Parenthood must be the most fulfilling work around the world. However, it is not always easy! There are many parenting challenges that each of us face. As a parent, you no doubt thought: My child really just said it The? Did my child really just do it? The? The best way to meet the challenges of parenting is often to try to understand your child’s behavior and help them solve problems effectively so that they can start managing their behavior themselves. Therefore I am very happy about it Dr. Sarah Hughes, a prominent child psychologist and a mother, share their down-to-earth, non-judgmental parent hacks on how to raise well-adapted children.
Dr. Sarah Hughes is the author of the brand new parent book. Parenthood made easy. I placed my partner Amazon link below so you can easily order it yourself. It is a practical guide to dealing with parenting challenges. It provides parents with steps and tools to understand and help their child. Parents learn the advantages and disadvantages of dealing with their child’s behavior and find effective solutions for the best opportunities to raise well-adapted children.
Corrections for parent problems -> Understand your child’s behavior and problem solving
How to raise well-adapted children
The following excerpt comes from Parenthood made easy – Simple, practical strategies for common challenges in childhood – by Dr. Sarah Hughes (Exisle Publishing, April 2020). Reprint here with exclusive permission. All rights reserved.
Teach your child to talk about their feelings
If your child cannot use words to share his or her feelings, he or she expresses them emotionally instead. Having the right words won’t necessarily stop all of your child’s tantrums, but it should help reduce his or her intensity and prevent your child from being overwhelmed by his emotions.
If your child shows signs of distress, stop what you are doing. Give them your full attention – not half your attention while multitasking, your full attention – and ask questions that will help you better understand why they feel frustrated and upset. Your child will be able to tell if you are going through the movements without any real interest. So try to be sincere in your desire for understanding. When your child starts speaking, listen, feel their need, and help them find the right words to describe how they feel. Younger children may find it difficult to speak with words about how they feel. So come in and help where you need to. “I wonder if you might feel upset because I said I can’t play with you now.” However, if your child starts to find his words, try asking more questions than you can answer. The ability to express feelings verbally without prompting helps your child develop the skills they need in the longer term, and your child needs the opportunity to practice. And no matter how ridiculous you find your child’s reaction, don’t be denied how it feels. It doesn’t help to laugh at your child or to illuminate their feelings. and if anything, it will probably get worse.
It will be tempting to find possible solutions to your child’s misery, isn’t it? The problem will be solved later, but is not the current goal. Before your child can think about possible solutions, they need to understand their feelings and have the headroom they need to feel heard and understood. If you keep jumping, you won’t get to your final destination faster – it will probably slow you down. Take the time to listen to your child and check how they feel before you start practicing other skills.
Help your child practice mindfulness
Mindfulness derives from ancient Buddhist practices, but has become quite popular in recent years, largely due to the extensive research that documents the benefits to mental and physical health. Mindfulness is theoretically simple enough: it is about consciously paying attention to the present moment, be it external aspects of your present moment (what you can see, hear, taste, touch or smell) or internal aspects (your physical sensations, thoughts and feelings) without judging these experiences. Easy, right? Except for the fact that our mind is slightly distracted and has a habit of focusing on everything but the children’s present and thoughts are no exception.
In theory, mindfulness can help us deal with frustration and need by focusing on the present. However, it is a fairly difficult skill to learn and like any skill that it requires to practice. It also requires sustained attention, which is why for most little ones it is not a skill that works. Children over the age of five can develop mindfulness skills through exercise, but most young children will find it difficult to be mindful for more than five to ten minutes, depending on the task. Avoid long, lengthy mindfulness practices with children under the age of eight.
Before you practice mindfulness with your child, help them understand what mindfulness is. Say something like:
Mindfulness is something we can do to feel better when we are sad, angry, or frustrated. You can practice it anywhere – all you need is your attention. If you want to practice mindfulness, all you have to do is stop and focus on what is happening in and around you. You can choose to pay attention to your breathing, how your body feels, what you can see or hear, what you can smell or feel – anything you like, as long as you focus on what’s going on.
Once your child has understood the general idea, start practicing. Try to practice a few times a week, but think about quality over quantity. Short, frequent practices are far more effective than less lengthy practices. And be patient. Mindfulness is a skill that even adults struggle with. Expect to have to schedule the hours before you see real results.
