I wanted to share this word for word exchange I had with one of my clients in a private Facebook Group. I guarantee you can apply this advice to a situation in your life.
***Read all the way to the bottom to see how her son quickly changed…
Posted by Sue @ 4:53pm on Saturday @ The Peaceful Parent Private Page:
“My 8 yr old son is a strong-willed ADHD only child. There’s a weird dynamic when we give him any “freedom” on vacation. He becomes obstinate and disrespectful to us. For example, he’s in my sister’s wedding tonight. At practice last night, he was talking, hit the teen next to him, and not doing what he was told. When I went up to talk to him and pull him aside, he said, “No!” and pulled his arm away. He will not listen to me when he’s around his cousins and I feel it’s because he is hanging around with everyone in the beach house, playing miniature golf, feeling very “free”! How do I maintain “control” and help him to behave? My husband and I are at each other’s throats and I feel like a failure as a parent. PLEASE give me some encouragement and guidance, Lisa! Thank you!!!”
Why do you feel like a failure as a parent? Sounds like your son is exploring and getting a bit carried away with his cousins. Can you work past the failure and just see this as a growing experience for all of you? Feeling like a failure is you getting into the storm with him rather than staying on the sidelines and being his emotional coach. Sounds like he doesn’t know how to handle these social situations.
Can you talk with him ahead of time about appropriate behavior? Can you explain that this is a special day for your sister and family?
Let him know that you want him to have fun AND be respectful at the same time.
Then let him know if he chooses to hit or do ____, then _____ will happen.
Let him know upfront so he can choose which path he wants to take.
So it might be something like…” if you choose to hit and get really rough with people on this special day, then we will take a walk away from the group until you can gain control of yourself and then we will rejoin the group” (this is not a punishment-just setting limits).
Let him know upfront what will happen.
Invite him to regulate himself. Be specific so he knows what to work on and then if he can’t regulate himself, you step in and help him.
As the parent it works best if you stay calm and empathetic. Empathy might look like understanding that he loves being around his cousins and it is hard to regulate himself.
The client said: Thank you! Hope he will walk away with me if need be.
Then I wrote:
If you tell him the plan before he should. Review it with him in the car now. Also understand and have empathy that he might be nervous, scared, excited, anxious or all of the above about being in the wedding.
Imagine how agitating feeling all of this could feel and if you don’t know how to process, then it comes out in unacceptable ways-especially for an 8 year old boy.
Husband and I just went over it with him in the car. He did say many times that he was “very nervous”.
Yes, I can see that now and have empathy for him.
Acknowledge that a lot and give him lots of empathy.
Tell him you understand and it will be ok.
Tell him it is ok to be nervous.
Ask him how you can help him.
Let him know that if it feels like too much, he can come over and stand by you and hold onto your leg.
My husband agreed wholeheartedly with what you said.
Thank you!! This is stabilizing us
My last tip is to release the expectation that this has to go perfectly.
Your son doesn’t have to perform or get it right. This will change your energy and help him relax on a subconscious level! You guys look great! Enjoy yourselves!
Wonderful, wonderful advice and encouragement. We’re talking now about his nervousness. And you’re right… I need to let go of MY expectations.
The next day Sue followed up with:
Lisa, with your help, my son sailed through participating in the wedding with no issues! I was able to focus on my sister, and not worry what he was doing.
I just kept telling myself, “He’s perfect as he is!” and let him be. I’m actually using your advice to work on being less reactive with my husband as well!
Lisa, you’re a Godsend at this time in our lives! 😘
I help parents work through these kinds of struggles every day. But the real breakthroughs come when the proper communication is put in place AHEAD OF TIME so that it doesn’t get to these breaking points.
When peaceful parenting is implemented properly, the child feels better… but equally important YOU FEEL BETTER and the relationship with your child and spouse/partner strengthens instead of being strained.
Ready to see your own break through?