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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