This sign gets to the nub of children’s value problems. When they do not have solid values, it is much harder for parents and others who interact with them to know how they are going to act and what they are going to do. This makes it very tough for their parents to have a good relationship with them and tougher to live with them.
It is a vicious circle. the child’s potentials and life- experiences led to insufficient development within his moral dimension. This may be because no one adequately taught him or because his learning problems or other life-experiences made it unusually difficult for him to learn value-related principles and concepts. Learning problems are not limited to books and school. They can negatively affect learning within each dimension of a child’s development and can cause problems in most any situation or circumstance.
The youngster’s developmental problems led to his being undependable and not trustworthy. Most everyone sees him this way and wants nothing to do with him. There is no payoff for him to work to keep relationships he does not have with people who do not like him anyway.
The child does not work to get better relationships since he does not have any experience telling him he can form satisfying relationships or having them is worth the effort. Consequently, he does not change; and people continue rejecting him. It gets worse as time goes on and as he gets older. Around and around the vicious circle goes for him.
If your child is experiencing these kinds of difficulties, you are well-advised to rely on logical and natural consequences. For example, instead of directly trying to correct his unacceptable behavior at school or in the community, let “the system” respond to his behavior. Your task is to be sure you are not minimizing the seriousness of the problem or interfering with others who are doing what is called for within the context of their responsibilities. Your child needs to experience the full consequences of his unacceptable behavior.
This approach works with a couple of exceptions. First, he typically thinks the consequences occurred because of bad luck and not because of his behavior. Taking responsibility is not his thing, so to speak. Second, you cannot let everyone reject your child. If you do, he may be permanently lost into the empty world of the socially and emotionally outcast. Hang in there with him, even though you neither like nor approve of his behavior.
As you find within yourself all the patience, faith, and hope you can, it will help to know this. Just maybe, he may come to value your relationship more than his unacceptable behavior. It is worth a try. Loving and caring for your child are at least as important as logic.
When you take your child to a specialist, and you will, two points need attention. First, serious behavior problems are usually best treated through a combination of evaluating the learning difficulties typically present and group counseling. Children with serious behavior problems normally do better in group treatment than in individual therapy. Second, family therapy or at least your serious involvement is necessary. Your youngster’s treatment will not be more than minimally successful without your participation.