The Barrie Journal in Canada recently printed an interesting article about how to keep those rowdy kids in line. The tips actually come from Alan Kazdin who is the director of the Yale Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic, and he’s president of the American Psychological Association. Still I couldn't help but think his tips were pretty academic, as they sound good in theory.
Here is a condensed version of what I learned in that article. I actually tried a few of these tips to see if they work and unfortunately my conclusion is that they would work on a kid that was a good kid in the first place and not one that had ADD or a real resentment problem.
First of all, the doctor tells us we are supposed to think in terms of the 'positive opposite.' For instance the next time my teen daughter treats me like I am invisible and ignoring me I am not supposed to be negative. Instead of taking the approach that “It drives me crazy when she doesn’t listen,” I am supposed to take a more positive attitude as in “I want her to listen to me the first time I say something.'
I say wanting is one thing and having it happen on the other. It isn't much use practicing 'The Secret' on kids. They like to do the opposite all of the time. I don't think this particular tip is going to be very effective.
His second tip is to use lavish praise on your child. I have actually tried this one. Now I have a very conceited teen who thinks that she should be lavishly praised all of the time. She is still rowdy too. She thinks she is the Queen and flirts too much with men. I try not to criticize her but I think there is such a thing as raising a teen that is too cocky.
Another tip from this book which is called the Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child is to not punish the child. I think I do agree with this one if you have a defiant teen. The reason is that punishing them whips up their adrenalin and makes them even more rowdy. When it comes to these types of kids, what you resist seems to persist.
Furthermore punishment really does seem to affect these defiant kids because they are so sensitive in the first place.
So what do you do exactly if you do have a defiant kid? My police are mainly to try and praise a little more and punish a little less to see if I can achieve a little balance. The problem with this book by Alan Kazin is that it simply does not take into account that my daughter might not even want my approval. The assumption that children do want your approval all of the time is the great flaw that is in that work.