I've disciplined him and still nothing works.

What’s a parent to do? Too often parents focus on stopping misbehavior in children. While misbehavior may need a variety of discipline approaches over time, some parents may be missing the point. Children who act out repeatedly, seemingly without regard for whatever discipline you provide, may be detaching from parent leading. If they are controlling your relationship more than you, then it’s time to examine the relationship with the child. It is time to examine the issues affecting their trust of parent leading. One question we may need to ask is, are our children growing in their desire to please parents?

Misbehavior by a child may mean more than the idea that they didn’t do what you wanted them to do today. Repeated misbehavior or controlling actions on the child’s part may be a sign of attachment disturbance. Issues such as frequent anger and increased aggressiveness, withdrawal, becoming insecure and worrisome, or presenting excessive attention needs may reflect feelings of distance or control of the relationship in the child’s mind.

A child’s need for security doesn’t go away because we think they shouldn’t feel insecure. Nor can we curb a child’s need for control by disciplining them. Needs, to be resolved, require a “tuned in” relationship by parents. The symptoms described may require extra nurturing and affection with that child. It may require setting firm boundaries (backing up your words of direction with non angry action that supports your words). Or you may need to challenge children in a way that causes them to overcome your expectations successfully. These approaches cause children to give up their need for control and develop trust and security in the relationship.

Learn to tune into your child’s needs and they will trust your relationship. This will allow you, as a parent, to guide their lives and will help them to become more cooperative within your care.

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