Help your child find a solution
Emotions affect not only how your child feels, but also how they think. When your child is upset and frustrated, their thinking is problem-oriented and it is difficult for them to keep an eye on things. Your hardship will lead them to think that everything is worse than it actually is and that they have no control over the situation. But the truth is that most problems can be solved, if only partially. Helping your child adopt this mindset can help them keep their emotions in check.
If your child is upset, logical thinking will be a challenge. So think about your approach. Timing is the key to your success. So don’t jump in too early with solutions and practical suggestions as this will only make the situation worse. Take the time to ask your child questions to better understand their need and how they feel. Once your child is relatively calm – and only then – work to help them adopt a solution-oriented mindset.
Younger children first need additional help to think about possible solutions. So introduce two or three and let your child choose which one they want to run with. Do not suggest more than two or three solutions or your child will feel overwhelmed and make sure the solutions you suggest are the ones you are happy with. If you forego the options you suggested when your child chooses the solution you don’t really want to choose, it won’t end well.
As your child grows older, build their problem-solving skills by encouraging them to think about their own solutions. This can be a challenge if your child is in need. Therefore, it may be a good first step to help your child practice problem-solving skills when they are in their green zone. If your child is faced with a problem that makes them better, write the details on a piece of paper and put that piece of paper in a large glass – your new problem glass (shoeboxes work just as well). When your child is calm later, open the problem glass and practice brainstorming solutions to any problems you have saved. Try to promote real-time problem solving when your child is more able to think about problem solving. Remember that timing is everything. So you need to assess whether problem-solving is a viable option based on your child’s level of stress, or whether you need to use other distraction-based strategies first, which will be if they are already in the red. As your child develops stronger problem-solving skills, they learn to adopt a solution-oriented mindset when they are upset, and the option of solutions helps them regulate their needs.
In order not to be a broken record, but as your child gets older, you should be aware of how often you step in with solutions instead of giving your child the opportunity to think for themselves. This may be effective in the short term as it shorts out their hardship, but it doesn’t help them develop skills to solve their own problems in the long run, which leaves them stuck in their cycle of breakdowns. If you want your child to learn to solve their own problems and manage their hardships independently, invest in teaching the skills they need.
Not all solutions that your child will find can be implemented particularly early. In this case, however, try not to be too discouraging. Feedback such as “Obviously it won’t work – try it at all?” Will undermine both your child’s trust and motivation to practice problem solving. Instead, try to reconcile the need for corrective feedback with positive feedback and praise.
Let’s say your child had a breakdown because you asked them to turn off the iPad and do their homework. You didn’t do it, so you took the iPad and now hell is going on.
Parent: (relying on every ounce of patience they have) I can see that you are really upset. What’s happening?
Child: You took the iPad away from me when I was overhauled a bit that I have never been able to get past.
Parent: (resists the urge to emphasize that this is not a big deal, and instead prioritizes understanding and empathy for effectiveness) Okay, you were excited to finally get over the piece you’re always stuck with, so it was a big deal for me to take the iPad away when I did. I understand why you are frustrated.
Child: (takes a deep breath)
Parent: (When she notices that her child’s frustration has apparently resolved, she decides to solve problems.) Okay, I haven’t touched anything yet. What should we do? You want to continue playing your game, but you also need to do your homework. What is a good solution?
Child: Can I quit my game now and do homework later?
Parent: (knowing that they need to reconcile constructive feedback with encouragement) I think it’s good that you found a solution, but I’m worried that if we leave it later, you’ll be too tired for homework. Is there any other solution we can try?
Child: I’m not sure.
Parent: (Resisting the urge to find a solution that deprives the child of practicing skills) They are good at finding solutions. Give yourself a minute or two to think.
Child: Maybe I can pause the game and if I do my homework now, can I have more iPad time afterwards? I don’t have a lot of homework.
Parent: Sounds like a good plan. Remember that the screens must disappear by 5:30 p.m. and it’s 4:15 p.m. Now you need to concentrate and get your spelling done quickly. Doing so will give you time for homework and more time for your game.
Of course, real children are never as compliant and reasonable as fictional ones, but you have a general idea of it. Familiarize yourself with your child’s misery, wait until it has subsided, and then encourage practicing problem-solving skills.
Thanks again to Dr. Sarah Hughes for sharing her expertise in solving parenting problems. You can find so much more great information in their new parent book!
I hope you found this post helpful in understanding your child’s behavior and helping your child practice Mindfulness and solve problem. These are skills that not only help reduce the challenges of parenting, but also serve them well for a lifetime.
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