Expert Parenting Advice
Practical parenting tips and advice from experts around the world

Are you still trying to "fix" your child?

Why it does not help trying to "fix" your child's bad behavior. And what you should rather focus on.

Last night we had an once-in-a-century type flood here where I live. The mayor declared a state of emergency, and all my social feeds were filled with videos and photos of places I know well turned into lakes and rivers.

I stayed up late, just doomscrolling and waiting for updates. It is a strange feeling - listening to the rain outside, worrying about what is going to happen, but not being able to do anything about it.

However, it made me think about something I read in Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: the difference between focusing on your circle of concern vs focusing on your circle of influence.

Focusing on your circle of concerns means you place all your focus and energy on things you cannot control. And the more you focus on that, the less control you have over the things that happen to you.

Instead, focusing on your circle of influence means you focus on the things that you can change. And the more you focus on that, the bigger it grows, and the more control you start having about the things that happen to you.

One of the key messages that I got from all the parenting experts I interviewed for my ebook "How To Get Kids To Listen" is this: Focus on improving yourself, don't try to fix your kids. Take care of yourself, learn to stay calmer, learn to detach yourself from the outcome.

Because this is what you have control over. You cannot change what is going on inside your child's mind, but you can work on yourself.

And the more you work on yourself, the easier to will get to deal with you children when they are upset.

For example, when I spoke to Dr Paul Jenkins, a child and family psychologist, podcast host and author, he explained that the more you are able to "detach" yourself from the outcome of an interaction with your child, the more your child will start taking responsibility.

Here's what he said:

We find as parents, a lot of times, we'll get frustrated, and we'll end up yelling. Well, our kids are not listening when we're yelling. But if we're smiling, and if we're detached from the outcomes, then they listen much more carefully, and they actually respond in much more positive ways.

Dr Paul Jenkins

In the interview, Dr Paul shares a technique he calls the "No Problem" technique, that you can practice to become better at staying calm when your children start frustrating you.

Doing this regularly will not only help you stay calm, but also encourage your children to think instead of fight.

You can access the entire interview with Dr Paul Jenkins here:

Download "How To Get Kids To Listen"