Resistant Kids

It's extremely tough to be a child in today's world. Children are inundated with conflicting messages that tell them that they are in charge when developmentally they need to have strong parents who decide their fate.

Kids have two universal needs that they will likely reject sometime in their development. Kids need you to love them unconditionally--even during the days, weeks or months when you don't like them. And kids need to know that you're in control at all times. They need to believe that you are in the power seat. (Even when it seems that their only mission in life is to knock you out of that very powerful position.)

What do you do when your child is at an age when they seem to reject your involvement at every turn? You involve them anyway. Kids need to participate in family activities because they are part of the family. You can't make them have a good time or force them to interact with you, but you can still take them with you on family vacations and insist that they participate in family routines.

As we continue to move towards being an informational and technological society, we're seeing how kids are moving away from family values and choosing socializing with friends via cell phones, Instagram and Twitter.

What can a parent to do?

Emphasize the family values no matter what power struggles ensue. When you instill family rules, you're telling your kids that they are important, even when they would prefer to do other things. Sit them down and explain to them that there are some rules that will be enforced for the sake of the family. All forms of communication are to be turned off at 9. Kids need to unwind and attend to the next day's activities. It will feel life shattering to be cut off of from the social sphere but they will live through it. (I know many children who go to bed with their cell phones and talk throughout the night. It's no wonder they have difficultly in school!)

Secondly, kids need to feel your faith in them, even when your fears seem to outweigh your hopes. Never give up on your children's' ability to come around to your values for the family. When they are rejecting you and your ideas, love them anyway.

You may want to write out an affirming statement that instills faith in your children. It might be as simple as "Johnny has been brought up with the right values and will turn his life around" or "Jenny is an intelligent adolescent and will make the right choices as she matures".

Find some time daily to wrap your arms around your children. When they won't let you, do it anyway. If they absolutely refuse to let you get close, imagine through visualization that you are holding them tight. It will change your fears about them not loving you. It also will reinforce the love you may not be feeling towards them. Don't take it personally when they reject you with ever fiber of their soul. This is a normal reaction to having constraints on their time.

We live in a society that gives kids too many privileges, and rights. They don't have a healthy balance of what is important for them in their lives. It's easy to feel rejected by your children when you provide them with the much-needed structure. Remember that they are rejecting your control, even if it feels like they are rejecting you!

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