Julie GreenleeJulie Greenlee, Certified Love & Logic Instructor. Julie is currently Program Director at For Children’s Sake Emergency Diagnostic Center, a child placing agency specializing in therapeutic foster care, adoption, and residential treatment. There she works with the most defiant children. She has received trainings on Childhood Differential Diagnoses, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Autism and Asbergers, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Children and Families with HIV/AIDS, and has become a certified facilitator of Love and Logic which is the philosophy and core that For Children's Sake uses to teach both parents, staff, and community members, on appropriate and effective ways to parent and discipline a normal to extremely defiant child.
How can I set limits with my difficult child?
Julie Greenlee: When setting limits with difficult children, we want to make sure that they heard us. On of their defense mechanisms as difficult kids is the Hhh, and they just look at you blank like they didn t understand what you just said or I didn t know that you wanted me to do it that way and so to avoid all of that headache, we simply say, let s use brushing your teeth as an example. Sweetie, I need you to go brush your teeth that means unusually get your tooth brush, get it wet, put tooth paste on it. We brush our top teeth, our bottom teeth, front and back. We clean up the sink and we put our tooth brush back And then we ask them to repeat it and if they don t get it, great we will go through it again, we are so glad that you just reminded me that you didn t understand what I said.
And so when they repeat it back to us, now we have an expectation in place, now if we got a parameter of limits put in place for that child and the beauty of it is that when we got difficult kids, they are going to blow it. So let s count on that. When he goes up there, he might not tooth paste on his tooth brush and you know what we smell their breath. We know right away that that limit needs to be reset with that child and there is many ways that those natural consequences can come in to place with that limit. If the child chooses then to not brush his teeth correctly, we would then ask the child to do it again and again and again and perhaps they just miss breakfast, perhaps they miss the school bus and now they need to pay for a baby-sitter to stay at home or they need to pay you to take them to school and if the child is still defiant he is still difficult with this particular example I would make sure that I made my best dessert that night and remind the child that I only gives sweets to kids who protect their teeth by brushing. In all scenarios we want to make sure that we sets strong firm limits with our kids, that we don t back down and that we allow our child to make mistakes, to learn from those mistakes and to always repeat back to us what his or her expectations are.