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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Counterintuitive Parenting

teensWhen a child is behaviorally struggling and acting-out, whether passively or aggressively, parents often pursue one of two tracks. Either they crack down and become more strict, or else they give up any thought of trying to control the situation.

A third possible response exists. It’s counterintuitive. It doesn’t always make sense. Yet, often, it works with both bio or adopted children.

The child may be rebellious, confrontational, mouthy, resistant or withdrawn. That can

Mother yelling at daughter (10-12 years) through megaphone

easily trigger us as parents to lower the boom. And there’s a time for that. But, I’ve found that if you nip it and let your standards be known, the son or daughter usually retreats to meditate on the injustices of life and the mean, mean parent-machine.

Which results in a standoff. And more hostility brewing.

That’s when you need to take one step forward. Yep. Exactly at the moment when you feel like doing anything but getting together and coming closer, that’s what Woman And Her Teenage Daughteryour young person needs. Give them maybe an hour or two and then…

Take your First Big Step Forward.

Reassure them. Tell them that you love them. Let them know that you’re “there” for them, that they can discuss anything with you, that you’re sorry and trying to do your best, as well.

Then let that percolate for an hour or two and sink into their consciousness. Step away

Father and son sitting together

for awhile and give them space. Maybe even overnight. Encourage them occasionally over the course of the next 24-48 hours.

When everyone has cooled-down and been allowed to chill-lax, invite the former offender to do something special with you— go out for ice cream, attend or play in a sporting event, go shopping— whatever might be of interest to them and would not cause you to shoot yourself after an hour or so.

Happy Teenage Girl Embracing Grandmother From BehindThis is your Second Big Step Forward of the one-two punch called Counterintuitive Parenting. That’s what I term it, anyway, I don’t know if such a thing exists, but give it a shot. The principles are good, no matter what you call it.

Take a couple of steps toward your child. They need you more than either one of you can imagine. So smile, don’t smother.

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