Friday, December 4, 2009
Managing a Meltdown
With all the excitement and stress of the holidays, it is prime time for children (and occasionally their parents) to have emotional meltdowns. What is the best way to handle it?
First, remember anger does no good for you or your child. Anger will only cause a bigger meltdown! To get a child calm, they must believe you are their ally....ready to help them meet their needs.
For young children: When a meltdown occurs, get down on the same level with your child so you can see eye to eye. Speak in a soft voice. Your demeanor will calm the child. In calm, reassuring words, ask them why they are upset. Then ask what you can do to help. When your child feels he is being understood, he will calm down. Let me give you an example.
Two children in a busy shopping mall are tired, crying and attracting attention. One mother, is embarrassed and demands the child stop crying immediately. The child knows that his feelings are not being heard and he continues to cry louder. The second mom sees that her child is genuinely upset. She focuses on the child, not on what others are thinking of her. She gently touches the child and asks, "What's wrong?" Then reassures "It's all right, I'm here. The mother's actions calm the child immediately.
Why does this work?
The mother is meeting the needs of her child. There is no threat to the child because he knows his mother's intention is to heal. The first mom is meeting her own needs. The second mom is meeting the needs of her child. When a child has this type of positive reaction from his parents over and over, the meltdowns happen less frequently. As a parent you are not only meeting your child's needs, but teaching them how to eventually calm themselves (by example)as they grow older.
For teenagers you handle the situation differently, but with the same goal in mind. Let's use the example of a teen battling with you over not wanting to attend an extended family Christmas party; instead, wanting to 'hang-out' with friends. Again first, remain stay calm. Let the child tell you why she does not want to go. Listen listen, listen and be understanding of her reasons. Ask and listen again to the details of what she and her friends plan to do. Then tell her every detail of the family party: who will be there, what will be going on, what food will be served, how long it will last. Express your love to her and how she will be missed if she chooses not to go. If you have shown a true understanding for your child's wants and needs, she will be more willing to negotiate with you. Maybe an hour at the family party and dad will drive her to meet up with her friends later. Teens are much more willing to agreeably join the family if they are not being forced.
The solution to meltdowns is to meet the needs of the child. This does not mean you are spoiling your child. Think how you feel when another adult listens and understands you. It gives you the confidence to move forward and accomplish the task at hand. Remember, when you meet the needs of your child, you are also strengthening the relationship.
The name of the book is
ParentFix by Maggie Stevens
Sold at The King's English, Frost Book and online at Amazon
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I must add a comment to Stacie's group of friends. You are loyal wonderful friends. I am glad she found you or you found her.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
If our goal in this life is to progress or improve, we must re-evaluate the "I don't wanna talk about it" issue. I believe strongly in the forces of good and evil. If we are not progressing forward,we are letting a negative behavior control us. Don't let that evil influence stop you from figuring out what you need to do to improve your life. Talk about it. Find someone you can safely talk to. Someone who will give you honest feedback. Do what you have to do to make yourself open to solving a problem. Stop thwarting your own progress by not talking!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Many of our adult children are living at home I believe because life is more difficult than it was for us. Most are not just graduating from college in four years, but working towards master's degrees. Jobs are not plentiful. Housing is expensive. With the divorce rate so high, I think many are taking their time to commit to another person. What our adult children need from their parents is love, support and respect. They need to know you have confidence in them. You must remember that your child is an adult and when you give them that respect, they will in turn, respect you.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I would like to recommend a book that should help with parenting and assist you to create your best self. The book, The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D. It is fantastic and it goes along with what I have been discussing in my blog. He states: "No problem can be solved until an individual assumes responsibility for solving it. When individuals blame someone else--a spouse, a child, a friend, a parent, an employer--or something else--bad influences, the schools, the government, racism, sexism, society, the 'system'-- for their problems, these problems persist. Nothing has been accomplished. By casting away their responsibility they may feel comfortable with themselves, but they have ceased to solve the problems of living, have ceased to grow spiritually, and have become dead weight for socity. They have cast their pain onto society. What we are and what we are not responsible for in this life is one of the greatest problems of human existence. For the entirety of our lives, we must continually assess and reassess where our responsiblities lie in the ever-changing course of events.
So I guess that means none of us are off the hook. (including me) We must always be questioning ourselves and continue working on that path to eternal perfection!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
On my mind today is a comment a dear friend made. "People are going to be upset with you for stating in your book, ParentFix, that parents are responsible for their kids behaviors." She is right. A lot of people don't want to believe that statement. I have had a few angry parenting workshops where moms would have strangled me if they could. It would be a lot easier as a parent to blame your child's friends for their negative behavior. Or blame the dealer for your child's addiction to drugs. Or the teacher for the lack of motivation at school. But my belief, along with many professionals, is that as parents we need to be continually observant of our kid's behaviors. From their behaviors, we can determine their needs. When we can help our children meet those needs, the negative behavior disappears. I believe strongly in this because I have had such success with it with my own kids. I also have seen many other parents thrilled with watching this principle work.
