For many parents, every conversation with their kids seems to turn into an argument. The parents I have worked with get completely frustrated and then don’t know how to make it stop. Whether it’s during a difficult time (like adolescence) or over several years, arguing can seem like the only form of communication that parents and kids have.

As parents, we are often so busy just trying to keep our families going. We’re working, worrying, and generally living stressful lives. And when we’re stressed, we typically rely on patterns of behavior: doing the same thing over and over, even when we know it’s not working. And no surprise, nothing changes.

If you argue frequently or constantly with your child, here are five things NOT to do.

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1. Don’t ignore the pattern in your relationship with your child.

We can’t stop doing something until we understand it and are able to observe it. Sometimes it’s easiest to see the pattern in others, like the mother and daughter at the mall arguing over which jeans to buy, getting angry at each other and leaving the store barely speaking for the rest of the day. Or your friend and their child who seem to argue over each and every chore, no matter how big or how small.

Have you seen this pattern in your own relationship with your child? You ask her to do the dishes and she refuses, arguing that it’s not her job. You insist it is. By then, you’ve had it and scream at her. She screams back, swearing. You send her to her room after yelling about everything else she’s done wrong that week.

The key is to recognize the patterns. Pay attention to when it happens, how it happens, what started it, and how it escalates. All of this information will be helpful when you begin to change the behavior and make it stop.

2. Don’t assume that your child will just stop arguing—or that you won’t have to change your own behavior.

Kids are always learning how to get by in the world—and finding out how to get what they want. From the baby who cries when he’s hungry, to the three-year-old who keeps tugging on your leg to get your attention, to the adolescent who argues over everything. These are all behaviors that meet needs.

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But, your baby eventually learns to talk to let you know he’s hungry. Your three-year-old learns to get your attention without tugging on you. And your teen can learn better ways to communicate without arguing. It just takes work and learning new ways to relate.

Because parent-child arguments can’t happen without the parents, you need to want to change in order to help your kids change. You have to be open to changing your side of the argument and finding a better way to communicate. Nothing happens miraculously or without work on your part, but you can take steps to make change happen.

You may need some help: from your partner, your child’s teacher, a guidance counselor, a trusted friend or another parenting support. It’s not easy to figure out a new way of relating to your child. Seeking help is often the first step to making this important change.

Related content: 5 Secrets for Communicating with Teenagers

3. Don’t forget your priority: the kind of relationship you want with your child.

We all want to be good parents. When we’re pregnant, we dream about how we’d like to relate to our children. With the reality of everyday life, that dream can get lost. All of us can lose sight of our priorities, but we can also regain our perspective and get back on track.

As with all relationships, it takes some work. We need to get past some of our small difficulties and keep our goals and priorities in mind.

For example, doing the dishes isn’t the priority, but being able to set limits and hold kids accountable is. Remembering the priority will help us remember the role we want to play with our kids. It’s important to establish the kind of relationship you want with your child. There are different, more effective parenting roles that can help you get there.

Related content: 5 Ways to Stop a Screaming Match with Your Child or Teen

4. Don’t let disagreements flare.

As parents, we often fail to set limits before things get out of hand. We don’t plan ahead and don’t have a strategy to deal with misbehavior. As a result, before we know it, we’re back in that arguing pattern.

It doesn’t matter who we are, how smart we are, or how well we do in other parts of our lives—we can all be pulled into arguments. For this reason, it’s crucial that we stop arguments before they flare up. We need to plan our strategy to not be pulled in. It could be that we think through what we’ll say and how we’ll say it before we speak. Or, we plan not to say anything at all rather than becoming the other half of the argument.

Once you begin to change your way of relating to your child by reinforcing your limits without screaming and arguing, your child won’t automatically respond. In fact, they may try to escalate the situation and pull you back into the screaming and arguing behavior in order to get their way and avoid consequences.

If your arguing pattern has gone on for a long time, your child may be very sophisticated in his ability to pull you into an argument. This is what he knows and how he’s gotten his way in the past. Don’t be surprised by this. But do plan ahead to hold firm with your non-arguing response.

5. Don’t give up on change.

When we get into these struggles, it’s so hard to stop. We feel helpless and hopeless about arguing all the time. Even when arguing has become so ingrained in your relationship with your child, there is hope.

