Active Parenting: Developing Positive Emotional Responses in Your Child
In working with children at any age I feel that it is most important to have active parent involvement in providing therapy to their child. You are the most powerful, influential person in your child's life. How you respond to situations whether they are happy, mad or sad will likely be how your child responds to these emotions. As a parent you can make minor adjustments in your parenting style or response that can have
profound impacts on your child's life in a positive way.
There are times when a child needs to be seen individually for concerns related to depression, anxiety, anger and oppositional behaviors. However, I feel when dealing with a child's behavioral concerns, best outcomes result with active parent involvement in the therapeutic process.
Some things to think about when approaching parenting with your child:
If you respond to being frustrated by yelling and screaming, it is likely when your child becomes frustrated they will respond with yelling and screaming. Parents are the primary model for children's behaviors and reactions. You will notice this in positive ways when you see mannerisms that you recognize with your children, or the way they laugh at things that you also find funny.
It is important to recognize that your words have significant impact on your child's self-
Praising ten times for every one negative interaction is certainly a lofty goal and for some, one labeled praise for every one negative interaction is a step in the right direction. Parents with children who have a lot of behavior problems are typically communicating one positive interaction for every ten negative interactions.
Here are some steps to work on the number of negative interactions you are having:
This is especially important to recognize in children displaying anger symptoms. Anger in children is almost always directly related to pain/depression underneath. I like to use the analogy of an iceberg. 80 percent of an iceberg is under the water and 20 percent is on top. In relating this to anger the 20 percent we see on top are typically displayed through yelling, cussing, disrespectful behavior, property destruction, and even physical aggression. The 80 percent below makes up the bulk of the anger which is the underlying feelings that others don't see such as pain, depression and anxiety. By looking at the source of the underlying pain and getting the child to begin to externalize that in a safe environment, we begin to see the best outcomes for anger in children.
When dealing with your child's anger in the home, it is important to recognize the following:
When you, your child or both of you are escalated it is important to separate until the issue can be discussed calmly. If you engage your child when they are escalated and out of control, you are basically reinforcing them with your attention for being escalated and out of control.
Instead, wait until your child is calm and then engage them in the conversation while reinforcing them for their ability to calm down and remain calm. It is also amazing how conversations are much more productive when everyone is calm. I'm not saying that each issue needs to be discussed when your child is upset. If you told your child "no" and they are upset, it would best not to engage them and work on calming. If they are refusing to calm or having extended tantrums, more in depth interventions would be necessary.
As a parent I know it can be difficult to remain calm in all situations and to not feel anger towards our children at times. During times of anger or frustration, it is paramount that we remain calm and become a role model to show our children that even when we are angry, we take steps to calm down before discussions.
If I am always yelling or very intense in my interventions, they lose their impact when I really need them. If you are constantly yelling "NO" and "STOP" all day and you come across that one time when you really need it, perhaps the child running in the parking lot, it may not have the same level of impact as you would want it to have.
If your child has experienced trauma, it is important to recognize the impact this can have on behaviors. Much deeper parenting and therapeutic work may be necessary to address concerns related to trauma. Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Parent Child Interaction Therapy have good outcomes in working with children who have experienced trauma.
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How you respond to situations whether they are happy, mad or sad will likely be how your child responds to these emotions. As a parent you can make…
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3550 Watt Ave #181
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