Posts Tagged ‘child doesn’t listen’

Can you hear me now? What’s up when your child is acting out

February 19th, 2013

Your child tells their brother to stop hitting them, they aren’t listening, the fighting begins and someone ends up crying “mmmoooooommmmmm”,

Your teen asks if they can go on Facebook, you tell them no, and find them pretending to do homework while chatting with their friends online,

You told your daughter she has to watch her bother’s game and she spends the afternoon whining and complaining that she hates her bother,

Your child wants to go to McDonald’s on the way home from school and when you say no, he has a fit for 30 minutes,

Your child’s sister is on the computer/tv/phone, and it’s unfair. You hear about how wrong you are for the rest of the night,

Your child comes home from your ex’s house from a weekend visit and all of a sudden you are the “bad guy” for asking them about homework.

It seems like you can’t win, and  no matter what you do your child is upset or angry and once again they are yelling or arguing. Is there really such a thing as a peaceful home?

Here’s the scoop- all of our behaviors are an attempt to get our needs met, and each of us have different needs we are trying to meet. Some of us want more freedom, some want more control, some want to feel safe, some want to feel loved and understood, and some want more fun. Our needs are so very different, and when we are feeling like our needs are not being met, watch out- that’s when the negative behaviors arise. Depending upon who you are (and your life experience) you may shutdown or act out when you’re feeling like your your not being understood or your needs aren’t being met.

Often those negative behaviors are ways of communicating without the words- yelling, pouting, hitting, tantrums, are all ways of expressing, “can you hear me now?”

Not the best the ways to get your needs met, for sure.

So how can you help your child (spouse/partner) express their needs and feelings in a positive way?

CQ Playful Creative Activity:           

Bust out the art supplies! Help your child identify what’s important to them. Create images, words, collages of what they like, what is meaningful in their lives. Help them put words to what’s important. This will help you understand why they are so upset when their brother changes the channel when they are watching Sponge Bob. You can help by validating their feelings, “I know it’s important to you and you feel upset”.
Use art to explore choices, create images or a collage of things they can do when they are feeling upset. Help them to identify ways they can get their needs met, and if they aren’t able to get what they want, things that they can do to help them calm down. Sometimes knowing you are heard and that you have choices is a pretty powerful tool that can diffuse reactive behaviors.

Use art to encourage identifying and expressing feelings. Sometimes it’s hard to verbalize or even understand a painful experience. The use of art materials can provide a safe container for self-expression.

Are you in need of some more support to help your child? Join the International Parents & Professionals Community– We’ve got lots of resources, 24/7 access to information to help your child whenever you need it, a group of awesome community members, plus you”ll have access to the upcoming February Support Call “Egads, what do I do to help my attention deficit, impulsive (ADD/ADHD) child?”

Need more support for your child, or you’re looking for child or family art therapy in the Sarasota, Fl area? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Laura by clicking here.

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Are you suffering from TMI syndrome? (TMI: Too much information)

October 30th, 2012

Recently I’ve been hearing lots of parents talk about how much is too much information (TMI) when they are talking with their children. Often it’s difficult to understand what are healthy boundaries. There is a tendency for parent to over explain situations. I see this happening with young children, whereby a parent will offer a lengthy explanation to their child why they can’t have a snack right now. The parent often is providing way too much information and justification as the child melts down into tantrums.  This not only happens with toddlers, but I see it in teens and young adults too. Parents lovingly offer up lengthy reasons why their teen shouldn’t do something and the teen launches into their version of a teen tantrum with whining, eye rolling, and anger.

 

Yes, modeling personal boundaries is essential to developing a healthy sense of self in your child. They need to hear you say “no” and they need to learn how to cope with the feelings around not getting what they want. However, there are many ways to set boundaries. You can set a boundary using a brief (one-two sentences) reason why. If it’s reasonable, allow your child a different choice or an opportunity to come up with a different idea. If you are firm on your decision do not launch into TMI lecture mode, this gives your child a reason to default to tantrums.

Here’s how you can use this simple strategy with your kids tonight and see changes in how you communicate.

For example, your child wants a candy bar before dinner.

 

Too much information:

Instead of saying, “You can’t have a candy bar you know it’s dinner time, you are always wanting to eat something before supper, why don’t you do something else instead, like take the dog for a walk, or help me out in the kitchen…”

 

You could respond this way:

“No you can’t have a candy bar before dinner, you can have an apple or grapes instead”. (Do not say anything more. If they default to whining mode remind them ONE time of their choice and do not saying anything more)

 

For example, your pre-teen wants to go to a party with some friends.

