My Kids are Driving Me Crazy

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Here are three issues that keep coming up for parents, and an explanation of how parents can often solve their own problems.

Challenges of parenting.

When you conduct parent workshops, you start to see the same issues coming up over and over for parents. The names and faces are different, but the issues are the same. And the truth is that parents are often responsible for many of these problems. Here are three issues that keep coming up for parents, and an explanation of how parents can often solve their own problems.

My kids don't listen to me.

To expect that kids will listen to you perfectly all the time is an irrational thought. Kids are in a very different place than adults are in terms of their ability to listen and attend to things. Kids will often need you to repeat things a number of times in a patient, pleasant tone. And yes, your job is to be very patient with them.

It is often the "parental" tone of parents' voices that is part of the problem with kids not listening. After all, who wants to be lectured about what to do all day? If things still don't work, take action-kids will respond to action much better than they will to words.

My kids aren't respectful-they talk back and argue too much.

One of the problems with not having obedient kids anymore is that kids feel more freedom to speak their mind. This can be irritating, but it's far better than obedient kids that just do what they're told.

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If your child talks to you in a disrespectful way, you have choices. One choice is to be angry with them and to actually create more of the very behavior that you dislike. Getting angry when your child talks back to you is a great example of creating your own problems.

A better choice is to ask them what's bothering them in a compassionate way. Kids will often take out their feelings on someone who they feel safe with-you. Remember that you can tell them in a calm and firm manner that it's not OK to talk to you that way.

Arguing is a choice for parents. It still takes two to tango. Most parents who complain about their kids arguing are pretty good at it themselves. You may disagree often with your kids, but arguments can usually be avoided if parents can stay disciplined.

My kids aren't achieving as well as they should.

Whether its' tying their shoes, getting better grades, or success at sports, parents will always be worried about how well their kids are doing compared to other kids.

While there certainly are situations that require extra help and support, most of the extreme concern about your child's development is a problem in itself. When parents worry about their child's capability, it sends a powerful message to this child. Remember that Einstein and Edison were poor students.

The responsibility of parents is to believe in their child's ability to succeed and to set high expectations for them. The rest is to be patient and to be aware of your own insecurities. It is these insecurities that may be part of the reason your child isn't doing well.

While it's easy to point fingers at your kids, remember the old saying: "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Parents who attend to their own issues first will find far fewer "rotten apples" in their tree.

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Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC is the author of "25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers."

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