HELP FOR PARENTS WITH STRONG-WILLED, OUT-OF-CONTROL CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

How To Be A "Bad" Parent

Have you ever been to a friend's house, the Mall, or a restaurant and witnessed a very disturbing parent-child interaction that caused you to have the thought, “Oh my God …that parent should be arrested!” or something similar? Unfortunately, there are a lot of good people out there who are just plain “bad” parents. And here’s how they do it…

12 ways to be the best “bad” parent out there:

Bad Parenting Method #1: Don’t build strong bonds.
Corrective Measures: If you want your youngster to be more cooperative, change your focus from improving him to improving your relationship. When you dwell on the ways he's misbehaving, it just discourages both of you (you feel like a bad parent, and he feels as if he can't do anything right). Besides, all that energy you're using to correct him could be channeled into something more uplifting and effective. So try to give him positive feedback several times a day (i.e., a specific compliment on something you see him doing).

Bad Parenting Method #2: Don’t change your “parenting practices” as the son or daughter grows older.
Corrective Measures: When discipline doesn't seem to be working for your family, you want to step back and look again at the problem. The first step is to learn “what is normal behavior” for your youngster's age and stage of development. Some misbehavior is an expression of transitions in the school-age child’s rapid development. Parental expectations may be beyond what the youngster is able to achieve on a consistent basis.

Bad Parenting Method #3: Don’t change yourself first.
Corrective Measures: When your youngster misbehaves, ask yourself, “What is it that I need to know?” “How am I contributing to this behavior?” “What could I do differently that would help my youngster?” Seek first to understand the situation, the contributing factors, and how you can change yourself. You may discover that you need to add a few tools to your parenting tool box.

Bad Parenting Method #4: Avoid having good family communication.
Corrective Measures: Giving instructions and consequences, planning for good behavior, listening to your youngster, holding family meetings, and resolving conflict are just a few of the opportunities moms and dads have to encourage self-discipline and maintain good family relationships. When confronting a problem, your style of communication will help or hinder a successful resolution.

Bad Parenting Method #5: Don’t increase the number of tools in your parenting tool box.
Corrective Measures: When you develop a well-stocked parenting tool box, you increase the likelihood that you will match the most effective tool with the appropriate situation. The more you learn the more options you have when a difficult behavior arises.

Bad Parenting Method #6: Don’t learn what best fits your kids.
Corrective Measures: Some kids are visual learners, some are auditory learners, and some are more tactile in their learning. When your youngster behaves in a way that calls for your correction and guidance, stop to ask yourself what would be the best way to deliver the guidance. Choose the method that fits their learning style and the odds that your youngster will learn more efficiently increases

Bad Parenting Method #7: Avoid reinventing yourself and learning from others.
Corrective Measures: Take parenting classes. Read parenting books. Consult parenting experts. Actively seek information and ideas from the many ways it is provided today. One can find parenting techniques on YouTube, in books stores, or by attending workshops in your community.

Bad Parenting Method #8: Punish and shame rather than teach and guide.
Corrective Measures: Your role as a mother or father is to help your kids learn how to manage their own behavior. When you shame, threaten and punish your kids, ask yourself, “What is my behavior teaching my kids?” Consider that the main lesson you are teaching them is that shame, threatening or physical force is an appropriate way to get what you want in this world. Is that the lesson you want your kids to learn?

Bad Parenting Method #9: Show disrespect for the youngster.
Corrective Measures: Discipline techniques that belittle or shame a youngster are truly harmful. If your relationship with your youngster has become a power struggle, then control – not discipline – has become your goal. Defuse this toxic relationship with good listening skills. Show respect for your youngster's feelings and thoughts, while standing firm on your expectations for good behavior. Respect for moms and dads and other authorities is crucial to self-discipline and healthy development. Help your youngster learn respect for authority by making your own words and actions as a parent worthy of respect.

Bad Parenting Method #10: Parent the way you were parented.
Corrective Measures: Most moms and dads use similar techniques and strategies to those their moms and dads used with them. “Well my parents did it this way with me – and I’m fine,” some parents offer as an excuse to keep from learning alternate ways of managing kid’s behavior. Much has changed in our world from when we were growing up as kids. Be open to seeing new ways to approach your important role as a mother or father.

Bad Parenting Method #11: Parent your children the way you wanted to be parented as a child.
Corrective Measures: Many parents did not get the love and acceptance they wanted - and needed - as children. As a result, they make the mistake of parenting the opposite way they were parented. For example, “My parents were just plain mean, so I am going to try to be my child’s best friend.” …or… “We were always poor as dirt, so I’m going to see to it that my child has everything he needs!” You may have been parented poorly by your parents, but that doesn’t mean they did everything wrong. Take the good parts – and keep them. Trade-in the not-so-good parts for something better.

Bad Parenting Method #12: Forget about using "I" statements.
Corrective Measures: Children learn early on to tune-out their moms and dads' endless "no's" and nagging. So if your requests and commands aren't producing results, avoid using them. Using "I" statements, tell your child what his actions do to you: "I get upset when I see you throwing food because I have to clean up the mess" (try not to whine when you say this!). When you give a warning, continue to emphasize what you'll do: "You’ll go to your room without dinner if you throw your food again," and then follow through so it's not an idle threat. As you focus on your own actions instead of harping on your youngster's behavior, you'll feel more in control, and so will he. He'll begin to see the connection between his actions and their consequences. Of course, no discipline strategy can make children behave perfectly all the time. But if you and your youngster are caught in a bad cycle, sometimes all it takes is a change in your behavior to bring out the best in his.

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