Parenting Techniques for Difficult Children

For a while now I have been feeling as though I have almost gotten into a rut with my children. I ask them to do something and they whine and complain, or it takes me saying something five times to get them moving. This is not the picture that comes to mind when I think of having strong parenting skills. I want my children to have enough respect for me to do what I ask them to do without the complaints, and the first time I ask them. Am I living a pipe dream? I truly hope not!


Parenting Techniques For Difficult Children

Everyone who has at least one difficult child raise their hand! I think most people can say at one point or another their child was difficult. Perhaps it was just a phase they were going through at the time, but whatever the case may be, that period of time can be a huge challenge. You start questioning your parenting abilities, and if taking a different approach may be more beneficial. I am always trying to find ways to improve my parenting techniques for difficult children. Frankly, my concern is whether or not I am raising my children to be great adults.

Recently I had the opportunity to sit in on a webinar hosted by Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions. This was a one hour class titled “Turn Complaining Into Cooperating In 2013”. It was a very insightful webinar, that I am glad I sat in on. I admit I have heard some of it before, but hearing it again is always good. There were also several things that were new to me.

Balance of Communication With Children

One of the focuses of this class was shifting the balance of your communication. A lot of the whining and complaining (from the child) stem from the need for attention and power. The more attention given to the complaining, the more it is reinforced. Makes sense, right? So how do you stop that cycle because, let’s face it, when they are in the midst of whining and complaining it is hard to ignore it. However, that is exactly what McCready suggests.

She posed a question asking how many requests and reminders are you directing towards your children versus just communicating? For example, how often do you say these phrases: put your backpack away, hang up your coat, do your homework, get your elbows off the table, chew with your mouth closed, brush your teeth, and on and on the list goes. Do you often then get attitude, and “ugh” sound, or stomping off? Honestly, I think I say about all of these things and get those exact responses. I’ve tried sending to room, taking things away, and talking about the fact that it is disrespectful and unacceptable. But none of those things have nipped it in the butt.

McCready says all of these reminders and requests create a power struggle. She suggests for the next two weeks shifting the balance of communication. If you are spending 90% of the time ordering, reminding and directing and only 10% is spent in real communication flip that around. It is all in the way you speak to your child. For example, instead of telling them they need to get their homework done, say “What is your plan for …?” This is empowering to your child. You are in effect reminding them, but giving them the power to communicate with you at the same time. During this two weeks of time, is also the time that you ignore the attitude, “ughs” and stomping.

I have not started using this method completely yet, although that is my goal for this week. It seems so easy, but when you are not used to posing these types of questions to your children it is a little difficult to remember!

Also, there was a lot more information that was covered in this Webinar than what I have shared with you. This is just a small portion of what was covered.

About the Author

A Mommy blogger who loves working from home while raising her 9-year-old daughter and 5-year-old boy/girl twins with her husband. I have a passion for learning and enjoy anything having to do with the technical side of blogging. I am also always working on self-improvement and being the best mom I can to my children. I am also a bit of a coffee addict! ❤


  1. Thank you for the review of the webinar. I have a 12 year old daughter and am a single parent. It can be quite challenging! I have struggled with how to get away from nagging, repeating myself, etc. I’ve tried consequences for not following through, heart to heart talks, and so on, just like you. It always ends up with me repeatedly reminding/nagging, and her huffing and puffing, whining, moaning that I am getting on her nerves, bugging her etc. I have understood that children are seeking more independence and “power” as they grow up, but how to give that to them in a “controlled” way is not always easy. Too much freedom and they don’t learn anything or follow any rules, too little freedom, and they can’t learn independence or rebel. I am definitely going to be trying this one!

    • I completely understand where you are at Cristina! It is such a fine line on how much control to allow them and then not allow – without them getting rebellious! Keep me posted on how this works for you – I would love to hear about it with you! 🙂

  2. Wendy Mastin says

    I raised a very independent daughter, who was just like this as a little girl. I learned that by telling her to do something, she became very stubborn. Rather than tell her what to do, I would find other ways to make it her idea to do things Takes some getting used to, but eventually worked. She is now 30 years old and is a Dr. of Physical Therapy and is expecting her own 1st child in April.

    • Congratulations on your daughter’s Doctorate in PT! That is awesome, and such a great profession. I think independence and stubbornness is so awesome – when they learn to use it to their benefit! lol It is just finding that way to harness it. 🙂 You did a great job at recognizing how to communicate with her! That is exactly how I need to communicate with my girls. It is just a matter of finding the right verbiage for all situations that throws me. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. I am mother of 6 a few of them seemed to be hard headed more than the others the thing was that they each were different and what worked for one did not work for another so just keep love in the combination and all should work out

    • That is so awesome Angie! Six kids, wow, I find it hard with three! lol All three of my children have such completely different personalities that I’ve learned to work with in other areas – it is just the behavioral stuff that I need to work some kinks out! I would definitely consider you a pro with six children. Thank you so much for sharing, and have a great day!

  4. teresa mccluskey says

    thanks this will come in handy!!

  5. Jodi – so glad you enjoyed the webinar. Thanks for sharing your Aha! moments with your readers. Keep up the wonderful work inspring families!


    Amy McCready
    Positive Parenting Solutions

    • Amy – Wow, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting on the post regarding your seminar. I thoroughly enjoyed everything you taught that day! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit, and for the work you do helping us parents out!

  6. Megan Avery says

    This will be great! Thanks!

  7. Thank you for sharing this as I was unable to attend the webinar. I have this problem all the time and now that I think about it, I do give commands a lot. Then they get mad because I’m commanding them and I get mad that they are mad because I think, well if you would just do it, I wouldn’t have to tell you. I will try to watch how many commands I give.
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  8. Sandy McFadden says

    Thank you for sharing I have been blessed with not having problems like that when my children where young and my granddaughters have their moments but nothing that a few time outs or taking away of their favorite things in punishment can’t fix

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