What happens to you when your child, teen, or young adult has said and/or done something that is completely against how you raised them to be?  For most parents, this triggers a strong stress response in their body. You know the feeling when your heart races, your blood pressure spikes and the lining of your stomach churns up those gastric juices. Sound familiar?

Then, what usually follows is a confrontation, which is then followed by things being taken away. For some parents/guardians, there is just one big explosion with threats of punishment (consequences) and then no follow- through.

For some, their kids seem to be literally wired to challenge at every turn. For these parents, their lives seem to take on a cyclical process of their child’s infraction, consequence, and subsequent make-up. For many of these kids, this process also becomes integrated into how they experience the world and how the world experiences them. Some, not all, of these kids and young adults have issues such as ADHD, learning disabilities and/or they have experienced trauma, which has really affected their development of coping skills. In cases where the child, teen, or young adult is being frequently non-compliant, it can lead them to be often told by authority figures that they are in trouble, this can set the stage for an overall distaste for authority figures.

When I have spoken to the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Western Connecticut State University, I worked with teachers to help further their understanding that most kids really want to do well, and that it’s generally not a conscious choice to be non-compliant, it’s very complicated and it’s best to be open to how you can be a positive role model in every youth’s life, despite their behavior. This can mean to still be kind to a youth even though they are receiving a consequence, which I call a “life lesson” vs. not speaking to them, shaming them, or giving them the cold shoulder.

Check out Ross Greene’s video here to examine your philosophy on kids who can’t comply:

Dr. Greene’s book, Lost at School, is an amazing read about looking at all kids with kindness, irrespective if they are passing, failing and/or being compliant. He has developed a model called Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS), here is a list of therapists that have been trained in this important model: http://cpsconnection.com/providers.

Here is a video, using the CPS model, in how to handle conflict with your child:

If you are reading this, you may be looking for answers as to how to stop the negative cycle you find yourself in when your child is non-compliant. When your child does or says something that is offensive, it sends our parental systems into overdrive. What if the opposite occurred? What if it sent you into empathy, concern, a kind of data gathering, etc.? I know that my writing this seems like heresy to some, totally against what we may have been shown by our parents to instill respect and provide discipline but this really WORKS!

If you are curious, contact me to discuss this further.

I work with couples and individual adults in my psychotherapy and coaching practice. My clients make progress! I offer email support in-between sessions to my clients as part of our work together. Find Your Strengths at http://www.kelleyhopkinsalvarez.com.

Let’s continue the “conversation”, text 203-948-0938 or email me @ kelleytherapy@icloud.com.

Thank you so much for reading my blog!

Kelley Hopkins-Alvarez, Licensed Professional Counselor, MS, MSEd, NCC, BCC
Address: 100B Danbury Road, Suite 201D, Ridgefield, CT 06877 (behind Union Savings Bank)