What to Do When Your Kids Spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E

kids in trouble

Parents, are you equipped to deal with a child who spells trouble? All kids get into trouble at some point—that’s a given. Here are some common ways a child spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E and what you should do.

Throw tantrums:

  • When kids throw tantrums, the gut instinct is to react. How often have you seen the child screaming in the grocery store only to have the parent join in the yelling match? Instead, I encourage you to not react. That’s right: Don’t react. Instead, simply walk away from your child’s tantrum. Ignoring their drama tells them that tantrums are not an appropriate form of communication. They’ll quickly learn to express themselves in a calmer way.


  • Teenage rebellion has become quite the norm. It’s almost as if you’ve come to expect your teenager to rebel against your curfews, your dress standards, and your phone limitations. But, instead of casually brushing off your teen’s rebellion, it’s time to deal with it head on. As I discussed in my blog How to Handle Teenage Rebellion, you must understand that their rebellion is oftentimes rooted in a desire for attention. So be sure to praise your child every chance you get in order to avoid them seeking your attention in inappropriate ways later on. 

Order others around:

  • You know the bossy child: The child who never shares their toys, who pitches a fit when they’re not in control, and who always feels the need to order others around. Now there are two parts to dealing with your bossy child. First, you need to teach them to be selfless. This means showing them the importance of sharing, of putting others first, and of listening to others. Second, you need to support these early signs of leadership—with a slight tweak. Tell your child how proud you are of their desire to lead, but remind them that the best leaders are humble leaders.

Undermine Authority:

  • As kids move into their teen years, they often are more inclined to undermine authority. They’ll become quicker to make underhanded comments about their teacher to get a laugh from the class. They’ll gossip about their coach to seem cool in front of their friends. They may even complain about your family rules when they’re inconvenienced. To confront this growing issue of teens’ indifference toward authority, you must teach them how to be respectful. Be sure they understand that people in authority (like their teachers, coaches, and parents) deserve their respect no matter what.


  • Unfortunately, there are far too many outlets for bullying today. From physical bullying to emotional bullying to cyberbullying, the temptation for your kids to join in has only increased. But keeping your child from engaging in this dangerous activity begins at home. Creating a home environment of love, respect, and care will equip your child to love others well away from home.


  • Every child has told a lie at some point…some are more habitual. So how can you convey to your kids the importance of being truthful? Well, it begins with YOU. When you mess up or forget something important, be honest with your kids about your mistake and then ask for forgiveness. Demonstrating honesty, even in the tough times, is the best way for your kids to learn that honesty is the wisest decision. For more on the importance of being a good example to your kids, check out my blog 10 Ways Your Kids Are Watching You.


  • I’m sure you’re familiar with the excessive excuses of your kids: Let me just finish this game first. or Why make my bed if I’m just going to sleep in it tonight? or He started it! The list goes on and on. But the root of many excuses is one thing: laziness. So to help your kids avoid this, replace their laziness with responsibility. Each time they try to use an excuse, give them an opportunity to be helpful—such as an extra chore or project. Helping them see the result of their effort will teach them to be proud of their diligence.

What are some other ways your kids spell trouble and what do you do about it as a parent? Feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.