Negative Influences – Coping with Bad Behavior
Parenting means facing new challenges. Presenting new obstacles to parents means we have to become ready for them in advance. One of the most noticeable challenges any parent will face is negative influences other people have on their child’s behavior. No matter how much we protect our children, shelter our children or try to support a sense of balance in our personal home life other people will influence negative and positive behaviors in our children.
Over the last few weeks my son has developed some of the most obnoxious behaviors from negative influences in his life. I thought (I really need to give up thinking) we wouldn’t be faced with this type of attitude until he was at least a teenager. When I have asked my son to do something he will ignore me or I am getting the standard answer of, “What?” The word “What,” probably wouldn’t bother me if the reflection in his voice didn’t present the demeanor of, “You again? You really aren’t talking to me with your trivial requests are you?“
I wish I could stop there and say that, “what” is the worst of Xander’s new attitude. Xander has also picked up the phrase, “I hate…” I have never liked the word, “hate”. I believe there is enough hate in the world without bringing more into it. My wife and I have worked very hard to not use the word hate, instead of saying we hate something we will use the word “dislike.” My believe is that hate is forever and dislike is temporary. Once a person has made up their mind that they hate something there is very little room to change that person’s mind.
We also have dealt with one more new behavior. If my son is in trouble and he knows it, he automatically runs from us. All we have to do is say, “Xander, don’t you know better….” Xander won’t say a word to us but he will automatically run from the room or wherever we are at. In fact, the running has become so automatic for Xander that all I have to say is his name and he will disappear.
Negative influences can cause a child to run!
I know that the negative influences in a child’s life is where a child learns bad habits. I am also fully aware that negative behavior is not the only attitudes a child can pick up (it is possible they might pick up good behaviors…I just haven’t seen them yet). The question then remains how can a parent deal with the new negative conduct a child begins to show.
1. Lack of socialization - One possibility is taking away all outside influence. The less a child interacts with others the less likely they will “pick up” negative behaviors. The one downside in lack of socialization is that it becomes more likely a parent will start to show negative behaviors as your child works harder to drive you insane.
2. Holiday Negligence – Making sure your child knows you have a direct line to Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and all other magical creatures is important. When you see the first sign of another child influencing your child behavior you should tell your child that the behavior is not acceptable. You then tell your child that the child that is causing the negative influences has effectively cancelled all Holidays for everyone because no one likes a bad child (after all you do have a direct line to all the magical beings)!
3. Fear of Reform School - Make sure your child knows that reform schools, military academies and any other “hard-core” institutions are always looking for a few new candidates to try various behavioral modification techniques . You never actually have to define the techniques because the fear of the unknown is always a strong motivator to begin change.
Problem Solving Works
Being a former social worker I know that life is never as simple as some “wishful” humorous thoughts. Everything we do as parents have consequences and sometimes it’s better to begin with proper techniques in dealing with a child’s attitude.
1. Consistency – Being consistent with your child is the most important thing a parent can do. If we are consistent a child can’t question our motives. Make sure your child knows you don’t approve of their conduct and you won’t tolerate it. If you never let negative behaviors slide your child will begin to understand certain things are not okay.
2. Play dates – If other children are influencing you child it is far easier to deal with negative influences in your own home. When you are in your own home it is possible to politely tell your child and the other child that certain behaviors are not acceptable. Being able to tell both children helps to defuse situations without sounding accusatory. It is possible that the other child might not even show bad behaviors because they know you are present.
3. Talking to the other parent – No parent ever wants to tell another parent that their child is a bad influence. You can give helpful hints to other parents that help support the bonds that have formed between children. If your child and another is jumping on the furniture and the other parent is ignoring the situation you might try saying, “The couch doesn’t look very stable to jump on. I would so hate for someone to get hurt and possibly having to go to the doctor. I am going to tell them to stop.” Learning to communicate effectively begins in the way we phrase things to another parent. You have pointed out that the couch isn’t something to jump on, the dangers of jumping on a couch and have found a solution without ever accusing the other parent of ignoring a problem.
Negative influences are only a struggle for a parent if we choose to ignore the bad conduct. The quicker we find positive solutions the happier our children will become.
Other people will always influence our children to some degree. Did/does your child have any influences in their life that bring out the worst in your child? What have you done to try to stop the impact of the bad behaviors? Have you ever spoke to another parent about their child? If you have what was the outcome and how well did you do? Make sure to tell me in the comments!!
If you like this post be sure to share it to help out other parents! You can also follow me on twitter @dadblunders
Tags: bad behavior
, sense of balance