The beauty of this principle is that it is never too late to start. So don't waste your time being angry at me, give it a try!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
1. Too Much Control Control is a major problem in today’s
families. Control creates battles between parent and child and
causes an immeasurable breakdown in family communication.
If we are to be successful in our families, we need to find a
compromise with control. Control is so commonplace we often do
not recognize when it is being used on us, nor are we able to stop
ourselves when we inflict control upon our children. A good
definition of control: When you take away someone’s rights or
freedoms, you are using control. Parental control takes away our
children’s choices. Not only does control take away trust in the
parent/child relationship, but children will seldom ask for your
advice or respond to your requests. When the behavior your child
is exhibiting is rebellion, there is too much control in your home.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Q: I have read and loved your book. My only question is about discipline. I understand that it is unnecessary if I am doing the right things, but how should I react when say, my five year old kicks my three year old? I don't really know how to handle that. I explained that kicking is not okay and that it hurts people, but they are at each other's throats these days. What do I do?
A: What you are experiencing with your son is very normal and happens in every home. Even though it drives parents crazy, occasional fighting and teasing for kids is a form of play. Having said that, you don't want them to do it all the time. Here is how I would solve it. First, change your thought process when your children do something you think you should discipline them for. Most disciplines make the child mad at the parent and does not teach them how to change the behavior. Ask yourself why your 5 year old would want to kick the 3 year old? (If you can figure out the behavior, you can help him meet his needs and that will stop the bad behavior)
With kids this age lots of time they need more individualized attention. They can get kind of cranky when they feel they have to share you (or Christian) so they blame their siblings..thus the kicking. Doing this does takes time, but you will see an immediate change in your child's behavior and attitude towards their siblings. If you can spend time with them alone or make sure they get your undivided attention on a regular basis, it is amazing much more pleasant they become.
Another reason is they can be jealous of the younger sibling, especially if they younger child does everything right. Watch yourself and see if you are being more critical of the older one(which is easy) and then try finding ways to give them more praise.
It also might be that he is frustrated with something they can't accomplish so they will lash out at something or someone and usually the younger sibling takes the brunt of it. Try and observe what happens right before the kicking takes place and that should give you some idea why it is happening and how to solve it.
Sorry this is such a lengthy answer, but it is a process and once you start using it and have success it will come more naturally. The key comes in trying to understand the behavior. Your child doesn't understand why he is kicking. As you do this with your kids you are teaching them how to meet their own needs. As they get older, they will do it on their own naturally because you have done it with them. It goes along with Joseph Smith's statement of "teach them correct principles and they will govern themselves"
Monday, September 14, 2009
I have a lot more examples of bad behaviors and solutions in the Behavior Chapter (Chapter 5 pg.76) in my book ParentFix. Go to www.parentfix.com for more information
Saturday, September 12, 2009
When problems occur with our children, we sometimes ignore, hide or pretend they don't exist. Better to ask the question when you are nervous about your child's behavior. It is also good to find out that we all struggle with kid problems. I have found it is best to face them head on for a solution...rather than ignore and have them surface years later in a more difficult format! Here goes:
I am recently faced with a challenge my nine year old son has placed before me. He dared his 5 year old brother and his 4 year old cousin to take their clothes off and he thought it would be fun to take pictures of them (without thier clothes) with my brother's cell phone. I am not sure how to talk to him about it. I have talked with him several times about our bodies and private parts, and not letting anyone touch or see them. please help.
If it is an isolated incident, you can probably chalk it up to young boys inquisitiveness. I wouldn't be overly concerned. It gives you the opportunity to once again explain body parts and why it is not a good idea to expose yourself (or your brother) in pubic or in front of the camera. Explanations like this will need to occur often during the life of your child. Although I'm sure it is not something you look forward to, having open discussions with your child will strengthen your relationship. This is a teaching opportunity. Make sure you talk simply, anger free and with no punishments. Talk to him alone. Also, talk with your 5 year and explain this is not something that we do. And that our bodies are private, sacred and we don't touch each other. Assure them both that they should talk with you if anything like this ever happens to them. That you are there to protect them. Make sure to hug each boy and let them know you are not angry with them. You will have to apologize to your brother and assure him you have addressed the problem.
Now, if this is not an isolated incident, and has happened multiple times, this behavior may be a sign that your son has been abused or introduced to pornography. If that is the case, I would strongly recommend visiting with a child psychologist.
Please feel free to ask additional questions. I would like to know how things go.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
After spending a few days with my daughter in the bay area, I would like to pose the question "How much do you do for your child?" "How much is too much or not enough?" So many parents differ on their answers to this question. Many parents believe we do too much for their children. That we need to step out of their lives and let them do for themselves. I personally believe that what you do for your kids differ with each child. And what they need will change at different points in their lives. I try (and I am not perfect) to let the child be the deciding factor. When they need me they will ask for assistance. Or I have asked if I can help them in a situation. If they are stuck and need help, they will readily say yes. Consequentially, when they don't need help, they will state boldly that they can do it on their own and I am no longer needed. The later is the tougher of the two to accept. But accept it I must!