As parents, we often struggle with feelings of helplessness and frustration when our children behave in ways we do not understand. Some examples are young children's tantrums when they don't get what they want or a teenager's mood swings and "attitude".
I tend to first look at myself and see how we as parents might be influencing the behavior. Does one of us tend to throw adult "tantrums", which our child emulates? Do I get scared and quickly given in to a meltdown just so I can have peace? Does my teenager's anger make me feel unwanted/rejected and therefore, I react in anger or by appeasing?
Or, is there something else the child is reacting to because he/she does not know any other way? Is there trouble in the parental relationship? Is there open hostility or silent distance? What is the general stress level in the household?
After these questions (and more) are looked into, it often becomes easier to deal with the actual behavior. If the behavior is a symptom of something related to an adult or adults, it is up to the adult/s to work on themselves. If the behavior seems age-related, then again, it is up to the adult to draw the lines for what they will/will not tolerate. Ultimately, I believe that the buck stops with us adults!
Sujata V, Ph.D, MFT
Always Learning..through the good AND not-so-good times!