Reply To: Running out of patience..


If you look for deep reasons for misbehavior, you set yourself up for a path of failure and self-blame. ALL children must be taught to be good, and virtually all kids will test limits. The frequency and intensity of limit-testing varies with personality and self-control.

The triggering reason for a screaming fit might be that the child is tired. Is screaming an appropriate response? If the child is six months old, absolutely. If the child is two, possibly–it depends on what is within that child’s ability to handle and how close to the end of the child’s reserves he or she is. Is the child six? Unless the child is severely mentally disabled or very autistic, absolutely not. Being tired is no longer something that it’s the adult’s responsibility at that point to manage.

If your child is being rude and disrespectful, it’s because when the child was particularly stressed, he or she lashed out in that way and was not corrected then, so it became a habit. It doesn’t matter why a child is being nasty. If a child is mature enough to understand that this is inappropriate, he is mature enough not to do it. It is not the world’s responsibility to make sure a child or adult never experiences discomfort or tiredness. It IS a parent’s responsibility to teach your children to react appropriately to those stressors, within their current ability.

I get sick to my stomach when I see parents of children who escalate even to quite serious violence who still put the blame on the child’s disability and the circumstances when really it’s just that the parents are failing to teach their child correct behavior AND enforce it.

A disrespectful child will be likely to become a disrespectful and rebellious teen who is likely to become an unemployable, selfish, and mean adult who is unable to have healthy relationships. This board is full of people dealing with adults like this or who have suddenly realized that this is who they are and they are struggling to fix it. Now is the time to head that off at the pass. And approaching disrespect as a result of circumstances versus the result of a child making bad choices is precisely the way to prevent a child from taking responsibility that is necessary for healthy growth.