A Collaborative Approach to Parenting a Challenging Child

parenting a challenging child

A Collaborative Approach to Parenting a Challenging Child

Are you one of those parents or a soon-to-be parent scouring for the best way of parenting a challenging child? Does your child have an ODD, throwing tantrums now and then, or super-short frustration tolerance? 

This article focuses on how you can opt for a collaborative parenting approach for better behavior and overall behavioral development of your child.

Collaborative Parenting: What is it?

A collaborative approach to parenting is the best way of upbringing your difficult child. Collaborative parenting is a proactive approach that helps parents understand their child’s behavioral challenges, work on them collectively (with the child), find a common ground, and overcome challenging behaviors collectively.

In the US, about 46% of parents use a collaborative parenting style, which is great indeed. However, the majority of parents aren’t either familiar with or find it difficult to incorporate it into their parenting approach.

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The foundation of Collaborative parenting

In the past, the style of parenting wasn’t a topic of concern regarding a child’s behavior. Parenting is now considered both the foundation and the solution to a child’s challenging behavior.

Any top child psychologist in the world will tell you that it is important for you to figure out what your child’s problem is and how you can help them to succeed. It requires sheer determination, a high level of frustration tolerance, problem-solving abilities, and an expectation that doesn’t exceed your child’s abilities.

parenting a challenging child

Parenting starts with parents and only then involves the kids. Feeling frustrated at times is okay but giving up isn’t an option. 

The basis of collaborative parenting is understanding a child’s lagging skills that show up in his or her behavior.

Understanding a child’s challenging behavior

Many parents face difficulty understanding their child’s behavior and feel frustrated easily. This not only affects them but also hampers children and their mental health. As a parent, you should learn to remain calm and study the behavioral pattern of the child who is challenged by lagging skills.

Some common lagging skills include the following:

  • Open resistance to authority
  • Inability to accept modifications
  • Problems in transitions
  • Inability to meet anticipations
  • Rage, tantrums, tears, meltdowns, kicking, biting, etc.

Once you grasp the idea of lagging skills in your child, you can then move on to the next step of helping them open up about their problems and assuring them that you’ve got their back in their lows.

Skills you can focus on to help your child

As a parent, you can focus on the following skills to assist your children to improve their problem-solving abilities and deal with negative feedback.

  • Frustration tolerance
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Problem-sharing and solving

Teaching these skills to younger kids can be challenging but with older kids, you can gradually work on them whilst staying calm. Building skills can be seriously difficult for some children but with your assistance and encouragement, they can.

How to Successfully Practice Collaborative Parenting?

It is important to understand that this parenting approach is proactive in nature so it is better to practice when things are calm. More importantly, start it when your children are young so it becomes a regular pattern of their lives to share their problems and consider your opinions to solve those problems.

You will be able to create a strong bond with your children and assure them of help and safety whenever needed, which makes situations easy for both of you. Let us take a look at the basic steps to successfully practice collaborative parenting. 

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3 Steps in Collaborative Parenting

You can easily understand these three steps in collaborative parenting with the help of relatable examples.

parenting a challenging child

Step 1: Empathy: understanding the child’s perspective

The first step to collaboration requires the collection of information about the problems your children are facing. It is important to understand the perspective or concern of the child with problems. How do you achieve that? Simple. You talk less and listen more. All you need to do is ask clarifying questions without judgment and understand their perspective well.

parenting a challenging child

Example: “Rachel, it’s been a few days and I’ve noticed you losing your study material in your school. And, you avoid talking about it whenever I bring it up. Can you please tell me what is going on?”

You can follow up with a question like, ” Is someone taking away your things and threatening you to keep quiet about it?”

Step 2: Adult Concern: Define it

Once you’ve heard everything and understood your child’s perspective, you should share your perspective on the issue. Keeping it short and simple is always good.

Example: “You’ve done a good job telling me everything. I am worried that someone might bully you in your school and you keep quiet about it. If someone takes your things away, come home and talk to me about it.”

Step 3: Collaborate: Invite your child to participate

It is time for you to create a collaborative plan that satisfies you and your child. You should ask your, child, what they want to do about the problem and how they want you to help them. You could suggest a few things and see if they are willing to work on it.

parenting a challenging child

It may be difficult for both of you in the beginning and the consequences might not be as you expected. But, with time and both of you will start gelling and working together with greater effectiveness.

Example: ” Baby Rachel, do you want me to talk to your teacher about the person that takes your belongings in the school? what do you suggest?”

Now, let your child come up with ideas, if she feels awkward, provide her with some reasonable options.

Example: “Rachel, would you like to talk about it with your teacher? Or would you like me to be with you when you talk to your teacher?”

Practicing collaborative parenting can be difficult in the initial stages but you will get used to it soon. This approach has lots of parenting benefits and more importantly, you will be able to connect with your children like a friend and get to know what’s going on in their lives.

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Wrapping up: Working Together Makes it Easier

Collaborative parenting of all is the key to connecting with your difficult child, accessing their mental health, understanding their perspective, and helping them overcome Oppositional defiant disorder issues.

As it is a parent-led collaborative effort, it creates a strong parent-child bond, which is helpful for developing and nourishing your child’s skills.

If this approach to parenting is different from your own experiences, you can take help from numerous resources and tools on the internet. Set up a mentality where you see ” a child with challenges rather than a challenging child.” It will empower your children to face challenges with the assurance that you’ve got their backs.

A collaborative parenting approach makes it easier for both parents and children to share and conquer real-life problems.