Fact: Kids love to push the limits.
Fact: Rebellion is a human condition.
Yet there are things we do as parents that encourage the growth and intensity of a rebellious heart.
Here are 9 ways you’re accidentally raising a rebellious child:
1. Expect perfection
Performance-based parenting focuses on the outside observables rather than internal notables. Notice outcomes but focus on developing your child’s character. Rather than only commentating on appearance or performance, “You look so beautiful” say, “Thanks for helping your sister today. You have such a kind heart.”
2. Punish for every infraction
Instead, start saying what you want. When the child messes up, retrain. Next move to a natural consequence, let the punishment fit the crime. Then… if things continue down the wrong path and become habitual, move to punishment. Start small, you can always go bigger. Don’t forget to include grace and forgiveness when correcting.
3. Unreasonable exceptions
You know your child. Parent to your child’s unique personality. Take your child’s weaknesses, strengths, age, and stage into consideration.
4. Conditional love
Love no matter the behavior. Don’t withhold love and affection. Avoid saying things like, “You don’t deserve….”
Back off. Avoid hovering and giving all kinds of “helpful” advice. We want our kids to learn not just follow instructions.
Don’t redo what your child did. Feel free to retrain but avoid redoing. He will think, “What’s the point loading the dishwasher she will only redo it.”
Unless you mean it, don’t say it.
The lecture approach creates a brain freeze in the child. He will learn to tune you out. Short and sweet sound-bytes are much more effective.
Say what you mean. Avoid the statements dripping with guilt induced language. “Oh I work so hard and now the sink is full of dishes…” rather say, “Okay gang, time to clean up the kitchen. Garrett, put the dishes in the dishwasher. Charlotte, pick up the toys and put them in the box.”
Truth… we all fall into the category of being an over-the-top controller at times, especially when we are busy. But… if we are typically overbearing and demanding and if we focus solely on rules while neglecting to build relationship, BIG time rebellion is right around the corner.
Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good. (Psalm 25:7)
This article originally appeared at The Mom Initiative, published with permission.