Why Popular Parenting Methods Don’t Work on Challenging Kids

Inside: As parents, we often feel the pressure to have perfectly behaved children. But the truth is, there is no standard for how kids should act. In the second episode of the Calm the Chaos Parenting Podcast, Jason and I break down why popular parenting methods may not be working for your child and how to overcome those challenges. We’re debunking the myth that there’s something wrong with your kid or that you’re a bad parent. Let us show you how to navigate tough situations with your child in a way that actually works!

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Do you ever feel like no matter how hard you try, nothing works for your kid? 

Do you have an out-of-the-box kiddo – one who not only doesn’t fit into a traditional mold but rejects it entirely? 

If so, my guess is that none of the parenting methods you’ve researched or been advised about seem to apply to them.

Most of the time, it can be incredibly frustrating and leave you feeling helpless and lost. It’s painfully isolating – especially when others seem to just stand by and judge from the sidelines.

Believe me, you’re not alone – countless families face the same problem. My family used to be where you are. 

But don’t worry, there is a path forward, and I am honored to help guide you through it. 

In fact, that is the entire purpose of the Calm the Chaos Parenting podcast.

In the second episode, my husband Jason and I break down why the popular parenting methods you may have tried have failed for your child.

We also discuss how to deal with your child’s challenging behaviors in a way that helps both you and your child, ultimately restoring not only your confidence as a parent but your relationship with your child. 

Your child’s behavior will never be “perfect,” – and being thrown advice from all sides, being told you need to “show them who’s in charge” or “get your kid checked out” or “try this hack” can be extremely stressful and leave you feeling defeated. 

Oftentimes, we see parents looking for cough drops when they need an antibiotic. Shift your focus away from the symptoms and put your attention on the deeper need. If you can solve the underlying issue (like an infection), the symptoms (like a cough) will go away.

That’s one of the problems we see when families try popular parenting methods…

Instead of focusing on trying to fix specific behaviors and getting your kids to listen to you, start by imagining what you want your relationships to look and feel like. How do you want your children to feel about you? How do you want to feel about them?

Together, let’s debunk the myth that you’re a bad parent or there’s something wrong with your kid just because they are struggling with behavior. 

Hop over and listen to the Calm the Chaos Podcast today!

Take this second step on your journey to create a family that works together and empowers each other.

Why “Old Way” Authoritarian Parenting Method Doesn’t Work

Authoritarian parenting was a thing back in the day – that was how most of us were raised. I was no exception.

If I ever dared to talk back to my mom, I’d have to go outside and get a switch. And if I ever got a bad grade, I’d have to get the paddle. (I mean, I actually stuffed my pants with books to cushion the blows!)

We all know the drill – kids were meant to be seen and not heard, and manners were everything. Adults were in charge and kids were meant to obey – no exceptions, not up for discussion. 

In the past, it made sense because society needed obedient and compliant factory workers and soldiers. So, parents raised their kids to fit into those roles (and to survive… literally).

But circumstances have changed, and that kind of parenting no longer works. 

Why? Because while fear is a great motivator, it is not a great teacher. 

Time outs, physical punishment, etc. – these tactics are led from fear. It demands blind compliance. 

I don’t know about you, but I want to parent with love, not fear. 

And these methods lead kids either into rebellion and fighting against any authority figure, or it turns them into a lesser, quieter version of themselves… afraid to have a voice and be heard. 

When they grow up, they become people pleasers who struggle to stand up for themselves, express their needs, and make good decisions. All they learn is to act out of fear, hide things, and lie.

And the deeper issue is that fear-based parenting methods are ultimately a quick fix

The core issues are never addressed – it doesn’t give children the basis for understanding why they’re doing what they’re doing. So when that barrier is removed (they no longer fear losing the sticker, or getting spanked, or whatever), kids are sent into full on rebellion mode, or they feel confused about how to meet expectations and how to meet their own needs. 

Even these days, some parents still claim that the “old way” is the right way because that’s how they were raised and that’s what’s familiar and comfortable (even when it perpetuates misery and challenges for generations). 

As humans, it’s natural for your brain to try to keep you comfortable and in the “known”. 

