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Family Taekwondo CenterMembers, please check your email for October'snewsletter and monthly focus: RespectBLACK BELT TESTSaturday, Nov 7, 2015See Grandmaster Park for your eligibilityMonthly tip: Tips to help you deal with your defiant child. Typical School Day in the Life of a defiant Child’s Parent. As the mother of a defiant child, Kim remembers a “typical school day” in her family’s life: We’d start the day fighting to get our son up. Even when he was only seven, he’d make himself a dead weight in the bed. Once we got him up, the next challenge was getting him dressed. He literally struggled, argued and fought against every effort we made to get him ready. Long after the school bus passed, he was still in his pajamas, kicking and yelling. In the end, we had to pretty much drag him into the car and my husband would dress him as I drove. If there hadn’t been two of us, he never would have gotten into the car. We’d squeal into the parking lot as the warning bell was ringing and hand him off to the school staff, peeling out before he could scramble back into the car. Then my husband and I would try to pull ourselves together as we faced work and the calls we’d be getting later in the day about our son’s poor behavior. Mornings with our other child were completely different: there was breakfast, getting the backpack together, brushing teeth. There was a routine.
Was school particularly more traumatic for my defiant child than any other kid? No. He went to the same school as my other child – a school that was free from gangs or serious violence. He was a bright child — gifted in fact — so the work itself wasn’t a struggle. If anything, he was bored. So why did he refuse to go? He just didn’t want to. That’s it. There were other things he’d rather be doing than sitting in class and because he was defiant, he didn’t have the personality that cared about the expectations of his parents, the school or society. He didn’t care that the law said he must attend. He didn’t care about consequences for us — or himself.
Who Would Have Thought?! If you would have asked Kim when her son was born what she expected his school experience to be like, this was not the picture she would have described. Parents of defiant kids are usually in for a rude awakening when their child begins attending school or extra curricular activities. School transitions are typically difficult, especially between summer break and the new fall year. There’s usually conflict with peers, teachers, the principal and anyone who tries to enforce rules with a defiant child. Defiant children fight against rules and being controlled – it’s just their nature. The school setting is not a place where a child who fights authority will be welcomed. One parent we met remembers getting a phone call from cafeteria staff – her daughter had made a mess and was refusing to throw away her napkins. “What do you want me to do,” thought the mom. “Come up there and force her to throw the napkins away?!”
The adults in a defiant child’s life have expectations for that child’s behavior and performance. We expect our children to attend school, be on time, respect the rights of others, follow the rules, do their classwork and homework. The problem is, the expectations of society and parents aren’t usually a priority for defiant kids – their own wants and needs are. Adults continue to hold onto those expectations long after it’s evident a child is refusing to comply. The result for many parents of defiant kids? Daily power struggles.
Is that YOUR Kid?! The One Who’s Always In trouble? Many parents we’ve known have shared experiences working with their child’s school that have left them feeling ashamed, humiliated, frustrated and at times downright furious. It’s a powerful system to encounter and when your child is the one who insists on doing things his or her way, it can turn into an “us vs. them” situation. If your child’s school is open to working with you as a team, that’s wonderful. Many teachers and administrators understand that parenting a defiant child is extremely difficult and offer support when it comes to that child’s education. But often the stress parents and educators feel when dealing with a challenging child comes together in the perfect storm. Everyone starts looking to each other on how to control that child and whose fault his behavior is. Somehow – even though you’re miles away—your daughter’s refusal to participate in an activity or your son’s refusal to do his classwork becomes a reflection on you. The focus can get way, way off track and instead of holding the child accountable, it turns into a blame game.
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