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What To Do With Out Of Control Kids?

Hi, I'm Nicholeen and I'm the mother of 4 children, a previous foster parent of many troubled teens. In fact, for years, I took youth ages 12 to 18 into my home and it was for treatment care. So, this was high-level foster care. 

So, guess what? Almost all of them went out of control on a fairly routine basis. But I never lost my control. I was able to maintain calmness. I want to share with you some of my secrets for how I helped them get calm and how I maintained my calmness at the same time. 

So, that's what we're going to talk about in this article. What to do without control kids? When a child has issues not being able to control themselves, they actually feel pretty vulnerable. They oftentimes don't feel very understood. 

So, it's super important that we establish a good connection with them, have a good strong relationship, and let them know, "We're not trying to hurt you. We're not trying to fight with you. We're not going to a power struggle with you." Do you know what a power struggle looks like? I hope so. There are multiple different ways to a power struggle and some of them might be surprising to you. 

When you give a child whatever they want when they go out of control, that's actually a power struggle. It's called coddling. So, there's also the angry power struggles and the ones where you don't talk to anybody. But you're still the loudest person in the room. 

There are a lot of different ways that people power struggle. If you know what those look like, then you don't have to engage in them. The answer or the solution to the type of parenting you want to have is what I call assertive parenting, deliberate parenting. 

This is the type of parenting where you make a plan for how you will parent the children and you explain that plan in detail to them. There shouldn't be any surprises in your parenting. If a person is going to learn self-government which is always my goal, they need to start out by learning that you are a safe person to teach them. And then you need to teach them the nuts and bolts of everything you're going to do with your parenting. 

So, what is self-government? Self-government is being able to determine the cause and effect of any given situation and possessing knowledge of your own behavior so that you can control them. So, how would you explain that to a child? So, you would look at that child or that youth and you would say self-government is what we're going for. 

That means you get to choose everything for yourself. You get to be in charge of yourself. Now, we have to still keep the roles in the right place. Ooh, what are roles? That's another lesson. That's something else you're going to have to teach your children. What is the role of the parent? What is the role of a child? One is a teacher, one is a learner, right? We've got to keep those in order otherwise there's dysfunction. 

We always keep the parents exactly where they need to be in the child's life so that the child feels secure in their role as a learner as a child. So, you say, "You get to make all of the choices for yourself because we all choose everything anyway for ourselves. 

The one thing that we need to remember about choices is they come with consequences. So, when you make choices you're also choosing consequences. And it's up to my role as a parent, my job to make sure that we've got a system in place that has consequences so that you can make the best types of choices. So, you decide what type of person you want to be. 

How you want it to feel. And then you learn the skills you need to move forward in that direction that you want to go." The next final lesson that you want to teach your children is "What is calmness?" Calmness is essential for self-government. A person is not in control of themselves if they are emotional or if they are power struggling with another person. 

So, to solve problems in a self-covered way, that means you have to be calm. That doesn't just mean silence. That means you're totally okay. So, we teach four skills to children. We teach them how to follow instructions, accept no answers, accept consequences, and disagree appropriately. 

If a person learns the skill sets for these 4 skills, that takes care of 99% of their behavioral problems. And by the way, these skills are not just for children, they're for adults too. When somebody cuts you off in traffic, you need the skill how to accept and no answer because you didn't want them to do that. 

It was like them telling you, "No, I'm going here." You've got to be able to look at the person, keep a calm face, voice and body say, okay or ask to disagree appropriately. And a gesture out the window is not disagreeing appropriately. And then drop the subject. So, of those 4 skills. In every single one of them, there is the same step. 

Step number 2 in every single one of those 4 basic skills is the same. It is has a calm face, voice, and body. When my children are really young, I teach them. "What does it look like when you have a calm face?" And then they'll show me. 

"What does it look like when your face is not calm?" They show me. "What does it look like when your body is not calm?" They start jumping around. "What does it look like when your body is calm? What about your voice?" So, we do the same exercise with our voice. 

So, that they really learn what is calm, what is not calm. And then every time they are not calm, I correct them and I point out "This is what you're doing. it's not a calm voice. What you should be doing is this." And we point them in the right direction that they should go so that they can analyze. 

A person can't learn self-government unless they analyze themselves. So, calmness is a key thing that we need to understand and we need to analyze within ourselves. So, we need to teach our children key things self-government, roles, calmness. And we've got to teach them skills too. 

