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Parenting Tip

June 15, 2015

When a Child Tends to Badger

A badger is a burrowing animal with an amazing amount of persistence. Badgers have extraordinary physical strength and a tenacious approach to life’s challenges. Many children are like badgers when they can’t accept a “no” answer from their parents. These children badger parents in an attempt to reverse the decision. Children who badger usually have dominating personalities and confident persistence, challenging anyone who blocks their path.

When a child resorts to badgering, the goal is to wear the parent down in order to change the “no” answer to a “yes” answer. It’s amazing how many different ways a child can rephrase the same question, hoping that this time it will result in a different response. Badgering is very tiring for a parent and that’s probably why it works sometimes.

Children who use badgering tend to be self-focused and can’t see what their barrage of questions and comments is doing to relationships. Parents who experience this kind of tension may find it helpful to reflect their feelings in a gentle way, helping to develop the sensitivity that’s desperately needed. “I’m feeling uncomfortable with your question because I think I already answered it.” Or “I’m not sure how to respond here. I don’t want to talk about this subject anymore but you keep bringing it up.” Or, “I feel like you’re running over me with a truck. Let’s talk about something else before I get smashed to bits!”

These kinds of comments can help raise the awareness level for kids and help them see that they have crossed the socially appropriate line and are now sacrificing the relationship for their issue.

This tip comes from chapter five in the book, Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids, by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.

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