 

Too much information:

Instead of saying, “You’re always asking me to go to these parties and I’m tired of hearing about how all your friends are doing it, because we are not your friend’s parents, they let them do what ever they want …”

 

 

You could respond this way:

“I don’t feel comfortable with you being at this party without knowing who will be there. So I need to talk to the parents before hand if you’d like to go.” (Do not say anything more. If they default to whining mode remind them ONE time of their choice and do not saying anything more)

 

For example, you and your spouse have been arguing in front of the children.

 

Too much information:

Instead of saying, “Your father is so annoying I can’t stand it when he acts like that, he’s always doing things to get me mad…”

 

 

You could respond this way:

“Your father and I have been not getting along recently and I am sorry you have had to hear us arguing. We are doing our best to communicate better and will try to be respectful of your feelings.”

 

When you master TMI you can use it in all sorts of situations without becoming upset and reactive, and you will teach your child healthy and respectful communication. Try it tonight and see how it works.

If you need some tools and additional support join the International Parents & Professionals Community and get instant access 24/7  to support resources and a great group of professionals and parents! Our November support call is “7 Creative Activities to Help Toddlers and Preschoolers Positively Identify and Express Their Emotions” Can’t wait to welcome you on the support call!

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3- Step “Super Secret” Formula to finally get your kids (and spouse) to listen

November 1st, 2011

Does your child have trouble listening to you? Are you feeling like a broken record, asking again and again for what you want, and feeling like you are being totally ignored? If you’ve asked for what you wanted and everyone in your household seems to ignore your request you’ll likely get to a point where you begin to wonder, “why isn’t this working, why aren’t they listening?”

You may begin to get to a boiling point, get mad, throw a fit,  threaten, just give in and take care of it yourself, or complain about all that you do for everyone in the house. What you’ll likely find is that when you reach your boiling point and react (or just take care of it yourself while silently resenting your family members), others may for a short period of time take notice.  Heck, you may even get your teen (or husband) to listen and pick-up their underwear off of the bedroom floor if you yell loudly enough, AND….

…you may be creating a pattern of negative behaviors to get your needs met. So your children and spouse continue to ignore your requests and pleas until you blow your top, then all of sudden they are listening,  responding quickly and wondering, “What’s up with mom ?”

We know that children model their parent’s behaviors, so the last thing you want to teach your child is that ignoring and then overreaching is a healthy way to communicate. The best way to teach your child to listen, respect your requests, and to communicate in healthy way is to learn how to communicate your wants and needs in a healthy manner first.

You can use creativity to get back into you parenting authority, and here’s a way you can do so. Create an image of something (or someone) that represent being empowered, strong, assertive, and clear. Take a minute to see what pops up for you. Now embody this! Wear it like a cloak and ground yourself in this image. When your child or spouse wants to “hook you into an argument” or they are ignoring your requests, connect with this empowering image before you respond. You’ll respond from a centered more calm place; then you can use the 3- Step “Super Secret” Formula to ask for what you need! You can take this exercise even further and create an image of this and put it in a place where you’ll see it often as visual reminder of being in your parenting power.

Drum roll please….I’m going to share with you my 3- Step “Super Secret” Formula to finally get your kids (and spouse) to listen.

  1. Validate your child’s feelings
  2. Use the assertive triangle to state how you feel and what you need. I teach that technique in the free audio-telesemiar  Secrets Your Kids Really Don’t Want You to Know: A Child Art Therapist Tells All (*except for the confidential stuff) and you can access in the box above.
  3. Be clear of consequences and follow-through

Here’s how it might sound. You come in to your teen’s room and it is a mess and you’ve ask them to clean it and they are on Facebook with their friends.

“I understand that Facebook and connecting with your friends is important to you and it’s upsetting to get off the computer when you want to be on it. When I walk into your room and it’s messy and I asked you to clean it I feel upset and disrespected. Please pick-up all the clothes off of the floor and put them in the hamper and remove the dishes from your room by 9:00 pm tonight. If you choose not to then you will not be able to use the computer tomorrow.”

DONE! This is no need to lecture, no need to yell, not need to threaten, you have clearly asserted you needs, set reasonable expectations and consequences and given your child a choice. So there is no need to go on and on and lecture them (doing so you’ll lose your parenting authority).

This must be done in a neutral tone being in your parenting authority, so your child does not hook you and get you to react! Embody that image you created and operate from this calm- empowered place and you’ll be modeling for your children and spouse how to listen respectfully.

Have you tried different ways to communicate, but your child or spouse is still not listening?  We can help!

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