When I worked in residential treatment programs, I worked with some of the most difficult kids and family situations. Some situations were so bad that these kids could no longer live at home. With time, help from trained staff, and willingness and motivation to change, these kids and families learned to have better lives together. It’s a miraculous thing when this happens, when even the most alienated parents and kids work together to create a loving, caring, respectful relationship.

It’s important not to get discouraged. You are not alone. There are many parents working on this same thing, and their lives are changing for the better. Yours can, too. There are steps you can take to have a healthier relationship with your child, and you’re starting to take those steps just by looking for information. With time, some effort, and faith in yourself and your ability to become a more empowered parent, you will be able to change and develop a more effective way to communicate with your child.

Related Content: How to Walk Away From a Fight With Your Child
How to Stop Arguing With Your Child: 9 Steps to Take Today


James Lehman, who dedicated his life to behaviorally troubled youth, created The Total Transformation®, The Complete Guide to Consequences™, Getting Through To Your Child™, and Two Parents One Plan™, from a place of professional and personal experience. Having had severe behavioral problems himself as a child, he was inspired to focus on behavioral management professionally. Together with his wife, Janet Lehman, he developed an approach to managing children and teens that challenges them to solve their own problems without hiding behind disrespectful, obnoxious or abusive behavior. Empowering Parents now brings this insightful and impactful program directly to homes around the globe.

Comments (36)
  • Brenda
    I'm having trouble with my pre-teen and I know this is not just a phase. She flat out refuses to listen to us about anything. Taking things away, yelling at her, giving rewards, fighting with her. Nothing works. It's like she doesn't care what the consequence is and she hasMore absolutely no respect for anyone. Her dad and I fight constantly about it and are at a loss on what to do.
  • Jolene

    I have read your article and have found some of it helpful.

    Right now I am just so frustrated nothing seems to be penetrating.

    I have a step son that gas just can to live with me and my husband he is 17 and a huge undertaking. I am honestly about to just give up. I have only a year to try to teach him respect and taking responsibly for his actions. I hope someone can give me some help unfortunately his father overlooks many of the things he does and says trying to fix things by covering them up with humor.

    I am praying for some help.

  • Julia C
    My name is Julia am a single parent with 2 children my son is 20 years Olle I do a lot for him and he just takes things out on me a lot of the time and it hurts so bad , now he wants to leave home because heMore saids we just clash to much , but I feel his using that as an excuse to move , not knowing I would be fine for him to move as he has a good friend he works with and they could share the rent and also make him more independent , but hate the fact his using me as a scapegoat and just don't know why
  • Lori
    I have an 13 year old boy in which his behavior is totally out of control he talks back, being a bully to his siblings, wants to fight his grandparents, cursing at adults, and Always want things his way and when he does not get things his way he willMore destroy whatever in his path even if it's an adult. My parents and I all tried to talk to him and to make him understand that this type of behavior is not acceptable but he continues I need your help in managing his behavior before a tragedy happens.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing with your 13 year old, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support. When you are faced with numerous inappropriate behaviors, it can feel very overwhelming, and like you are addressing one issue after another withoutMore making much progress. Although it can be tempting to try to fix everything, it tends to be more effective to pick one or two behaviors to focus on to start. This way, you can be more consistent in your responses, and less likely to be overwhelmed. You might find some additional information on next steps to take in In Over Your Head? How to Improve Your Child’s Behavior and Regain Control as a Parent. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Annette H
    I need help with my 14 year old teen who argues at home and at scool. He is very disrespectful to my friends and family. I'm at my wits end. I need help, advice, counseling or something before I put him out of my house.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      It can be so challenging when you are constantly experiencing conflict with your teen; you are not alone in experiencing this. Something that can be useful is to make a plan for how you can respond in way that communicates calm control. As Debbie Pincus points out inMore Expecting a Fight with Your Child? (You’ll Get One.), you are in control of your own actions regardless of how your child behaves. For example, if a common trigger for your son is homework, you might plan for how you can avoid that argument and put the responsibility on your son to complete it. I recognize what a tough situation this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • Crazymama17
    I have 2 young sons. Ages 7&9. They are both ADHD and my youngest has impulse control disorder. My nine year old is mean all the time has a bad attitude and wants to fight and argue about everything. I'm just about at the end of my rope with him.More It's so bad with him that he even argues with his grandmother and is very disrespectful to just about everybody. I don't know what else to do. I've tried grounding him and even taking things from him but he just won't change his attitude. Can someone please help me before I have to put myself in the hospital for a break.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Crazymama17 I hear you.  It can be so frustrating when you have a child with a bad attitude and is constantly disrespectful.  Something that can be useful is to focus on yourself, and how you are responding to your son, because you are going to have a lot more controlMore over your own actions, as outlined in the article above.  The truth is, it’s ultimately going to be up to your son to change his attitude; that’s not something you are going to be able to control.  It’s going to be more effective to focus on holding him accountable for his behavior, rather than his feelings.  You can read more about this in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/angry-child-fix-the-behavior-not-the-feelings/.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • SwapnaJadhav
    Good information,
  • Triciat
    I find myself screaming and getting mad ask the time yelling telling them to do the dishes the bad things we do for over and over again and no one listens or anything I say it's always an argument always competitive always have somethingMore to say after I say it it's annoying frustrated to the point where in from work and I just sit in my room and sometimes I don't even want to be around I love kids mincer taking my love away from me
  • Triciat
    My kids just don't listen
  • Worried mum
    Hi, like another poster I have a 16 year old son. Life's a constant battle! All I hear is - I'm going here or I'm going there. Just yesterday evening he TOLD me that he was going to an over 18 disco at Christmas. I knew as soon as IMore spoke that an argument was going to ensue. I told him it was to far away to be thinking about what he would be doing at Christmas and low and behold - argument started! I will be going you know he said! Really I said back! And who's going to pay for it? You only want to go so that you can drink.....all my friends are going (always the response I hear). All my friends are allowed to drink why can't I?? This is just one example of the power struggles we are experiencing at the moment. Another example is that he is smart.vbut he won't put the effort in at school...he has just sat an exam and he only studied for approx 30 mins to an hour at the most for a week before the exam. I'm slowly but surely loosing all my patience with him and don't know what to do next....please help. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.....
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Worried mum 

