Posts Tagged ‘child problems’

Do You Rescue Your Child?

September 20th, 2011

How much support does your child need?

If you have a relationship of any kind, with a spouse, friend, parent, or child, then you have encountered someone else making a decision you would never dream of doing. There is pain seeing that person making a choice your know in your heart is just not the “right” decision for them. Ironically, the closer we are to the person, the more we believe we know what’s right for them, and often we will make comments or demands upon them, based upon our knowing what’s best.

We would never dream of telling our co-worker what they are wearing is wrong and they should change, yet it becomes almost a duty to be hypercritical about what our spouse or children are wearing or doing. Often when tasks that are delegated to those in the household are not completed, we jump in to do it.  Heaven forbid your child wear wrinkled clothes to school because they left their laundry on the floor.

Most parents who rescue fear what others might think or that things won’t get done exactly right, or if they don’t control the situation their child may fail or get hurt.  Most people rescue because they love those around them and they don’t want to see them hurt. However, rescuing sets up a whole new set of problems.  The person you rescue doesn’t get to learn from their actions.  They don’t learn how to self-correct, or make changes when they are off course, since they have had someone doing that for them.  They don’t learn how to overcome obstacles and when they do arise (and they always do) they are unprepared.  I’ve had many young adults in my office who just didn’t know how to handle tough stuff because their parents did it for them when they were growing up.

The question that most people ask is how do they know when to intervene.  The first question to ask, is it a safety issue? Meaning if you don’t intervene will someone get hurt physically?  If it is a safety issue, step in and set a boundary.  All other issues are not black and white. I love to challenging parents to talk out the choices and consequences with their children. For tasks such as homework and household chores personal accountability works wonders.  Have a neutral discussion (without getting emotional about the topic) and develop a contract to help identify what will be done and what are the consequences. Contracts do work, when they are done right, meaning they are respectful of each person’s needs and there is an incentive to change for both parties.

For things such as bullying at school or children who are having emotional problems a more supportive role is necessary.  Parents often step in too early and attempt to stop bullying, which may cause more social problems for their children.  Brainstorm with your child solutions, allow them to test some out before you become involved.  If things continue to be a problem and it becomes a psychological safety issue, there may be a need for more direct involvement.

Encourage your child to take part in choosing their consequences; if they have done something wrong, ask them to come up with the consequences. You’ll be amazed at how they will learn from this, with less tantrums and more personal accountability.

Here’s the important part to remember, those who rescue others become resentful.  They will do, and do, and do, and then finally get upset that everyone treats them disrespectfully and takes advantage of them.  Stop the cycle of rescuing so you don’t fall into this pattern, and you allow others an opportunity to learn.

Here’s a creative activity to help you identify times when you rescue.  Take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle.  On the left side write the word rescue and on the right side write the word support.  Fill in the page with images and words of times when you rescue (what you say and do) and what it might look like if you supported that person instead.

When you become aware of your tendencies to rescue then you can choose other ways you can support your child and other family members.  If you or your child is in need of more support we can help. Click here to schedule your complimentary support consultation.

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Need help with your child behaviors? Got back to school questions? What to do when your child acts out in public?

August 24th, 2011

Join me as we talk about all issues with children: sex after kids, getting your kids to behave, cyber-bullying, sexting, online predator worries, teaching your kids respect, single parent struggles, back to school stress tips, etc. If you have kid-related issues, be sure to ask them LIVE on Thursday at 2 eastern when I takeover YourTango Facebook Fan Page

Got questions about children and your relationships? Have your questions answered live by Dr. Laura Dessauer, Thursday, August 25th at https://www.facebook.com/YourTango

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Got An Out of Control Child? These 7 Tips Will Help Your Child

August 22nd, 2011

Are you worried about your child’s behaviors in public, are you tired of hearing negative comments about your child’s behaviors from family, friends, and teachers, does your stomach sink and you feel totally embarrassed when your child or teen starts to act out in public?

It seems rather crazy that restaurants, airlines, and public spaces would restrict children; isn’t that how children practice learning social expectations and rules? As an art therapist in private practice I see many families whose children have gotten out of control with their meltdowns and tantrums. These children act out in public spaces leaving parents feeling helpless, worried, and often walking on eggshells fearful of the next time their child will have an emotional outburst.

