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All of us who are parents have ever faced a challenging situation on the part of our children; even the sweetest and most obedient children will at some point rebel, refusing to do something, answering badly or simply ignoring an order.
We must not forget that saying NO is also an important part of life and the evolutionary process of children (mainly from 2 to 6 years old and later in adolescence) and a way of testing how far they can go. Of course it depends on the temperament of each child, the frequency, intensity and subsequent reactions to each situation. But it is important to know how to react to this situation. We explain how to react when your child challenges you.
The events that make children or adolescents challenge their parents can be very varied and range from refusal to actions as simple as taking a bath, getting dressed, cleaning their room, greeting someone, doing their homework or schoolwork, leaving the house or from a place where they are having a good time, until questioning their decisions and being openly hostile.
Here the really important thing is not the challenge, but parents' reaction, since the future behaviors that their children present in similar situations will largely depend on this.
Following, some strategies to best respond to these situations:
1. Anticipate: There are some situations that we know in advance that can generate a negative reaction in our children; anticipating them can avoid the challenge or at least the intensity of the reaction. For example, if you are having fun at a party, we can tell you that in a little while you will have to say goodbye to get used to the idea; If the task creates conflict, we can make a schedule with him, and once he leaves school, review the order in which he will do his afternoon activities reminding him of the fun that will come later.
2. Don't take it all personal: Many parents feel that the refusal of their children to an order is a sign of challenge that directly seeks to drive them out of their boxes. In the vast majority of cases this is not the case; their refusal has nothing to do with us, simply with themselves and their wishes. Keeping this in mind helps us not to get hooked and overreact.
3. Be firm and stay calm: If we lose our cool and start to get upset and raise our voices, we will only create an even more complicated situation. We must not lose sight of the fact that we are adults; we must maintain a tone of voice and a calm and firm attitude.
4. Do not give them many explanations: There are parents who desperately try to "convince" their children in the midst of a crisis of the motives of the order, however, on many occasions, the children even knowing it remain in their refusal. It is good to make the reason clear once (which many times they already know), but once this is done, you do not have to continue trying to convince them, but to take them to action. For example, with the little ones, if they don't want to pick up their toys, we can take them by the hand and with them start picking them up (even if they cry and resist), or accompany them to brush their teeth or change clothes, instead of waiting to convince them to do it alone.
5. Try to put yourself in their shoes: Trying to understand what bothers them can help us stay in control and know how to handle them.
6. Change their play: Normally there are situations and challenges to which we always respond the same; it seems to be like a staging that is repeated day after day. They know where it will end and still they don't stop. Try to do something they are not expecting, such as suddenly distracting them with something else and once they are calmer, get back on topic.
7. Not wanting to always have the last word: Not always negotiating with our children means losing control. You can make them believe they have won, but in the end they will do what you expect. For example, if they ask you for 10 more minutes to go to dinner or turn off the television, you can give in and avoid a situation of shouting and hatching that in the end will take you much more than the 10 minutes that they asked.
8. Logical and consistent consequences: Once the situation has gotten out of control you must establish a logical consequence to the fault and be consistent in its compliance. Do not forget that the intensity of the consequences must always be similar for the same offenses.
9. Reinforce good behaviors: Whenever your child surprises you with a good attitude to something that is not exactly fun for him to do, let him know that you appreciate his effort and thank him for doing it with a good attitude.
Challenges are part of the process of growing, they are not intended to make you lose your mind (even if it seems like it), stay objective and under no circumstances lose control of the situation.
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