      It can be so frustrating when life feels like one big

      argument with your teen.  It sounds like you are able to recognize some of

      the common patterns in your power struggles with your son, and know when an

      argument is about to erupt.  As Janet notes in the article above, being

      aware of your interactions is the first step toward changing them.  In

      addition, you are going to have the most control over your own actions and

      responses, so that might be a helpful area to target for change.  If you

      know that responding to your son is going to start a fight between you, you can

      plan to act differently.  For example, you could give a noncommittal

      response, schedule a later time to talk about it, or choose not to respond at

      all in that moment.  Ultimately, if you choose not to engage in a power

      struggle, the argument cannot exist.  Debbie Pincus offers more advice in

      her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/how-to-stop-fighting-with-your-child-do-you-feel-like-the-enemy.php  Please

      let us know if you have any additional questions; take care.

  • frustratedmom29
    Hi, I have a 16 year old son who is for the most part, a great kid.  Lately he's been really argumentative and wanting to try to get his point across, but he does it disrespectfully.  I have always hung out with him playing video games, going to movies, orMore just spending large quantities of time with him.  It seems like the last few months when we are spending time together he uses that time to start some sort of confrontational argument.  He'll say things like,  why do you have to do things this way instead of another way? It's your fault that things are another way, etc.etc. Usually, I try and respond in a monotone voice and if he doesn't like what i say, he starts being disrespectful and his voice will get louder.  He then starts switching things around and when I tell him that he's being disrespectful he'll say that I don't listen to what he says and he manipulates the conversation.  Any advice in how to talk to him without things escalating? It is very frustrating.  He's very sarcastic with me at times.
    • Darlene EP


      I am sorry you are struggling

      with this. Challenging or questioning what you are doing or saying is actually

      pretty common behavior at your son’s age. It is a normal part of development to

      resist you and test limits, especially as kids get into their teenage years.

      While you have no control over your son’s response, you do have control over

      yours. The best way to avoid escalating a situation is to set a limit with your

      son like, “don’t talk to me like that, I don’t like it” or “how you are talking

      to me is disrespectful. If you don’t stop, I am going to walk away.” At that

      point you would want to stop the conversation and walk away if your son

      continues. By doing this consistently, over time your son will learn that

      treating you that way is not going to work for him. It will not solve his

      problem to blame you or treat you disrespectfully. Thank you for writing in and

      good luck as you continue to work through this.

  • stepdad ben

    I'm recently married, only one year in. My wife has 2 kids, the oldest is 15,and the youngest is 13,and special needs. Admittedly the transition has not been easy on them, they moved from their home in England into my home in the united states, and left allot of family and friends behind.