Here’s the thing, there may be something going on with your child that warrants additional support. Your child may have anxiety, explosive anger or mood disorder; or it may be something much more simple than that. It may be that your child has not learned ways to manage their behaviors and emotions.

Here are 7 tips to help your child manage their out of control behaviors.

1. You are the parent and your child is looking for you to set the rules and boundaries of what are acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. As a parent it’s your job to provide feedback to help your child become aware of their behaviors, and to offer your child support to help them connect and modify behaviors. Children learn from your actions and behaviors, so get crystal clear on what’s okay behavior and what is not.

2. Acknowledge their feelings. Often children are acting out because they are upset, bored, annoyed, nervous, mad, sad, excited, hungry, tired (among other feelings, needs, and wants). By identifying your child’s feelings and behaviors your child will become more aware of their own feeling, behaviors, and wants. For example a child who is clinging to you and interrupting you as you speak you can acknowledge their behaviors and feelings, “ I can tell you want my attention now, and what you have to say is very important, when I am done speaking then I can listen to what you have to say”.

3. Let your child know when they are acting inappropriately. When you notice the negative behaviors it’s time step in and let your child know what is expected. Be clear, direct, and assertive without becoming angry and aggressive. For example, “The sofa is not for jumping, please stop”.

4. Allow your child to self-correct. If it is not a safety issue give your child an opportunity to hear what you have requested. You may need to step closer, look into their eyes, put a hand on their shoulder, or meet them at eye level and state what it is that you want them to do, then give them a few seconds to process what is being requested.

5. If your child continues to act and disregard your request, it is time to step into your parenting authority. In a calm manner let your child know what the consequences of their behaviors will be if they do not stop. Do this is as calmly as possible. Recent studies in brain-based research suggest we mirror the emotional responses of those we are connecting with. Unconsciously (and at times consciously) children want you to be as upset as they are. By staying calm and in your parenting authority you unplug power struggles and help your child regulate their feelings and behaviors. By getting upset you fuel their emotional outbursts further.

6. Consequences need to be immediate and meaningful, and you need to follow-though. Here’s the tricky part for most parents, they may become so upset at their child’s behaviors that they make a threat that is unrealistic, like taking away the TV for a month. Then when parents are calm they realize it may be difficult to monitor the consequence, and they decide to lessen the consequences or never follow-through. Children are very aware and learn by your behaviors. When you do not follow-through on consequences they realize that your consequences are not to be taken seriously, and they disregard your requests.

7. If your child needs more support in helping them to change their behaviors then you can help by developing a positive rewards system for younger children and a behavior contract for tweens and teens. I have witnessed children make dramatic transformations in their behaviors with these strategies, and I‘ve seen these strategies flop. What makes these behavior agreements work is when parents and children both are invested and the goals are realistic and achievable.

I recommend these 7 tips to the families I work with and support them to create their own individualized strategies to best support their child to get back in control of their behaviors. If you are concerned about your child’s behaviors try these strategies and if your child continues to struggle, seek out support.

If you would like more tools and strategies to help your child join me, Dr. Laura Dessauer (the Creativity Queen), on the YourTango Facebook Fan Page Thursday, Aug 25th at 2:00pm EST. I’ll be taking over the page and answering your questions to best help your child. We’ll be talking about heading back to school, bad behaviors, tantrums, shutdowns and meltdowns, what to do if you have a child when needs extra support and lots more. I’m looking forward to sharing valuable insider tools that will help your child and family positively communicate and connect!

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How to help your child (and yourself) when problems arise

July 21st, 2011

I had an amazing and inspiring story told to me and I wanted to share it with you. If you have ever experienced a challenge or a setback you may have found yourself overwhelmed and confused. As a parent if you have seen your child encounter an obstacle you may have watched as they fell part emotionally trying to figure it out. We all deal with things in a different way; there is no right (or wrong) way to feel when we encounter adversity, however we have a choice what to do in these situations. A mom I know shared with me her daughter’s story and they gave me permission to share it with you.

