• Brandon Joffe, LCSW

Insanity


The definition of insanity is: “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

How many tactics, rewards, punishments, lectures, lessons, and threats have you repeated over and over again, hoping to finally get your child to do what it is you want him or her to do? You even get signs every now and again that whatever tactic is about to work or may be working so you try and try again. I teach the parents I work with a very simple rule that has yet to result in more chaos and often results in significantly less chaos. The rule is “If it works build on it, if it doesn’t get rid of it.”

I know that your child’s behavior is responsible for a lot of the chaos in your life, but you have control over and are responsible for much of it. You don’t have to keep engaging in “insane conversations”, you don’t have to put time, effort, and energy into all the strategies that are exhausting and damaging to all family relationships. Every time you practice insanity you are not leaving room for opportunities to find what works and you are inviting more chaos and misery into your own life.

Until you truly stop the things that don’t work, you simply cannot make room to find what does. Every time you give the same insane lecture over and over again you lose power and influence over your child. I know you feel like you need to do something, but sometimes doing nothing instead of acting insane is better. Don’t forget that your influence over your child comes from the following:

  1. Lessons given when they are willing to hear them.

  2. Consistent and healthy boundaries that you control.

  3. Modeling your own morals, values, beliefs, and attitudes in consistent behaviors.

  4. Being happy with all of the above regardless of the season that your child is in (if you aren’t demonstrating a happy life, why in the world would they follow your life advice?).

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