The way you talk to your kids is super important in managing behavior. It can mean the difference between a power struggle and your kid doing just what you want. Check out these two examples: (Which one do you think will get better results?)
You also need to remember manners. You are your child's first, greatest, and best teacher. Make sure you are showing her how you want her to behave. Use please and thank you and don't forget to watch your tone. Using manners is how we show that we respect our children and how we show our children how to respect us.
Be specific with your child. Don't use "Don't." Or Stop. Or Quit.
Make sure your child knows exactly what you mean when you give her a direction.
Check out these examples:
When you use words such as 'don't,' 'stop,' or 'quit,' you are tell her she can do anything but what you just said not to do. But, when you tell her what you want her to do, you are telling her exactly what to do. There's no room for interpretation here. When you say, "Walk," she doesn't here, "Skip" or "Jump." She hears "Walk."
Here are some phrases that can be lost in translation:
Be nice: Clarify what this looks like. Being nice can mean a lot of things. Make sure your child knows what you mean by 'be nice.'
Find something to do: Do you really want to leave that direction wide open? Give them more direction than that. Tell them what to do. Give them choices. Help them figure out what to do.
Wait till your father gets home!: What? Why? Consequences should be immediate and related to the behavior. And, it takes respect away from you when you relinquish that "power" to the other parent. If she does something that requires a consequence, give her one that relates to what she has done. Keep that respect. And, make her earn hers by following through on the directions that you give her.
Praise: Make sure you are praising your child. Use specific phrases that tell your child what was good about what she did.
"Wow, you worked so hard on that assignment."
"It's so helpful to me when you set the table."
"I bet your brother loves it when you play ball with him."
Sometimes we tend to tell our children when they are 'misbehaving.'
"Pick up your clothes."
If you never praise your child, all she'll hear from you will be negative scoldings. It's okay to tell her what not to do, but make sure you're telling her what she's doing that makes you proud.
Also, make sure your child hears you and understands your directions. Get her attention and make eye contact. Tell her exactly what you want and follow through. Soon the mutual respect will be seeping out the windows of your house, car, camper, or whatever you're living in that has windows!
I'm going to get a little technical today, but I'll do it first, just to get it out of the way. Antecedents. It's not a common word, but it is one that we've dealt with plenty of times, especially if we have misbehaving children. An antecedent is anything that happens before a behavior occurs. It could trigger a positive or negative behavior or nothing at all. Most of us call antecedents triggers. The only difference is that some antecedents won't trigger behavior.
But, I digress. Here are some examples of antecedents (triggers):
Antecedent #1: "Time for a snack," Mom yells. Kids come running to the table and sit for a snack.
Antecedent # 2: "No, it's not time for a snack," Mom tells them.
"I'm HUNGRY! I WANT A SNACK!" the kids yell while they cry.
Antecedent #3: "Are you hungry?" Mom asks.
"No, not really," the child answers.
We sometimes refer to antecedents as triggers because they trigger a behavior to happen.
Saying "no" may cause your child to tantrum. Taking a toy away may cause your child to cry. Going to a loud party may cause your child to withdraw. Giving your child a hug may cause her to relax and smile.
Sometimes triggers aren't obvious, such as when we go out in public and sights, sounds, and touches may cause the behavior to surface. Sometimes we don't see it because we aren't in the same room.
Once we do figure out what the trigger is, we can try to fix the situation. There are times when we can get rid of the trigger and try to ease into the situation so the trigger isn't as affecting. An example of this might be using a warning to let your child know she has five minutes left until it's time to leave.
Other times, we can't remove he trigger. People will say no; we will have to go to the store at some point; or we just can't control everything. That's when we need to help our children learn what to do when this happens.
Example: Mark always gets upset when he has to stop watching TV. Here are some suggestions.
Think about what triggers your child's challenging behavior. Is there anything you can do to prevent it? If not, how can you help your child deal with the situation when he doesn't like it?
If it helps, write down your thoughts and observations and see if you can find a pattern. Things aren't always as they seem! Join me next week :) Happy behaving!!
Sensory issues can cause many behavior challenges. Being overstimulated or having aversions to many things in the environment can cause children to over-react to simple tasks or activities.