The mom noted her daughter, “had a huge bombshell yesterday morning, and will be resolving the issue over the next week.  The college she was attending didn’t announce which majors they were dropping until yesterday, and she found out that hers is being dropped.  She would have 2 years to complete it, but that can’t be done.  She had it all mapped out already, and knows that she needs 5 semesters.  At first she was pretty upset, but she rebounded quickly.  Her choice is changing her major or transferring.  There are less than 100 schools that offer the major in the country, and all would be quite costly.  Within a few hours she found a related major that should work with what she already has taken, and will let her pursue the same field.  Her last comment was that maybe it will actually open more doors that I don’t even know about yet”.  The mom remarked, “I was amazed at the resiliency she had, because she has been so focused in her studies”!

What can we all learn from this remarkable story of graceful resilience? That we all encounter obstacles in life and we are the ones who choose what we decide to do with our experiences. As parents you can allow your child to learn and grow from their experiences. Protecting them from scrapes and tears will not serve them in the long run and sometimes adversity shows us just how remarkable we truly are!

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Help Your Child Communicate :Tips for Positive Communication for Busy Families

June 17th, 2011

Is your family swamped by too many things on the to do list, leaving little time for deep connections with those in your family? Maybe you’ve seen your child become upset and overwhelmed, but you’re so depleted and rushed there is little time to understand what your child is really feeling? If children do not feel heard and validated they will express their feelings in other unhealthy ways, leading to possible behavior and emotional problems. That means your child may have tantrums, act out, shutdown, or meltdown as an attempt to express their needs. Healthy communication is essential in all relationships and these three tips will help your child positively communicate.

So what’s a busy parent to do? STOP, LISTEN, and VALIDATE (kinda like stop, drop and roll).

1. When your child is starting to become upset, they give signals. As a parent you know that they are getting upset, and sometimes you’ve got to go and can’t always attend to what they are feeling. However, if you take a few seconds and STOP you can shift the reactive response that is brewing within your child. It takes more time to try to get your child back on track after they have a meltdown than it does to STOP. Stopping allows you to step into your parenting power so you’re not responding from a reactive frazzled state. Stopping allows your child an opportunity to self-regulate, so they can learn how to get back in control of their behaviors. Stopping allows you to be present, loving, and open to hearing and seeing what’s really happening with your child; so you can help them express their feelings and they learn other ways to communicate, rather than being reactive.

2. When you stop you can be fully present to LISTEN and hear what their needs are. They may need to express thoughts and feelings that are not related to what’s on your agenda. When you model being flexible your child will also learn flexibility. You have to decide what’s important: is it teaching your child a positive way to communicate their needs or is it that they learn how to “jump to it” and be on time so that others are not upset? I know this is a polarized example, but I want you to think about what you are emphasizing as important values for your child. Listening and really hearing your child takes only a few minutes, yet the importance of this leads to health sense of self, learning positive communication skills, and respect (which all parents want their child to learn).

3. VALIDATING means you recognize what your child may be feeling and thinking. It’s not necessary to problem solve for them, tell them what is wrong or bad, or that you don’t condone what they are saying. It just means that you get their point of view and deeply understand their feelings. When kids are being reactive they are operating from FEAR and CONTROL. Validating their feelings allows a child to feel emotionally safer and acts as a re-set button on their feelings. When you give your child your full attention and validate their feelings, they feel understood (which often reduced meltdowns and tantrums).

Here’s a creative activity to help your child through this process. If you notice your child is about to lose control of their feelings ask them to tell you what they are feeling. If they are unable to do so or they are overwhelmed ask them to go to a quite place and make a picture of what that feeling looks like, such as, Can you make a picture of how mad you are? If your child chooses to share the picture with you do not make corrections or tell them they shouldn’t feel that way. Listen to them and validate their feelings.

Model this and your child will have a set of skills that will lead to life long success!

Are you in need of support to help your child manage their behaviors and feelings? We can help! Click here to schedule your Complementary Child Support Consultation>>www.thecreativityqueen.com/schedule

This article has appeared in YourTango

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