The Definition of Insanity Is …


The other day two parents complained to me about how their child just doesn’t listen to them. They described a number of approaches that they had tried, that just weren’t working. Threatening, take-aways, time-outs, bribes, yelling, and even an occasional “potch” all proved to be repeatedly ineffective, yet were still continuously in use. This tendency to repeat over and over again a technique that doesn’t work, or at best works occasionally, is surprisingly common. Alternatively, some parents, in their frustration, use the same techniques accompanied by escalating threats, loud angry screaming, and tears of defeat, possibly creating an emotionally charged family catastrophe. Quite often, these parenting approaches to some degree replicate those of our own parents, and while they might have worked on us, they don’t seem to be effective across generations. Is it the technique, the child, or the person/persons using it? The answer to these questions will significantly influence our approach to improving the situation, and represents the beginning point of the process for effective change.

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