I really do feel that today, most parents are doing the best they can and are genuinely baffled when their child isn’t doing the things that are asked of them without issue. Today I want to share with you the four steps I believe are beneficial to healthy, effective parenting skills when it comes to behavioral challenges in children.
Step One – Finding Available Resources
As a parent coach, I believe that finding a good coach is an excellent first step to gaining support and knowledge when it comes to handling children’s difficult behaviors. With coaching, you get helpful information and direction that is specific to your issues and challenges. You will receive resources and phenomenal one on one support. Several coaching organizations; including us here at Blissful Parenting offer free trial sessions. Take advantage of that and see if it is a good fit for you.
Although personal coaching it is a great option, it may not be one that is available to you for one reason or another. That is why it is good to note that there are also numerous books and websites that offer a wealth of valuable effective parenting strategies for dealing with behaviors and how to correct them.
If you are online there are a multitude of Facebook and online support groups devoted to supporting parents who are dealing with an array of challenges when it comes to effective parenting. In these groups, you will not only find new knowledge and skills to put into practice but you will find support and connection. Connecting with others that are struggling in the same way, helps parents to not feel so alone. You can converse with others on how you changed a behavior while gaining the necessary tips to help in your areas of struggle.
Another resource available to you and your family would be the community and school counselors. They can refer you to groups and connections right within your community that would be beneficial to your situation. Don’t forget you can reach out to your family doctor as well. If only to rule out medical reasons for behavioral changes. If needs be your doctor can refer you to a registered clinical counselor or psychologist who specializes in working with kids and their behavioral concerns.
Kits and Apps:
I have developed an anxiety management system for kids and families. It is called “The Closet Monster Battle Kit.” It is a box of goodies, props, game pieces and interesting devices designed to help parents and kids develop anxiety management skills. Feel free to visit http://sound-mind.ca/essentials-pack-closet-monster-battle-kit-online-parent-coaching-course for further information on how to get one for yourself.
Phone and or tablet apps are also a helpful option. There is an app that I really like called “Breathing Bubbles”. It is a calming down app that asks kids to identify how they feel. Kids can choose from a simple selection of feeling words. They then enter their problem or situation via the pop-up keyboard. Putting their upsets into a bubble that begins to slowly shrink down to nothing while they practice breathing deeply. There is also the option to enter a message of encouragement that will expand while they breathe deeply. Visually engaging kids in practicing an actual, helpful skill for calming themselves while letting go of their upset.
Spend quality time with your kids. Get outside, play, listen and adventure with them. Leave your phone on silent. Give them your full attention with no interruptions. There is nothing like spending time with each other to build up a healthy, strong relationship.
Step Two – Develop Active Listening Skills
Many of us, parents or not have never really developed the ability to really listen to one another. Some of you may know Dr. Stephen Covey and his statement of; “We don’t listen to understand. Instead, we listen to reply.” That is where a lot of us get stuck. We want to pass on the lessons we have learned to our children and so we end up lecturing them when they just need to be heard.
Kids want nothing more than to be heard and understood. Active listening is a beautiful life skill that we as parents need to show our children. Not only to make them feel heard but to also teach them how to be active listeners themselves. Active listening enriches relationships and is a huge step towards building strong bonds with each other. It will encourage their ability to keep talking to you through adolescence when a lot of them tend to shut down and right on into adulthood.
Step Three – Develop an Emotional Vocabulary
This is really an essential step that I always encourage parents to start in their child’s life as early as possible. It is never too late to begin. No matter the age of the children, today is a good day to start. I believe that being able to identify and express feelings appropriately is an important foundation for good mental health. Not only in childhood but throughout our lives, having the ability to clearly express how we feel will bring about peace within ourselves and those we interact with.
I would suggest running a Google search, checking your local library or looking to Amazon for suggestions on books you can read on this subject. Using the term “helping kids identify feelings” will bring a plethora of options to choose from. Ensure that you read the reviews because some books will be geared for particular age groups that might not pertain to what you need.
Step Four – Self Care
Another very important step that I feel gets left by the wayside is self-care. It is extremely important for parents to take the time and make the efforts to care for themselves. Whether it be as simple as a walk around the block, taking a relaxing bath, reading a book alone or having one on one with your partner or best friend. Know what you need and what works for you to calm, relax and reset yourself.
If you have a child with difficult behaviors it can be very easy to get stuck in that place of feeling lost, frustrated, hopeless, angry, anxious or a combination of those feelings. By not taking the time to care for ourselves physically and emotionally, we can actually end up contributing to the atmosphere of chaos and or despair and negativity in the home. Taking the time for yourself is not only healthy for you. It is also an excellent life skill to be modeled for your children.
Closing Thoughts –
In order to bring about changes to our families and ourselves, we need to first acknowledge that what we have been doing is not working. There is a certain amount of self-blame or shame that goes along with a having a child who acts out. Parents sometimes feel like they have somehow messed up. When it is really a matter of learning some new more effective parenting skills. There should be no judgment or self-criticism here. I believe we all do the best we can with the tools we have.
Acknowledgment of our shortcomings is the place where we can gain new ideas and learn new skills for effective parenting and building a deeper relationship with our kids. It may seem daunting at first. Time-consuming and even difficult; but if we want to see change, we have to be willing to make the changes. Arriving at the point of saying, “I need to do this. I am ready to make a change”, is the perfect starting point that will make it all possible.
One final thought to help motivate and inspire you to go on to the next steps. Realize you are not alone. Effective parenting is a tough job but there are supports out there for you. No one is here to judge you or grade you on your efforts. I really do believe in the old saying; “It takes a village to raise a child.” I would like to think that Blissful Parenting could be a part of your village. Give us a call and book your initial trial session with us. Learn some effective parenting, coping, self-management and problem-solving skills that you can then use and model for your children. Let us help you make a plan for how you would like to effectively and respectfully respond to your child’s behaviors. You can find us at www.blissfulparenting.com/talk-to-val.