Fingers of blame and shame point regularly at parents. Parent advisor do it, but so do your little angels. Whether it is a pre-schooler throwing a temper tantrum that makes you feel frustrated and out of control or a teen the blaming and shaming the child wants you to march to her drummer. That my friend is what I call a Gotcha War.
Gotcha Wars are used by Good Kids to gain control of you and your feelings. Their goal, consciously or unconsciously is to make you act and look like an idiot, so they can feel righteous and “Holier than thou.”
When you don’t react strongly enough to whatever provocation is hurled you way, your basically good kid starts pushing other buttons to get you angry. The older the Gotcha Warrior the more likely he can push buttons you didn’t know existed.
Quick mental health fact: The shrinks say extreme Gotcha Warriors suffer from a mental health disorder called Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Supposedly a disorder of childhood only, I bet you know a few adults who meet the criteria.
I have worked with children who have been labeled ODD. They are the kids who you see being chased by a group of adults in various places mostly in school corridors or parking lots. The kids have a look of glee on their faces and the adults ones of anger and frustration.
If you have not had all your buttons pushed by a Gotcha Warrior you have been blessed by all the benign forces of the universe. Say a million and one “Thank you’s.” Still most of you need a little help when a kid throws the gauntlet your way.
- Keep cool. EFTI’s Twelve Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises promote calmness. Here’s is a link to a free EFTI poster coach reminding you of ways to practice those exercises
- Have few rules; the more rules, the more opportunities for the child to argue.
- Rules that must be obeyed include: Those involving safety of people and property; those that involve obeying the law; those involving the sanctity of your home.
- Have known consequences for violating these and other rules. Most effective consequences are the lost of privileges. Do not assign work, unless it is how the child gets back a privilege.
- Make certain the consequences can be enforced without a fight.
- Use the TAG strategy when a rule is violated a rule. T = Tell the child the rule has been broken; A = Announce the consequence; G = Get on with your life. Do not argue.
- Overdose the child on love, real praise and respect for what does properly. Under all the fighting and struggle is a child who wants and needs praise to combat the feelings of powerlessness s/he feels.
- Build the child’s self-esteem. Find something the child excels at and make that an important part of the child’s life.
Life as a parent is probably the hardest job in the world; count your blessings for every good moment you can savor.
This post was inspired by this Word Press Daily Prompt: With you or with out you: Tell us about the time you threw down the gauntlet and drew the proverbial line in the sand by giving someone an ultimatum.
As suggested above life as a foster parent to teens in trouble with the law found me throwing down the gauntlet often and just as often having it thrown at me. Sometimes I had to send a child back to a lock-up; the kids often showed their power by running away.
As always thank you for all you do to support EFTI’s efforts to help others stay strong. Kindness is karma and comes back to bless you. Care and share.
LINKS OF INTEREST
- When Good Kids Get You in a Gotcha War (amazon.com)
- How to Win a Gotchs War (wikihow.com)
- Children Behaving Badly (https://parentsfriend.wordpress.com)
- Power Control and Codependency (psychcentral.com)
- Word Press Daily Prompt (wordpress.com)
- Self-soothing to Create Calm in Your Life (amazon.com)
- 12 Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (amazon.com)