It is not uncommon at all for families to seek my advice regarding the management of their child’s behavioural difficulties.
That of course is the subject of writings from hundreds of experts over the years. The right advice can be life-saving. The wrong advice, which is not infrequent, can waste time, effort and money.
What I am seeing increasingly is the Tiresome Triad:
- Bad eating
- Bad sleep
- Bad behaviourIt is almost a fait accompli that if you present with one, the others naturally follow. Certain cultures predominate, but none are spared.
A typical story: “My son’s a terrible eater. I chase him around the house trying to get him to eat. If I can get him to sit in front of the TV it’s easier. But it has to be his food. Otherwise he won’t eat. And I don’t want him to go to bed hungry”.
What about his sleep? “Yeah, not good. He goes to bed between 10-11pm, and I have to lie with him to go to sleep. He often ends up in our bed each night. He’s so tired during the day”.
And general behaviour? “He’s fine if he gets what he wants. But he’s a nightmare if you say no”.
Three scenarios. All intertwined. Often completely behavioural.
The solution is the same. Regain hierarchical power. Parent at the top. Child at the bottom. Regain power in an unemotional, minimalistic, disengaged, non-confrontational way (as far as the child sees anyway). Address the issues. Don’t make excuses.
Children need their parents to be parents, not their best friend. Children need their parents to be adults, not peers. Children don’t need power. They can’t use misgiven power without abusing it.
The Tiresome Triad is just that. Tiresome for kids. Tiresome for parents. If this is your household, take back control and your life.
Dr Scott Dunlop