In my expert court and family work, I don’t see difficult young ones: I see difficult situations. Often times the battle of control that we experience as parents has less to do with our young ones: it has more to do with our own expectations and insecurities. We are confused on what needs to be done, and we’re afraid to face certain reality about ourselves as parents.
Lest we forget, we were all kids once and must remember important lessons learned in childhood. We didn’t like how they felt; the experience of someone discovering what we had done (or not done) and telling someone about it. But in the end, we profited from the limits set and the lessons learned.
What we fear most in setting limits for our kids is their loss of love and affection. Kids realize this about us, and in fact can use that insecurity to their advantage in getting what they want — whether it be a new iPhone, more time with their friends, illicit substances, sex, less homework — it doesn’t really matter. They see your vulnerability and they take an opportunity. They are human.
Sometimes it’s easier to let someone else set those limits, such as a spouse, partner, uncle or aunt, grand parent, older sibling. And that strategy works for limited amounts of time until the child figures out what’s up and blames you for your parental ineffectiveness, indecisiveness. “Really mom? You had to get Dad involved? Why, can’t you just agree like other moms and make it easy? Now, it’s impossible!”
If you’re a parent, you want to hire to a coach, an educational psychologist, a therapist, an attorney or other informed, trained professional to provide support on how to make those matter-of-fact decisions and stick to them. Alternatively, you may look to a program such as an outdoor behavioral health (i.e., wilderness) experience or a residential school to break the cycle and provide both the parent and child with the necessary tools to get past their growth-stopping and narcissistic, destructive behaviors. Where to start? Right here.
If you’re a parent, mental health professional or education expert, you will need the support of seasoned placement specialist. Count on BPPS (Burdick Psychological & Placement Services) to give you an accurate assessment of your situation and the options (home and out of home) that make sense for you and your family. An email leads to a phone or Zoom call that leads to options of healing the family. Sound encouraging? Then, do this before it gets worse and there’s no escaping the consequences which in some cases can be serious.
I have represented families for years as an expert psychologist in many cases before courts in the US and abroad. I can tell you that an ounce of prevention is most definitely worth a pound of cure; the longer you wait, the more expensive are the resulting scenarios. Court matters, for example get real expensive — real quick with attorneys who need to be paid. Avoid crisis situations.
We both know you love your kids no matter their age— but we’re beyond love: It’s about setting serious limits and if those limits can’t or won’t be respected, then you take planned, decisive action for the sake of your family. These are strange days that are trying our patience and compassion, and recent politics don’t help!
I look forward to meeting you ‘virtually’ and figuring out a solution together. It’s time.