Dr. Karen Binder-Brynes, a leading psychologist who works with adolescents and parents, says bringing in the police should be a last resort -- not a manipulative technique. "When a child is dangerous immediately to themselves or to others - then you would call the police," says Binder-Brynes, "like you would in any domestic abuse situation."
Instead of calling the police to help parent, she recommends the following tips to effectively handle your child's behavior, and to help circumvent them acting out:
Dr. Karen Binder-Brynes' Advice for Handling Children's Behavior
1. Keep Lines of Communication Open with Your Child and Give Kids a Safe Atmosphere to Communicate
Create an environment where the child feels they can tell you what's going on in their lives without overreacting -- unless they are in immediate danger.
Provide a safe environment. When children come to you to tell you something, don't go crazy. Don't totally overact. Stop and think before you do anything. For instance, if your child tells you he or she wants to have sex, before you freak out, ask him or her a question to understand more. For instance, are you doing this because kids are pressuring you at school?
If you let your emotions take hold of you, your children won't come to you again for help. A parent should provide an environment where kids can be honest, without feeling punished.
2. Have a Good Network
Parenting is the hardest job in the world. It takes a village. Have a good network. Do this by using your community - get to know your kids' friends and their parents. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
3. Teenagers Need Boundaries
They will push and push, scream and yell at you, but ultimately they want to know somewhere deep inside that the parent is in control. Teens can feel out of control and need to know there are restrictions.
4. Get Professional Help When Behavior Starts Changing
When you see noticeable changes in behavior and other warning signs (link), it's important to seek professional help. Policemen are not professional help. Use your resources; for instance, go to your pediatrician for advice. Let them be your ear and conduit. Also, go to your school counselors. A parent has many options in the social service arena. If a parent is having trouble getting anyone to listen, it's important to continue doing everything you can to continue seeking the help of a professional in the field.
For more information on Dr. Karen Binder-Brynes, visit her website at DrKarenNYC.com.
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