The Symptom Is the Solution
When you look at a child's unwanted behavior, bear in mind that the symptom is often the solution to the child's problem. For examples:
1. Frequent sickness on school mornings can signal that there are problems at school that your child wants to avoid. Or it can signal attachment issues between you and your child; meaning that time with you is in too short supply, it could signal an anxiety disorder, and more. Whatever you do, schedule a visit with your child's physician before searching for psychological explanations.
2. Tempertantrums often work: The child gets what he or she wants, or, they get out of doing what they don't want to do.
3. Your child's dawdling and not finishing what you have asked your he or she to do frequently gets them out of having to follow the full request. Sometimes it discourages parents from asking them to do responsible things. I often hear the ol' refrain: "For crying out loud, its easier for me to do it myself than to try and get my child to do it!"
Yes it is...and that's not by accident.
4. Sometimes a child or adolescent is especially argumentative with one parent any time things don't go their way. The result is that the other parent comes to thier defense, a large argument ensues between the parents and they remain further devided in their parental limits. Parents lose the power of unity and the child or adolescent is more in control.
5. Sometimes one parent is emotionally distant from the family and uninvolved. A child or adolescent will ingage in some outragious behavior that the distant and uninvolved parent cannot possibly ignore. This back into the family structure. Unfortunately, this normally happens in ways that produce futher conflict and lead to increased rates of misbehavior on the part of the child or adolescent and increases general conflict in the family.
The trick is to find more effective solutions to these and similar problems.
Sometimes professional help is needed to correct such bad symptom solutions and their bad outcomes.
Dr. Tom 6/24/10