Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parents Need to Seize Control from Their Darling Bullies

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parents Need to Seize Control from Their Darling Bullies

Article excerpt

A celebration at the Buddhist center lost its Zen when Sean Grover's daughter had a complete meltdown.

She was 6 or 7 years old at the time and didn't want to leave the party. Her father dragged her out as she shrieked at him, "I hate you! You're stupid!"

Grover is a psychotherapist who works with children. He hit rock bottom in his despair as a parent that night. The incident drove him to seek professional parenting advice himself.

The message he received changed his relationship with his daughter and shaped his views on how parents can regain a sense of control when they feel completely lost.

Grover recently published "When Kids Call the Shots: How to Seize Control From Your Darling Bully and Enjoy Being a Parent Again."

He has seen an epidemic of bullied parents in his own practice. How did American parents get here? It helps to understand basic child development.

Every phase of childhood comes with a test period, he explains. Nature puts parents and children on a collision course. Children feel a surge of independence but are not equipped to handle it. Parents step in and spoil their fun.

"As soon as kids learn to walk, they want to get rid of you," he said.

When parents don't provide leadership, structure and boundaries around children's developmental test times, gaps form in a child's maturity, he said. Children grow, but they don't mature. This may be why you've seen your teenaged nephew speaking to his mother the same way he did when he was 5.

"It's not unusual to see college students having temper tantrums," Grover said. They haven't been taught to manage frustration properly. A bully is hostile, mean, aggressive, badgering, manipulative and name-calling.

Nearly all children will argue or try to negotiate their way out of a situation at some point. The severity and frequency determines whether their behavior has crossed into bullying. You know your child has become a bully when the scales of power in the parent- child relationship have shifted.

Grover's book begins the repair process by focusing the parent inward, having him or her take inventory of the parenting they received as a child. …

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