Why do kids misbehave?
Dr. Kevin Leman offers these 3 reasons:
He says the strong-willed child has been given a bad rap. We want our kids to be strong-willed. When the world tells them, “Do everything we do,” we want our son or daughter to know right from wrong and to have the conviction to stand for it.
What you don’t want, Dr. Leman says, is the “powerful child.” They have an agenda. They want to win, control, and dominate. It’s part personality, but it’s part parenting, too. If you have a powerful child, you can rest assured there’s a powerful parent somewhere nearby.
By 18 months, toddlers fully understand the power they have over you, and they know exactly how to manipulate you to get what they want. By the way, per Dr. Leman: “manipulate” is not an exaggeration. It’s a concise description.
All kids want attention. The question is, do they get attention positively or negatively? Once the first domino of being rewarded for negative attention falls, the powerful child is likely to emerge.
The powerful child says, “I only count when I win, control, or dominate. I only count when I’m noticed.”
Dr. Leman has got lots of answers for the questions you have if you’re dealing with the challenges of a powerful child.
Here are a couple:
What if your 9-year-old won’t clean her room? Dr. Leman suggests that you hire your 7-year-old to do it – and pay for it out of your 9-year-old’s allowance. When she finds out she lost money to her little sister or brother, you’ll get her attention.
Or what about when your 17-year-old son is expected to clean the garage, but he doesn’t? Take his car keys. When he goes looking for them later that night just say, “Uh oh. Looks like your date for tonight is cancelled.” Be warned: He’ll promise you anything to get his keys back – pull weeds for life, wash the cars every weekend – but you’ve got stay strong and say, “No.” You have to let him suffer the consequences of his decisions.
For more practical tips to guide your powerful child, join us for our conversation with Dr. Leman, “Practical Advice for Parenting Powerful Kids.” Our broadcast is available on your local radio station, online, on iTunes, via Podcast, or on our free phone app.
We’ll have a lot of laughs, take questions from a group of moms who joined us in our studio, and talk about how to remove the power from your child and restore peace to your home.
Broadcasts like this one and the resources we provide moms and dads are making a powerful difference in homes across the country. We’ve been empowering parents for more than 40 years. I hope you’ll consider a donation to Focus on the Family. When you do, as our way of saying thanks, we’ll send Dr. Leman’s book, Parenting Your Powerful Child. Get it for yourself or for a parent you know who needs some help. Check our website for details or give us a call at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
Thank you for partnering with us to help families in need.