“I hate you.”
If you’ve ever thought you’re the only parent who’s heard those words from their child, good news, you’re wrong. Kirk Martin, a speaker coming to Thornapple Kellogg schools in March, has had many people tell him they’ve heard these words. It’s the sign of a power struggle, and that students don’t feel good about themselves, he said.
“These are very frustrated kids,” Martin said, “but they probably can out argue you.”
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Mary Holwerda, a school counselor for 12 years at Thornapple Kellogg schools, agreed frustration has become part of life for many students and parents. She’s seen an increase in the number children who are experiencing stress, anxiety and worried thoughts, she said, and it’s led to requests from parents for their child be placed in small group counseling. “They are asking for support with helping their child to communicate their difficult feelings and providing strategies for coping with difficult feelings,” she said, adding “angry boys” have especially become a problem.
In his presentation called “Celebrate Calm,” Martin will talkabout the communication issue. Children really don’t hate their parents, he said, but they need to get to the root of the problem of why their children are so frustrated. When a child doesn’t do chores or homework, a typical response from parents is to take a privilege away. That method most parents were raised on doesn’t work any more, and the first step in solving the control problem is for the parents to change their own ways, Martin said. Rather than doing that, parents should “figure how why (they) are struggling and how you can help him,” he said.