600,000 parents and teachers have called Kirk’s presentations “practical, life-changing, and laugh-out-loud funny.”
Kirk has spoken at over 1,000 schools, churches, PTA events, home school conventions, corporations, and foster care/adoption conferences all over the world. Want him to come to your town? Call Casey at 888-506-1871 or email Casey@CelebrateCalm.com with the name of your organization and city. He will send you all the details for a "Change Your Child Overnight" Workshop.
HOW CAN WE DIFFUSE CONFLICT?
Here is one simple action step that can turn a power struggle into a learning opportunity. If you respond to an upset person by getting upset yourself, you have perpetuated the cycle. But the moment you sit down and calmly say, "I'd like to listen to what you have to say without trying to control your behavior or change your opinion" is the day you begin to become the trustworthy, calm leader your family needs.
Can you do that? Can your spouse? If you can't, if you have to lecture or prove your point, then you are provoking and inflaming the situation. It will NEVER get better because you are dependent on the other person's response. My goal is to teach you how to spread calm and get back control over your life...instead of just hoping other people change.
HOW CAN I GET MY STRONG-WILLED CHILD TO BE MORE RESPONSIBLE?
Step back so your kids can step up.
When we control our kids or micromanage them, we rob them of the satisfaction that comes from making good decisions on their own or developing the internal resources to learn from bad decisions.
When we step back, it gives our kids an opportunity to step up.
Never give a child control of your home, but do give them ownership. It’s also a respect issue. “I respect you enough to believe you are capable to handling disappointment or boredom without me fixing the situation for you.”
LETTER FROM YOUR CHILD
Dear Mom and Dad, I want you to know what it's like to be me. My brain runs like a washing machine powered by a Ferrari engine, tumbling ideas like shirts and pants and socks mixed together. Sometimes I have so many thoughts swimming in my head that I blurt out because I'm afraid I'll forget them. And you get mad at me.
I kind of like all this energy inside my head because I can keep myself entertained. But other times I feel scattered and lost. That's why I like things to be just so and need to know the plan for the day. It's why I wear and eat the same things. New things freak me out, but please don't get frustrated with me when I'm anxious.
Sometimes I feel my body screaming at me to move, like I need to push up against something. I'll be sitting in class and feel like I'm about to explode. But my teacher will yell at me if I get up, so I sit there frozen and distracted, not sure what to do. I promise I don't get in trouble on purpose. Okay, I was lying (notice that I'm honest about lying!). Sometimes I get in trouble on purpose just so I can get out of class to walk down the hall. It's such a relief.
Little things bother me. I'm not making it up to be difficult, so please don't discount my feelings when I tell you some place smells bad or it's too loud, or I have to change my socks. I know you get concerned because I stay up late and don't sleep much. But I like it when it's quiet. I can hear my thoughts better. My world is peaceful then.
I get bored with kid stuff pretty easily. It's like I have an adult brain and ideas stuck inside a kid's body. That's why I like to hang out with Uncle Tom and work down at Mr. Brown's shop--he gives me grown-up jobs and trusts me. And he always says I do a good job for him, and that makes me feel good.
Things hurt me more than you think. I see the way Grandma treats Adam and Grace different than me, I know I don't get invited to birthday parties. You know the way Dad shakes his head in disapproval, the way Mom sighs and all those little comments and hushed conversations you have with the teacher and therapist? I know people think I'm a bad kid because I don't behave like my siblings and classmates.
That's why I like hanging out with my puppy, Buster. He likes me the way I am. It's why I like to play video games and be alone. It's like my heart can only take so much.
Mom and Dad, please stop trying to make me be like everyone else. I like who I am. Do you? I know I'm not exactly the way you want me to be or the kid you expected, but I'm going to be good as an adult and you'll be proud of me then.
WHAT IS ONE WAY TO STOP POWER STRUGGLES?
The only person you can control in life is yourself.
It is NOT your job to control your child. Your job is to control yourself and TEACH your child how to control himself.
The quickest way to change your child’s behavior is to first control your own. Changing your body posture will change the reaction you get.
Sometimes we use fear and intimidation to control our
child’s behavior because we cannot control our own behavior.
When you begin to “lose it” emotionally, you lose your authority. Your child is now in control…
because you’re out of control. Do you take the “it’s my way or the highway” approach? Do you hide behind the excuse that “it was good enough for my father, then it’s good enough for me”? What are you
willing to change?
SUBTLE FORMS OF DISRESPECT IN THE HOME
When we allow our children to play without adult-organized events, it is a high form of respect. We’re saying,
- I respect you enough to believe you are capable of negotiating relationships by yourself.
- I respect you enough to believe you are capable of handling disappointment and overcoming boredom without me interfering.
- I respect you enough to believe you have the intelligence and creativity to direct yourself.
But the opposite corollary is true as well. When we micromanage our children, what we are really saying is, “I don’t believe you are capable of handling this on your own. You need me to fix everything for you.”
HOW TO MOTIVATE STRONG-WILLED CHILDREN
When we try to force kids into a box, it causes power struggles and crushes spirits. Many strong-willed children desire ownership and like challenges. They are very purposeful. Strong-willed children often feel like everyone and everything is against them. They need us to be FOR them. Don’t put them in a box according to what is comfortable for you.
Strong-willed children won’t progress according to your timeline. Many are late bloomers. Some won’t be ready for college right away. Be patient and give them space to grow.
Strong-willed children respect authenticity. Live out your life with honesty and they will respect and emulate it. Apologize for lecturing or controlling too much. Ask your child to help you control yourself.
Strong-willed children like to learn by doing and failing. Step back so that your children can step up and be responsible for themselves.
Strong-willed children are purposeful. Kids who ask WHY all the time are often looking for context, ownership, and a larger purpose.
Strong-willed children like to challenge assumptions. Teach your child to disagree and argue respectfully. Children who learn how to express independent thoughts in the home are more likely to say no to peer pressure.
Strong-willed children like to DO their faith. Model and live your faith so your kids can experience it. Let them own their own faith. Service projects are helpful.
SIT. DOWN. NOW.
No, this isn't about commanding your children to obey. Or is it? This is what YOU need to begin doing. Sit. Down. Now.
Sit down next time you feel like stomping through the living room, yelling at your kids. Sit down next time you feel compelled to lecture or hover above your child. Sit down and color next time your child is really upset. There's something magical that happens when you sit.
Sitting changes your posture. It forces you to breathe in and relax. It's more difficult to scream when you are sitting. If you can yell while lying down, you need therapy!
If you stand above a child (spouse, employee), you create a defensive response or a confrontation. Sit down and you have a conversation.
Know why I like it? Because it's simple, I can do it anywhere, I don't have to think in the moment. And because it works. It does.
Do you yell, lecture and lose it around your kids? You probably learned that from your parents. Break that generational pattern NOW so your kids don't grow up repeating the same behavior with their children. If you want hundreds of strategies that work...in real life situations...to stop the yelling, tension, power struggles, defiance and sibling fights, then read the book now!