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Current Issue of BDINews
Caring for the High Maintenance Child
By Kate Andersen.

Child who threatens/guilts.
May, 2018.
Dear Kate:
I am writing because of my relatives. They are two-faced. Or at least one of them is. My mother-in-law is .......
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The child who threatens or guilts parents
BEHAVIOR - Coping with Children Who Make Threats

One of the most distressing types of secondary problem that can arise in a child with a high maintenance profile is making threats. Some children threaten to hurt others or themselves when they don't get their own way. Or they may make threats as a way of coping when they are overwhelmed. Parents can be taken by surprise if threats start appearing out of the blue. They may give in to the child just because they are stunned. This helps the child learn that threatening 'works' and greatly increases the chance that threatening will become one of the child's standard responses for achieving his or her goals.

Don't model threatening by giving lots of empty warnings and discussing consequences constantly. Some children do imitate parents' use of consequences with consequences of their own. Stand firm and state in words: "I am the parent. It is my job to discipline my children. You are my child. You DO NOT punish me." END OF DISCUSSION. Turn and do something else. You may have to repeat this statement from time to time.

When your child threatens to harm you, others, or possessions, be sure to label what they have just said 'threatening' and make it clear it is unacceptable - always. As your child matures, you may even point out that making threats is illegal. Follow the first and every other instance of threatening with a negative consequence. If this does not work and your child starts to escalate the threats, you need professional help.

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