Dr. Lynne Kenney and social worker Wendy Young created a simple parenting book with sound advice entitled, Bloom. 50 Things to Say, Think, and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids. It's easy to read and not watered down with a lot of anecdotal fluff. Although there are no original ideas, it provides a nice overview of what most therapists are recommending to address behavioral problems. If you want quick parenting advice that is easy to understand, look no further.
Messy room? Try helping your child visualize what a clean room will look like. Then break the task down into chunks. Have your child imagine what it will look like clean and how he or she will feel when the task is accomplished. Pictures can be helpful.
Sassy attitude? Non-verbal communication is more powerful than words, so pay close attention to your own non-verbal communication. Many parents are unaware of their own eye-rolling or frustrated faces. We cannot expect our children to choose behaviors we do not model ourselves. Kids may also imitate the behavior of other family members.The first step in softening sassy behavior is to create a family culture of kindness. Although it takes time to change the tone in the home, it is well worth it. Next, think about what your child is trying to say. Is he sad, feeling powerless, lonely, misunderstood, or angry? Encourage your child to articulate her emotion in appropriate ways and help her get her needs met.
Busy Body? Do you have a child who always seems to be on the move or squirming around? Kids are wiggly for a variety of reasons, including sensory overstimulation, hearing issues, vision problems, or Attention Deficit Disorder. Finding out why your child is fidgety requires some detective work. Notice your child. Ask him questions about why he moves. Seek out a professional assessment by a psychologist, occupational therapist, or pediatrician, if needed. Often children's nervous systems are just catching up on development and some people just think better when they move. Rather than asking your child to stop, help him find appropriate ways to work out his busy body.
After reading Bloom, I feel reminded of how to be a calm, logical parent. It was a good check-in for me, because parenting is a never ending task of self-discovery and self-mastery. Do you need a parenting refresher or reminder? Go to your source of parenting advice for an update. It may surprise you how much more efficient or peaceful your parenting can be.
Stephanie Patterson, M.S., LMFT
Downtown SLO and Atascadero