Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ways for Parents to Handle Child Refusals

Dr. Beth Grosshans is a retired clinical child psychologist and author of Beyond Time Out: From Chaos to Calm. Her book provides parents with practical strategies for reigning in out-of-control behavior and creating harmonious family dynamics. One topic Dr. Beth Grosshans explores in her book is the occurrence of child refusals, which typically involve phrases such as, "You can’t make me!” and "You’re not the boss of me!”

This type of language means that the child has decided that the parent does not have authority and he or she will be the one calling the shots. In situations like these, where the child has crossed the line into rudeness and disrespect, it is important that the parent reassert control in a firm, calm, and non-angry way. The message should be short and direct and establish that it is not acceptable to speak to one’s parent in a disrespectful manner. For example, parents can respond to a child’s refusals simply by asserting, “You cannot refuse to cooperate.”

After setting parameters, the parent should escort the child to his or her room, with no further commentary, whatever protests emerge. This “tough love” approach teaches the child that there is no debate when it comes to basic matters of respect.