Many people have deep-rooted fears about finding a “new way” – that they might be rejecting their childhood, or offending their parents, or whatever other story gets spun in their minds. 

But we need to let go of that ego, attachment, or fear, and admit that it’s simply not working. 

I know you know this – Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this today. 

Parenting advice that starts with things like “Back in my day…” and “That’s how I was raised!” completely ignores the fundamental rule for progress – “know better, do better.” 

We know better. It’s time to do better.

And it’s not only those who are stuck in the authoritarian era. There are plenty of other parenting methods that leave parents feeling confused and disappointed!

For a long time, people have been sold on the idea that positive parenting is the ultimate fix for all parenting issues.

Positive Parenting, Gentle Parenting, etc. (Kind of) … 

Don’t get me wrong, these methods are pretty good, and they’re a refreshing departure from the old-school, “on high” style of parenting. You know, the whole conscious, respectful, gentle parenting thing – I’m sure we’ve all tried it at some point.

But the thing is, it never quite hits the mark. 

These methods can lack consistency, firmness, or compassion and can result in kids walking all over you (and everyone else). 

Or even worse, these methods teach kids how to smooth over conflict without actually learning the skills to solve problems, getting their needs met, having empathy, or learning to understand and express themselves. 

Take strategies that promote rewarding children for behaving according to expectations, for example. Sounds great, right? But in reality, it can backfire big time.

I like to describe these as the kind-but-firm approaches. 

They are likely to lead to kids suppressing their genuine feelings to please their parents or teachers and earn a reward. Instead of learning to express themselves and stand up for what they need, they learn to mold themselves to fit a certain narrative or standard. 

Imagine the lengths some kids will go to in order to get the reward. (Because they DO! Every single day.) 

Like the little girl who was sitting in the classroom with a broken arm, suppressing all that pain but staying silent just to score a point for the class. 

That’s a true story – and my kid

When we expect kids to squeeze themselves into the pretty little mold, whether it’s for a sticker or because they’re afraid of getting in trouble, they’re mastering the art of masking, people pleasing, and ignoring their own needs and wants. There is zero skill-building involved.

These methods also put a spotlight on the kids who are struggling, whose needs are not met, and lack the skills to meet expectations. 

It creates a large divide between who looks like a “good kid” and who looks like a “bad kid.”

Truly, there are so many dead-end, hamster-wheel parenting strategies.

Some of them jump ahead to “fix” a problem without understanding it or establishing the trust needed for your child to work with you… 

Others give you a piece of the puzzle but not the whole system for solving the problems (which is why they persist)…

Many of them are based on some fancy theories but don’t work in the real world…

Or they give you the “what” but leave out the “how”… 

Or… the list is almost endless. 

Build Your Harmonious Family Team

There are plenty of reasons why the approaches that you’ve tried haven’t worked. 

But you or your child are not the reason. It’s not your or your unique kid’s fault. 

I don’t even say that the Calm the Chaos System is “right”. What I can tell you is that it’s a holistic approach that combines the best practices from various fields. And it’s been proven to work time and time again. (Like… hundreds of thousands of times.) 

What’s our secret?

It’s all about creating a customized ecosystem in your own home where everyone feels safe to speak their minds and be themselves. 

Parents and siblings work together to come up with creative solutions that work for everyone, while also understanding each person’s individual needs. It’s about treating kids like a full fledged part of the team and embracing their contributions to the family. 

My mission with the Calm the Chaos System is to help parents create a family team that works together, understands each other, advocates for each other, and ultimately empowers each other to be themselves.

Join Us

Want to get tools to build your family team?

Check out our next episode, where Jason and I walk through the two parts of the Calm the Chaos System.

And in the meantime, don’t forget to check out the first two episodes of the Calm the Chaos Podcast (if you haven’t already) and remember: 

Even if you’ve tried everything under the sun to be a good parent to your challenging kid, and nothing seems to work – it’s NOT your fault. 

You just need to find what works for you. 

To get started, shift your focus by asking yourself, “How do I want to show up for my family?” 

And don’t forget, we’re better together.


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Calm the Chaos Parenting is a podcast offering parents practical tools and strategies to navigate the challenges of raising strong-willed, highly sensitive, and neurodivergent children.

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