    I'm still learning how to be a father, and a husband, while trying to best serve teach and protect my new family. Even with all of these chalenges,the boys are well adjusted, with good healthy relationships at school,and a healthy home life.

    The main issue that I've been running into is the escalation of fights. My eldest and youngest will start to argue, mostly about sibling stufstuff,but it escalates quickly into a violent place. Worse yet, my wife will get involved, and the argument turns more dangerous. Things get thrown and broken, my eldest and his mom do not fight fair to each other. When I'm home, everything is good,the arguments only happen when I'm at work. Unfortunately,I'm expected to pick up the peices.i need to repair my wife's relationship with her son, and then manage the 2 boys with eachother,before fixing my wife and my owns relationship. Her solution is to send the eldest back to england with family, which I am staunchly against, as it seems tome that would have lasting consequences. What can I do?

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      stepdad ben

      What a tough situation. I’m glad you are reaching out for

      help. It sounds like the biggest concerns are the relationship your wife has

      with her children and how that affects their interactions. I can hear how much

      you want to help them through this. They are very lucky to have you in their

      lives. Truth be told, only your wife and her sons can determine what type of

      relationship they have. It would be best to talk with a family counselor about

      this issue. A counselor would be able to work directly with your wife and stepchildren on improving their interactions. The 211

      Helpline would be able to give you information on resources in your community,

      such as family counselors. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling

      1-800-273-6222. You can also find them online at http://www.211.org/.

      The best of luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


    What a tough situation to be in as a mom and an aunt. I can

    hear how much you want to help your sister deal with the behaviors she is

    seeing from her son. It’s also understandable you would be concerned about any

    negative influence your nephew’s behavior may have on your young son. It can be

    helpful to recognize that much of the behavior you are seeing from your nephew

    is normal for kids his age. Kids want what everyone else has and will badger

    their parents in an attempt to get what they want. It’s up to the parent to set

    firm limits and boundaries and to stick to them, even in the face of extreme

    pushback. Of course, that can be a lot easier said than done, especially when a

    child’s friends have so many privileges. Every parent wants their child to fit

    in and may feel a lot of guilt around making choices that might impact their

    child’s ability to be part of a group. Debbie Pincus offers some suggestions you could share with your sister in the article Anger, Guilt and Spending on Kids: 8 Questions to Ask Before Buying Anything. It’s

    going to be important to continue taking any threats of self harm seriously by

    contacting your local crisis response whenever your nephew makes those

    statements. As far as the influence your nephew may have on your son, it can be

    helpful to know that we are all influenced everyday by forces outside of

    ourselves. By focusing on helping your young son develop the skills to deal

    with frustration effectively while also holding him accountable for his own

    behaviors, you will be doing what you can do to combat any undue influence his

    cousin may have on him. You may find our articles on parenting young children helpful in that

    regard. You can find a list of those articles here: Younger Children. Best of luck to you and your family. Take care.

  • distraught1017
    My almost 9 year old is a wonderful, respectful, disciplined child everywhere but home.  I get rave reviews about her behavior at school, church, from friends, etc.  At home, it is often unbearable.  She turns into a different child - becomes defiant, rude, extremely disrespectful, has screaming meltdowns, slams doors,More threatens to leave the house and more.  I feel like we have tried all the right things but nothing seems to work.  I am truly at my wits end.
    • Happydadmadness

      Ask her personally to tell you her mainly cares

      She must becupset with her life if she is slamming ng doors at home by an Angel at church or school.

    • Pam
      @distraught1017 My 10 year old son can be the same. It can sometimes start in the car after school pickup from a simple question and end up in full argument by the time we get home (5 minute drive). It really gets me down as I don't want to haveMore a combative relationship with him and genuinely like him as a person when he is not arguing with me. So I have recently tried to change how I respond to these situations and will not engage in combat. He is still trying to bait me into an argument but I just tell him I am not going there and move away. I am also making him more responsible for decisions and the things he needs to do. It is slow progress but seems to be helping. Good luck, don't be too down on yourself! xx
    • wits end
      @distraught1017 We have the same exact situation here at our house.    Trying to figure out what to do next.
  • confused1218
    Wow! What do you do when you have a 15yr old step daughter and she insists on having a boyfriend against mom, dad and stepfather wishes. She has run away from home a few times, up to a week each time. She has been found having intimacy with him inMore our home at different times of the day. We have tried to set boundaries and attempted to develop a means of encouraging a right way and healthy adult supervision approach to the situation, nothing is working. We can't stop the running away to be with this boy who also is 15, who has no respect for any rules or adult guidance.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be very worrisome when a child uses running a way to

      solve problems she is facing at home. It’s going to be helpful to come up with

      a plan that can be implemented when your stepdaughter leaves home without

      permission. This could include calling the police or taking other steps to keep

      her safe. You may find it helpful to speak with someone at the http://www.1800runaway.org/ at

