It is completely normal for parents and children to argue. It is normal for children to “test the limits” by using minor misbehaviors to accomplish their goals. It is even normal for parents to yell every now and then when they just can’t take it anymore!
So, how do you know if your parent-child dynamic is normal or if it’s time to seek professional help? Here are a few signs:
- Your child is physically aggressive. Physically aggressive behaviors need to be addressed immediately because they are dangerous to others and possibly your child.
- There are more yelling and negative interactions in your household than calmness and positive bonding. It’s normal to fight every now and then, but if that’s the predominant way of interacting, this can be problematic.
- Your child’s behaviors are getting worse. Maybe you saw signs of defiance when your child was little, but now it seems like it “snowballed” and got bigger. The sooner you intervene, the better it is in the long term.
- The defiance (or other negative behaviors) are impacting your child’s life. If these behaviors are affecting social relationships (Parents? Friends? Teachers?), academic achievement, or other area of development, it’s important to get help sooner than later. Over time, children can interpret negative feedback from their environment as evidence of their own shortcomings, possibly leading to self-esteem issues and other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
If the problem behaviors aren’t getting better over time, consider consulting with a professional. The sooner these issues are addressed, the sooner your child will be set up to achieve his or her potential.