What To Do When Your Children Are Out Of Control

Written by on May 29, 2012 in Family - 1 Comment | Print this page

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Are your children taking control of your household? image via Jiri Hodan at PublicDomainPictures.net

The living room is littered with toys, the dinner table is a war zone, and getting them to go to bed at night is a never ending battle. By the time you finally crawl into bed you’re exhausted and that exhaustion carries over into the next day, when the war starts all over again. Eventually, it seems like surrender is your only option.

The first thing you need to realize is that your children have taken control of your household and this constant battle you’re waging is wearing you down, not them. And they know it.

I recently spent a couple of weeks with my grandchildren and right away I noticed a behavior pattern. On Monday morning, everyone woke up refreshed from their weekend, including my daughter and her husband. Mom and dad were able to control the children and the day-to-day household activities because they were well rested.

However, as the week progressed and the children continued to push those buttons that all children seem to inherently know how to push, mom and dad lost more and more control. Dealing with work and then coming home to manipulative children was taking its toll and leaving them too exhausted to be the same vigilant parents they were at the beginning of the week.

By the time Saturday morning rolled around, the kids were in complete control and the entire house was in chaos. These are the 3 tips I left with my daughter and her husband and within 2 weeks they were back in control – all week long.

Top 3 Tips To Take Back Parental Control

Let Go Of The Guilt

Quit being so concerned that your children are missing out on something because both parents work. Over-indulging to make up for Working Mom Guilt isn’t doing anyone any favors. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to mold your child into a responsible, caring adult. He’s not going to learn that if all he has to do is stomp his foot and you give him whatever he wants.

Two-income families have been the norm for at least 3 generations now and you turned out fine, didn’t you? Just ask yourself this question:  What would MY parents have done if I acted this way?

Have A Game Plan and Establish the Rules

The first thing you need to do is have a plan and then you need to communicate that plan to your children. At my daughter’s house, the first thing she needed to do was get bedtime under control. No one was getting enough sleep. However, the system she used will work for any situation.

First, she set a specific bedtime, based on 8 hours of sleep, counted back from the time the boys had to get up for school in the morning. Then, she added in bath time, 1 hour of TV time, and time for Good Night kisses and hugs and drinks of water. That meant the boys had to be in bed by 8:30 every night.

She explained this plan to the boys, making sure they understood they’d get their TV time and hugs, and each night she reminds them, – “You have 1/2 hour to bath time, what do you want to do? or You have 1/2 hour of TV time left, what do you want to watch? “

The boys still have choices but they now also have boundaries.  And my daughter and her husband now have some alone time at night so they can relax by themselves.

Keep Your Promises

Children remember promises. If you promise them they’ll get ice cream for cleaning up their room, you better deliver on that promise. Otherwise, you can forget about them cooperating the next time around. If you can’t deliver on a promise, don’t make it.

By the same token, if you’re the type of parent who’s always saying, “The next time you do that, I’m going to…” and you never follow through, then how can you expect your kids to listen?

When your child misbehaves the first time, explain to him why that behavior is unacceptable and inform him of the consequences if he does it again. And then – follow through with it.

Your younger child might throw a tantrum the first time or two you give one of his toys to a needy family, and your teenager might be surly when you take away her cellphone, but they’ll never repeat the bad behavior again, either. He’ll also learn to listen to you the first time when you tell him not to do something.

Following these tips is going to take some commitment on your part and for the first few days, I’ll be honest – it’s going to be exhausting. But it works. And it only takes a few days of constant vigilance on your part and a few temper tantrums on theirs, and you’ll regain control of your home.

This is a guest post. Donna Anderson is a freelance writer who enjoys small-town living in rural Kentucky. She’s an active member of several online communities and enjoys taking part in discussions that focus on how real people can live real lives in this fast-paced world we all live in.

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