      1-800-786-2929 about what options may be workable for your situation. It’s also

      going to be a good idea to continue focusing on the expectations within the

      household and your family values. Granted, this may not deter your stepdaughter

      from making the choices she is making. It will at least let her know what the

      standards and expectations are to begin with and also let her know she will

      have to face consequences and be held accountable for her actions. For more

      information on steps you can take to help your stepdaughter and family through

      this tough situation, you may want to check out James Lehman’s article Does Your Child Have Toxic Friends? How to Deal with the Wrong Crowd.

      I know this is a distressing time. Good luck to you and your family moving

      forward. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • mobopolo
    What do you do with a teen who keeps getting lunch detention in school, for bad language/behavior in class.  We have laid down the rule, that if the school calls us for bad behavior, no friends are allowed over, nor can he go anywhere until the following Monday.   WeMore follow through with it. He tries to argue, place blame on the school, teacher, system, etc.  He argues since the school is already punishing him with lunch detention, he shouldn't be punished again at home. I remain calm and assertive and not get sucked in.   I just want the bad behavior to stop.  He has also stated that he won't change, because he feels certain teachers don't respect him.  He has also threatened to run-away when we give a consequence. Once he did leave in his socks and walked around the neighborhood, and came back.  I didn't confront him when he came home, but talked later, calmly about family/school rules and what is expected of him. The punishment stayed in place.  He's 15. Please help.
    • Darlene EP


      The behaviors you describe are ones we hear about often, so you

      are not alone. It is frustrating when you feel like you are doing everything

      you can to change your child’s behavior but nothing seems to be working.

       A couple of suggestions that you may want to try is, first, allowing the

      school to handle the discipline piece of your son’s behavior and then, focusing

      on setting limits, coaching and problem solving with your son at home. As James

      Lehman said, “You can’t punish kids into better behavior.” Doubling up on

      consequences at home for behavior the school has already implemented

      consequences for can actually lead to more resistance and acting out behavior,

      which it sounds like is happening in your situation. As Sara Bean describes in

      her article How to Give Kids Consequences That Work,

      it is best to concentrate on helping your son to develop replacement behaviors

      at school when he feels like his teachers are not respecting him or he thinks

      something is unfair. Doing this will help your son to develop the skills to

      cope with challenging situations and keep him out of trouble. Thank you for

      writing in. Please check back in with us if you have any other questions. Take


  • J
    I have a 9 year old daughter. I was young when I had her and wasn't big on discipline. That was the fathers job. If she was naughty, I'd just threaten to tell her dad. However, I have grown up a lot and now I'm sitting with this problem whereMore I'm the friend figure and not the mother. Her father and I after many years of fighting have decided to make peace and we're on the same track where parenting is concerned. But it seems my daughter sees us together now and decides to act out. She tells me she hates him because he is so strict and mean and I am taking his part. How do I adjust my parenting and still have a good relationship with my daughter.
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    run aways

    You bring up a challenging situation. It’s not uncommon for a

    child who lacks appropriate problem solving skills to use running away or

    avoidance as a way to cope with the fallout from an argument. It can be tough

    to know exactly how to respond when a child leaves the home during an argument.

    There are many different factors to consider when deciding how best to respond,

    such as the age of the child, the time of day it happens, specific laws that

    may be in place in your jurisdiction, among other considerations. It can be

    helpful to contact your local police and talk with someone there about possible

    things you can do when your child responds this way. You might also consider

    contacting the http://www.1800runaway.org/ at 1-800-786-2929 for recommendations. Having a plan of

    action will be helpful when you sit down with your son to talk about the choice

    he made. After you problem solve with him what he could do differently the next

    time he’s tempted to take off during an argument, you can then let him know

    what the consequence will be if he makes the choice again. For example, you

    might let him know that if he leaves the house without permission again during

    an argument, you will call the police and report him as a runaway. Truthfully,

    the consequence isn’t as important in this situation as taking steps to help

    your son develop more effective ways of coping with anger and frustration. You

    might want to check out this article by Sara Bean for more information on ways

    you can help your son learn how to solve problems more effectively: http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php. We hope this information is useful. Be sure to check

    back if you have any further questions. Take care.

