A lot of kids attitude problems stem from the fact that there is no structure, rules or established routine in the home. This means that a lot of chaos can develop and sometimes, kids end up hitting each other, doing what they like and generally causing mayhem.
What is happening here or what is not happening is that the kids have no idea at all of what is expected of them in the home, as they grow up or indeed what is expected from them by the big bad world out there.
That means basically establishing the ground rules and making sure there is no favoritism. Then we have to ensure that each parent has the same take on all the issues. Otherwise good cop bad cop parenting will start and there is no end to it.
Teaching kids responsibility and accountability will ease the running of the home and will also prepare them for what society expects of them when they actually grow up which is usually just a few years away. That is frightening especially when we realize that a fourteen year old, in four years time will be officially an adult and will be able to get a drivers’ licence, among other things.
The second thing of course is to parent effectively as the kids mature. Here we have to tread carefully because we still have to retain our credibility as an authority while at the same time encouraging some independence.
The problems arise here with when the parent starts to let up altogether and wants to become the teen’s best friend. That means basically that the word ‘no’ flies out the window and that indulgence is craved and often given.
The main problem here is that the teen is not nearly mature enough to act responsibly and situations may arise where risky behavior as regards driving, drink, sex and drugs rear their ugly heads.
Usually, when the ground rules which are based on safety, security and accountability are let go, then peer pressure builds up and the parents lose control over the situation . Wanting to become the teen’s best friend usually does not work.
Treading the fine line between being over protective, over critical and and a control freak with being far too indulgent and letting go of the reins is the key to successful parenting.
Once we get this right, the problems of kids attitude and other behavior problems become manageable. But we have to start early on!
Robert Locke MBE is a health enthusiast specializing in children’s health and has written extensively on ADHD, parenting and mental health issues.
He is a contributor to Quora, Lifehack, The Good Men Project, Liberal America and How to Learn.
He has written “Facts About ADHD Children – Tips for ADHD Parenting” on Amazon. He has also published children’ s stories (Ziger The Tiger series) , also available on Amazon.
After a long career in Italy in teaching and management with the British Council, he was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for outstanding achievement in December 2005. He still lives in Italy where he writes and teaches.