Google says that 'sensory' is an adjective that means relating to sensation or the physical senses; transmitted or perceived by the senses. WebMD says that when a person has a sensory processing disorder (SPD), his brain has trouble receiving and responding to information from the senses. Mayo Clinic says that children who have problems tolerating or processing sensory information are affected in areas such as touch, balance, and hearing.
SPD is NOT a medical diagnosis. Some occupational therapists will incorporate sensory activities within their sessions. There are many names for SPD, varying forms of it, and some treatments implemented for it, such as Oral Tactile Technique (OTT), Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique (DPPT), as well as Tactile Defensiveness and 'sensory overload.' Although research has NOT shown any effectiveness in receiving sensory therapy, many children see benefits from participating.
Children who have been diagnosed as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) commonly experience sensory issues. But, any child can present with symptoms of a sensory challenge. Any parent who has a child with sensory processing difficulties can tell you that it is a daily frustration and struggle to help your child. They yell and have tantrums because things don't feel good. They avoid places and activities because it's too loud, too bright, or they worry about what they'll have to do their. Behavior due to sensory challenges is often seen as defiance.
When my son was younger, he would cry each time I cut his fingernails. He said it hurt even though I knew I wasn't doing anything that would hurt him. He hated having his hair washed; water on his face was a disaster. He didn't like his hands to be dirty especially with slimy things and I had to cut the tags out of all his clothes. For awhile, he would only wear 'soft pants,' (sweat pants, workout pants, etc.).
I finally was able to get an Occupational Therapy evaluation for him (mostly due to the fact that he also had many food aversions such as not eating any fruits or vegetables; not eating a cracker if it was broken; etc.). They recommended the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol (WBP).
I was skeptical at first, but after just a few times I almost cried with joy! I could cut his fingernails and wash his hair! And, he didn't even cry. I don't know why it worked but it did. It's been years now, and he is much better than he used to be. I only used the WBP for the recommended few weeks. We still struggle with aversions to food but it's better than it was.
If your child has a diagnosis, please follow your doctor's instructions. Work with your child's team of Occupational, Speech, and Physical Therapists. Learn as much as you can about the disorder and stay current on new approaches. Ask the therapists to teach you and watch them, so when they are gone, you can help your child. Find support groups where like-minded parents can share and listen to your challenges.
Other families try art therapy, music therapy, or even special diets. Find what works for your child. This could change at some point so stay aware of your child's behavior before and after the therapies.
Here are some things to look for:
If you have concerns about your child's sensory needs, please speak with your pediatrician or family doctor. It's important to find out what is causing these challenges and, if possible, have a professional team assisting you in treating your child.
Here are some activities that have worked in our house:
Disclaimer: I am NOT an OT, PT, or Doctor. I cannot give medical advice. This blog is about what works with my children and some other children. Only you and your doctor can decide what works best for your child and your family.
Please see mymundaneandmiraculouslife.com for more great information on sensory challenges.
Go to www.abcbehave.com and sign up for the weekly newsletter to find out more tricks and tips you can use to combat sensory challenges that cause unwanted behaviors.
We all know routines are important. How important? Well, we have routines at work, in classrooms, at the doctor's office, and at the grocery store. Even athletes have routines. If they are important enough for all these instances, then why don't we use them more at home?
Your kids come home from school and other than getting their homework done, is there anything else you expect of them? Do they just watch TV, go outside and play, or talk or text on the phone with a friend?
Leaving activities to a whim can open the door to conflict, fighting, and trouble-making (and whining and complaining about boredom,too). It doesn't always, but do you want to take that chance?
Children like knowing what to expect. Actually, I like knowing what to expect! It's calming and gives a sense of control.
It's easy to incorporate a routine. Just think about how you want your day to go and write it down. Do the kids have three hours between getting home and supper time? Fill it up with constructive activities: snacks, homework, outside time, TV, and setting the table. Write it down on a chart you can pick up from the dollar store. Now, everyone knows what to expect and everyone has their sh@*t done!
1. Involve the kids in creating the routines.
2. Make is visual: Pics, lists, and charts.
3. Make it work for everyone!
Check back next week: Next on the schedule: Sensory!