  • VThomasJ
    So, how would you see the above referenced concert conversation with a parent in control?  I see what's wrong in my relationship, but need more help with the better way to handle it.  Thank you
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You ask a great question. Often, the best way to avoid an

      argument is by not getting into one in the first place. In the above example, when

      the child tries to argue about not being able to go to the concert,the parent might say something like “I’ve

      already given you my answer” and then walk away. James Lehman discusses this

      technique further in his article http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Stop-Your-Kids-Backtalk.php. Keep in mind, when you stay

      in an argument with your child about something that has already been decided,

      you’re actually reinforcing the idea you might change your mind if he argues

      long enough or loud enough. This is true even if you have always stuck by what

      you have set as a limit. Part of being a teen is pushing back against limits.

      As irritating as this may be for parents, it is a normal part of adolescent

      development. I hope this information is useful for your situation. Be sure to

      check back if you have any further questions. Take care.

      • Mom in need of help
        I have an additional question on the "walk away" part. I am a single Mom of a 12 and 7 year old girls. When my older child starts to agrue I literally have No Where to walk away to. She will follow and continue to argue where ever I tryMore to go. If I tell her to go to her room. She screams and continues to make an uproar of the whole house. Any advise. Thank you.
        • Happydadmadness
          Get outside and enjoy the fresh air and take them with you.take up walkingvas a daily exercise and see if they follow you then. You will be in a better frame of mind too.love your children and yourself.I hope that helps.
        • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

          Mom in need of help

          You bring up a common problem a parent might encounter when

          trying to disengage from a power struggle, how do you walk away from an

          argument when your child follows you. It can be helpful to recognize what the

          purpose of walking away

          is, namely stopping the interaction. There are going to be times where walking

          away isn’t an option, such as when you are out in public or if your are busy

          doing something you can’t walk away from. In these situations, you disengage by

          ceasing communication. I understand this may be much easier said than done and

          it may mean a bit of patience and determination on your part. Having a handy

          mantra you can repeat to yourself or even putting on headphones and listening

          to music while she works through her emotional outburst can be effective ways

          of dealing with the behavior in the moment. Debbie Pincus has some other

          suggestion you might try in her article How to Keep Calm and Guide Your Child to Better Behavior This Year. Once things

          calm down, you can then http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php with your daughter about possible coping skills she can use the next

          time she gets upset. You could also hold her accountable with a task oriented

          consequence if the behavior warranted it. For more information on both problem

          solving and task oriented consequences, you may want to check out this article How to Give Kids Consequences That Work. I hope this helps to

          answer your question. Be sure to check back if you have any other concerns.

          Take care.

      • Still trying
        DeniseR_ParentalSupport How do you deal with a child who refuses to do anything that is asked of them? I try to set general limits on the use of her time.  She would rather lay staring at the ceiling than do what she should.
        • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

          Still trying DeniseR_ParentalSupport

          You ask a great question: how do you motivate a child who seems

          to not be motivated by anything. In actuality, everyone is motivated by

          something. It’s just that some kids are more motivated by doing nothing than

          they are by any reward or incentive. James Lehman discusses this in his article

           http://www.empoweringparents.com/child-motivation.php. In these situations, you

          want to be mindful you’re not stacking consequences or taking privileges away

          for extended periods of time. It can also be helpful to focus on one area at a

          time, like homework or chores. You can then link one privilege, such as computer

          time or cell phone use, to her completing that specific task. Another thing to

          keep in mind is some kids are motivated by the power struggle that can ensue

          when they refuse to do what’s being asked of them. Too often, we get into a

          virtual tug of war with our kids when they refuse to do something, with us on

          one end trying to make them comply, and them on the other, refusing to follow

          through. In these situations, it’s usually more effective to give the direction

          once and then walk away. If she does what you ask her to do, she earns the

          privilege. If she doesn’t, then she wouldn’t earn the privilege that day. These

          are just a couple of possible techniques you can try. We have several other

          articles that give suggestions you may find helpful for your specific

          situation. One in particular you may find helpful is Unmotivated Child? 6 Ways to Get Your Child Going. We

          appreciate you writing in and wish you the best of luck moving forward. Take


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