When your kid starts talking back or mouthing off, it pushes your buttons! Staying calm feels incredibly hard, even though you know — in theory — that a calm response is best for everyone involved (as well as your blood pressure).
But what if — (and just go with me here for a moment) — when your kids push back, it is actually great for their development?
The experts agree, this behavior is actually developmentally healthy for kids. Clinical psychologist Kelly M. Flanagan explains that "the inability to say "No" — the inability to set personal boundaries — is one of the most common, insidious causes of human suffering."
At its core, when kids push back at your authority, they're trying to exert some sense of control over their own lives. They're practicing that skill — flexing that muscle, if you will — with you.
Wouldn't you rather your child learn to negotiate with you, first, than feel obliged to follow some other kid's directions the first time a pushy peer says, "Come on, everyone's doing it?" Or blindly follow the directions of an adult acting inappropriately toward your child?
Focus on HOW They Push Back
We're ALL desperate for our kids to master the skills they need to stand up to peer pressure or danger when faced with difficult life decisions.
What if your ability to embrace (coach and help manage) your child's burgeoning independence is the key to teaching those critical negotiation skills? Skills that enable your kids to say "No" to drugs and delay sexual experimentation until an appropriate age?
Andrea L Gooldy