Parenting is the most important job that you will have in your life, and it is one that will always keep you on your toes. As soon as you think you have it figured out, kids have a great way of entering a new phase and in some ways, becoming a different person. Although it may feel impossible to keep up with the ever changing moods and personalities of your child, the good news is that you do not necessarily have to. All you have to do is set limits and be consistent. If you try to change who you are each time your child enters a new phase of life, you are only making that transition harder for them. That is not to say that you should not empathize with your child, but it is possible to do this without compromising your rules and limits.
Although children and adolescents may fight the limits you set for them, deep down, they appreciate it. It gives them a sense of safety to know what the consequences to their actions will be. Also, when you are consistent, it conveys the message to your child that you are the one in charge. Although this may sound cruel, it is actually helpful because it gives kids /adolescents room to be a child or adolescent without carrying the responsibility of creating their own rules or limits.
As a psychologist, I help parents identify and prioritize the rules that they would like their children to follow. Next, I work with them to create appropriate consequences if these rules are or are not followed. I also help parents identify the feelings that arise in them when their kids push the right buttons and what they can do to control these feelings. It is important not to overwhelm kids with too much too fast, so I like to work on one or two areas at a time. It is also very important to introduce these rules to kids /adolescents in an age appropriate manner. Although reward charts may work great for some kids, most adolescents will resist you more if you try to use this tool as a way to control their behavior. Finally, since my approach is mostly strength based, I encourage parents to point out the behaviors that they appreciate their kids /adolescents engaging in as it is happening.
If you have any further questions about my approach or would like to schedule a consultation, please click on the contact link and follow the prompts which are provided.