It is so easy to blame our children when we don’t like their actions. The “problem behavior” can develop into the “problem child.” As soon as you label your child as a problem, you have hit a deadlock. With this perspective, your thinking becomes inflexible and chances of finding solutions are slim. The focus becomes, “How to I change this problem child?” At this point, you no longer take responsibility for your part of the problem. You have placed control outside of yourself and therefore change is very difficult.
In a recent In-Home Coaching session, I observed this labeling. I realized that the child with the challenging behavior was the “canary in the mine.” Looking at the child as an indicator of family problems to be solved, returns the power and possibility for change back to the parents. The parents now no longer have to feel stuck and powerless because they will focus on changing themselves rather than the child. How wonderful.
The mother is first changing her own behavior and already seeing positive changes in her daughter’s behavior. By shifting from an inflexible to flexible perspective, the parents’ minds are open to creatively solving the problem. Because of their “difficult” daughter, the entire family has the opportunity to grow and become happier. Let’s appreciate our challenging children.