goals and banishing bad habits.
Willpower is a dominant force when trying to establish new habits. Use your powerful imagination to distract yourself when willpower is low. Distraction is a powerful technique when reshaping behavior.
Remember that you will fail occasionally, and failing teaches you another step to success.
Do you have a plan for how to deal with failures when they arise?
How does failure teach you resilience?
How do mistakes help you try again and to experience success?
Mistakes mean you are human and learning to get back up and try again. Missteps are essential components of a successful life.
When you are trying to rid yourself of a bad habit, get rid of triggers.
Whether you are changing your diet or trying to watch less TV, eliminating the triggers that encourage you to engage in these behaviors is essential. Don’t have unhealthy food in your house. Hide your remote control. Do whatever you need to eliminate the habit from your life.
If you feel like something in miising in life, you are not alone. I felt that way until 2000 when I died in the hospital after receiving an overdose of pain medication the doctor administered.. The brief death was a sacred experience. Moreover, returning to life brought me strength and resolve to get on with “my work.”
Have you discovered your life purpose yet?
If you haven’t, don’t feel alone.
I didn’t know what my work, my calling, or my choices were around “working with parents and families.” I had already been a teacher, a counselor, a therapist, and an author with parenting books.I expected my purpose to manifest easily as if someone walked through my door and presented me with options. You are right if you guessed that it didn’t happen that way.
Don’t feel alone if you have not yet discovered your purpose. The reason is likely due to the fast pace of everyday life. When do you have time for yourself…to think about changing jobs, or even going it on your own and working from home? It can be easy to find yourself going to a job that you don’t like and feel meaningless at times.
The first step to discovering your purpose is taking some time for yourself. When you turn inward and take time to ponder, write, meditate, or review your options, you open feelings associated with passion. One technique I used was to state my intention aloud:
I want to know without reservation how I can best earn a living by loving what I do!
Living your life in a way that serves your purpose is extremely important if you wish to be happy. There are several ways you can attempt to discover the meaning of your life:
Describe your ideal day. Project yourself several years into the future and imagine that your life is virtually perfect. How would your life look? Are you working? What type of work are you doing? What do you do all day? Who is in your life?
Now that you know what the end looks like, what can you do today to take the first step in that direction?
2. Try austerity. Go camping in a remote place. Take time to enjoy nature and sit with yourself. When you’re alone and have clear intention, sometimes the answer become apparent.
3. Volunteer. Find an organization in your community that interests you. Doing something worthwhile can be an excellent way to discover your purpose. Even if you come up short, at least you’ll have done something significant.
4. Assume you can do the impossible. When anything is possible, what would you do? Take action to bring your dreams to life.
5. Write. Perhaps the most efficient way to discover your life’s purpose is to spend an hour writing. At the top of your paper write, “My life’s purpose.” Now spend the next 60 minutes writing whatever pops into your mind.
I did this exercise and wrote from a stream of consciousness as opposed to focused topic. I learned that my purpose hasn’t changed from my twenties. I still like to teach as well as learn. I love to care about others and offer counsel. This stirs up positive feelings. Moreover, I can see myself doing it.
6, Investigate a new hobby. We all have at least one activity we’ve been putting off until a more convenient time. Doing something new exposes you to new ideas and thoughts. Now is the time to jump in and get started. You might be surprised what you discover.
7. Do something that terrifies you. Skydiving? Public speaking? You might find your life’s purpose during the process of conquering this fear.
8. Spend a day inspired. From the time you wake up until the time you go to bed, attempt to spend every moment inspired. The right books, music, and movies can help you maintain an inspired mental state.You’ll believe you can do anything. What would you do?
9. Ask yourself what you would do if you had $10 million. How would you spend your time? Can you figure out a way to make a living doing one of the activities you would be willing to do for free if you had the time?
Keep revisiting these tips until you’ve found something that really excites you. When you see your purpose, there will be no doubt. Avoid spending all of your life thinking and planning. Get busy living.
Finding your life’s purpose adds meaning to your living.
You are motivated to accomplish tasks and achieve! How do these accomplishments help you find your purpose in life? Is there a benefit to finding that one true purpose? What is your purpose?
What Is Purpose?
Do you define the purpose of your life as something that you love to do that also has a great impact on the world? The purpose is that sweet spot where you’re having a great time and doing something wonderful for as many people as possible.
10 Discovery Steps To Your Life Purpose
There are several ways you can attempt to discover the purpose of your life:
Describe your ideal day. Project yourself several years into the future and imagine that your life is essentially perfect. What would your life look like? Are you working? What type of work are you doing? What do you do all day?
Who is in your life? Now that you know what the end looks like, what can you do today to take the first step in that direction?
Try austerity. Go camping in a remote place. Leave the food at home, but bring plenty of water. Limit your sleep and just sit with yourself. When you’re miserable, bored, lonely, and tired, sometimes the answers become obvious.
Volunteer. Find an organization in your community that interests you. Doing something worthwhile can be a good way to discover your purpose. Even if you come up short, at least you’ll have done something important.
Assume you can do the impossible. When anything is possible, what would you do? Take action to bring your dreams to life.
Write. Perhaps the most effective way to discover your life’s purpose is to spend an hour writing. At the top of your paper write, “My life’s purpose.” Now spend the next 60 minutes writing whatever pops into your mind. When you find something that stirs strong positive feelings within you, you’re probably on the right track.
Investigate a new hobby. We all have at least one activity we’ve been putting off until a more convenient time. Doing something new exposes you to new ideas and thoughts. Now is the time to jump in and get started. You might be surprised what you discover.
Do something that terrifies you. Skydiving? Public speaking? You might find your life’s purpose during the process of conquering this fear. This can be challenging and it might take some time, but get started today.
Spend a day being totally inspired. From the time you wake up until the time you go to bed, attempt to spend every moment inspired. The right books, music, and movies can help you maintain an inspired mental state. You’ll believe you can do anything. What would you do?
Ask yourself what you would do if you had $10 million. How would you spend your time? What would your life look like? Can you figure out a way to make a living doing one of the activities you would be willing to do for free if you had the time?
Keep trying the above tips until you’ve found something that really excites you. When you find your life purpose, there will be no doubt. Avoid spending all of your life thinking and planning. Get busy living. Finding your life’s purpose will make life exciting and meaningful!
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