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screaming kid

If you’re a parent you have faced a season where you’re not sure if an alien has taken control of your kid because they are out of control. It always seems to show up when we least expect it and for a while we try to ignore it and hope it is a passing phase. It also always progressively gets worse as kids embrace this out of control behavior as normal. They watch us tolerate it so they embrace it.

Chelsea (my wife) and I have watched both of our girls go in and out of these seasons on struggle. Every family has to face the “out of control” season at one time or another. I was the parent who tried the “wait and see” approach almost trying to ignore the bad behavior. Chelsea (the smarter parent in our family) caught on quicker and helped us confront the issue. I learned from her that when the only way to help a child break the chains of bad behavior is through consistent confrontation and loving direction.

As a dad I thought if I was firm enough I might be able to shock my kids out of these ruts but it did not seem to work. Their out of control behavior pushed me to anger and that did not help anyone. I needed a plan and I am betting many parents are the same way. This verse in Proverbs has helped me so much as a parent…

Proverbs 15:1 (NLT)
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

We can’t allow our out of control kids to push us to be out of control. What we need is a plan. Here are a few reminders when shaping your plan to help your child get back on track.

  • Cover your child with prayer // we often forget that God can shape the heart and actions of our child in ways we can’t imagine or understand. Invite God to lead you through this process.
  • Identify the specific problem // your kid is not a bad kid, they’re embracing bad behavior. Focus on the specific issue so you can embrace all the other great characteristics that make your child so amazing.
  • Be Consistent // with confrontation and discipline be consistent and do not let up. You are helping your child know that out of control behavior is not acceptable.
  • Praise the right behavior // when you child makes progress celebrate! Catch them doing the right things and praise them for the right choice.
  • Stay positive // changing behavior is a process. Stay focused and know that over time you will be able to lead your child through this season.