DEAR COACH RICHIE: I need some help. my children are completely disconnected I mean they wont help at all they have the same chores they wont due till I lose my shit they refuse to clean their room but they stayed glued to the phones 24/7 I mean my 11 year old child is cutting herself If I threaten the phones they say they will die or they will go sit on the highway we have a lot of land, ATV’s, ETC.
I’d buy them horses but I don’t want to take care of them to and I know they wont so how many have taken all electronics away from there kids and for how long I was thinking I’d keep the phones at the end of the day after chores homework and baths they could have 1hr of phone time if all was done correctly.. but I’m also nervous this will make them even more lazy just to drive me nuts
COACH RICHIE: So sorry to hear about the challenges you are having with your children. Parenting is the toughest job on the planet. Aside from the chores it sounds like your 11 year old is having some major troubles. When you say the my child is cutting herself. Cutting is a sign of suppressing ones emotions. Punishment typically does not work. It only pushes them further away from us. Couple of questions to ask yourself. Why is getting them to clean their room so important to you?
My wife would go ape shit and I would just close the door. it is there room and as long as I don’t see rats walking around in the house it really wasn’t enough to stress me out and make me lose my shit. When you were a child did you have to clean your room? . When you were young did you have a lot of rules and chores in the house? If so, how did it make you feel having to do those things, when sometimes kids just want to be kids. When we take things away from children it makes them even angrier because those little devices are what is connecting them to the outside world (especially their friends, Teen Tribe).
We need to understand as parents that although we created these little creatures we certainly don’t own them. That also means when we think we own them and we shout orders at them how do we think they feel about that? Like we are trying to control them. Especially children approaching their teenage years. So that aside the pressing things is your comment about my daughter is cutting herself. She is cutting to release painful emotions. Some trauma in her life that she is holding onto and when they cut it is a release because they can feel the pain. So for a moment how can you understand your 11 year old’s world? What do you think is the reason she is cutting?
What is going on in her life and why don’t you think she is talking to you about it? When we use language like losing our shit our children sometimes don’t want to see us in that state so they will shut down and hold it all in. Is she having challenges in school, troubles in the home, if you are married troubles in your relationship, troubles with siblings, troubles with their friends (boy or girl challenges). What about if you started doing something different with them.
What is the worst thing that could happen if you let them live in their pig sty room for a month or so? Without you saying a word to them? Without it making you crazy? Just popping into the room when they are in there and saying. Hi, just want to tell you how much I love that you are my child? Would that freak them out or what? If we want them to help around the house we need to be connected with them. Would you want to help someone out that you really didn’t like. Our kids feel this way when we punish them, take things away, order them around and lose our shit on them.
Your child that is cutting. Have you spoken to her one on one and asked her about what she is feeling? She may be depressed and not feel like cleaning her room or doing anything else. Depression doesn’t give us energy. It drains us of everything we have. So how do you get through to her. Share with her a story of a time when you had a challenge in life past or present that made you sad, depressed, angry, etc. Come from your heart when speaking with her and don’t need anything in return at the moment. if she speaks just listed to her and if she shares a feeling don’t deny or ignore it. acknowledge how she feels about what is going on. The next conversation you could open up with something like. I am trying to understand how you feel.
Then throw yourself under the bus. It works almost every time. Tell her you know that you are not listening to her or understanding her and say. I believe this is possibly why you are feeling angry with me. I usually try to think of 3 things my kids think of me that they are thinking and tell it to them. Then ask her is this true? She will either say yes or correct you and tell you what you are doing wrong. in their minds we are always doing something wrong.
But the way to have loving connections with our children is to listen when they speak and not be quick to judge, lecture, rescue or advise. Just listen to them because now is the time when they need us them most. When they are in crisis and when you say that my daughter is cutting herself it may be time to get some professional help involved.When we accept our children’s behavior in the moment we can accept the person they are and start learning how to become the parent they need us to be instead of the parent we had dreams of being. You got this. all day mom. We can love them or control them but we can’t do both.
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