What skills do they need so that they can achieve their goals? If they say, "Yeah, I want to be a calm self-governed person" but they don't have any way to measure it, how do they even know if they got there?" That's the beauty of skills. Skills help us measure our progress so that we know where we're going and if we're getting there in good time. 

Those 4 basic skills are the perfect skills to start with for the family. And your children are also going to get the opportunity to learn your parenting skills as well. There should be no surprises in those skills. Do you know that a lot of children go out of control because they have anxiety? Because they feel like nobody's understanding them or listening to them? Well, it's true. 

So, if you want your children to go out of control less than after they have an understanding, give them the skills they need to be understood. The skill disagrees appropriately is a beautiful and liberating skill that helps so many children choose not to go out of control. But I know you're saying, "You don't know my child." 

That's true. I don't know your child. Maybe your child rages, your child has oppositional defiance, maybe they've got ADHD, maybe they're on the spectrum somehow. Maybe they have sensory issues or something that they're dealing with their processing that really makes them lose control quickly because they have higher anxiety or something like that. 

Well, a lot of my foster children had similar issues oftentimes multiple issues on their file were listed ADHD, OCD, rad, all on the same file with the same person. And we taught them these skills, it worked. But we had to teach them something else too. 

So, when children are older, we teach them something called the rule of 3. When they're younger, we teach them something called the calm down place. This is the teaching self-government choices map which is a useful thing for part of the program that we teach. 

Now, you can see it has the light side and the dark side. And that means when you're making good decisions when you're not making good decisions. And over here are the skills that we just talked about those 4 basic skills. 

Well, over here are the steps that a parent goes through if the child is going completely out of control or if they need to be corrected. So, the parent corrects them. But then down here, you can see there are 2 boxes. One says a rule of 3 and one says calm down place. 

Calm down places for the younger children and the rule of 3 is for the older children. Now, what constitutes older and younger kind of depends upon the developmental level of your child. If your child is at about 6 or 7 years old developmental level and older, then you can do something called the rule of 3. 

If your child has a developmental level that's younger than that, you might want to consider using the calm down place. The calm down place is simply a trigger spot for calmness. In fact, it's this place that the child knows ahead of time that they get to go to when they are not being calm. And then there's a trigger phrase that I say before they go to the calm down place. 

I say something to them like, "Porter you are not having a calm voice. We need to go to the calm down place." And so then he knows, "Oh, I need to go to calm down place." He knows that on the way to the calm down place if he chooses to get calm which means he does all 5 steps of following instructions. 

That's our baseline of how we know we're calm. If he does that, then he won't even have to go to the calm down place, and then we'll just do a simple correction and fix the problem for him and help him practice how to handle that situation better in the future. 

If the child is older though and they start going out of control or power struggling with you because crying is power struggling. Yelling is power struggling. Pouting putting up a wall, not talking to you, those are all power struggles. If they start power struggling with you, hopefully, you have your own calmness down. 

But if you have your calmness under control, then you can help your child get their calmness under control when they're going out of control by using the rule of 3 which disengages their processing from the emotional part of the brain and engages the prefrontal cortex the part where they think in that logical center of the brain. 

So, how does it work? We call it the rule of 3 because we do 3 things 3 times. It's really important that you know what to say and that your children know what to say too. If I just left it to my own creativity in my brain, I would say something different every time. 

Which then makes my child more anxious and they'll go out of control even more. So, to keep things predictable which lowers anxiety for children, there's a script that I decided to follow years ago when I was doing treatment foster care for troubled teens. And that script is what I call the rule of 3 where we do these 3 things 3 times. 

The 3 things that we do are talked about in my course, the teaching self-government course. And they are pre-teaching, giving instruction, and correction. We do those things 3 times in a row. And with each one of those corrections, they earn a different negative consequence that helps them be motivated to pull themselves together and to get calm. 

When we help them think about the rule of 3, they stop thinking about their emotions because they're going through the script with you, the process with you. And here's the thing they already know the process ahead of time anyway. It's not a new thing. 

They have learned it long before I ever use it. Because one of the hallmarks of self-government is that you teach every skill. You teach every problem-solving technique to the child you even practice it before you would ever use it. So, those are the ways that we help children stop from going out of control.

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