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But Then What Do I Do About My Child's Behavior?!

It’s one thing to understand that your child’s behavior is a communication of stress or anxiety. It’s quite another thing to know what to do when the “here we go again” moment strikes and the s*** starts hitting the fan!

Today I invite you to think about parenting skills as muscles that need to be built up over time in order to be strong and available when you need them. 


Here's today's Parenting Quick Tip...>> “As you build up parenting skills, you get stronger over time”<<

In order to be able to respond in the moment to an incident in progress, it requires building up your parenting muscles with these 3 skills. They will get stronger over time, the more you work them out.

1. Self regulation

2. Validation

3. Boundaries

Self-regulation: Practicing self regulation will put you in the best state to deal with whatever is happening. All the tools in your toolbox are no use if as soon as you get that here we go again feeling you just start kicking the toolbox instead of having the capacity to open it. Self-regulation frees you from being dependent on your child to calm down and be OK before you can be OK. Instead, it empowers you to be the anchor your child needs when the seas are stormy.

To be clear, I am not talking about perfection here! Even being 20% calmer and more regulated in an escalating situation will make you more able to make your best parenting choices and maintain loving connection with your child. (The additional benefit will be less guilt and regret about how you acted in the moment.)

Validation: When it comes to validation, I think what most of us, including your child, want is simply to be seen and heard. Validating what they’re feeling is absolutely not the same as giving them permission for their behavior. However, until they feel heard they can’t easily learn to communicate their needs with words instead of behavior. 

Boundaries: When it comes to teaching healthy boundaries, it is crucial that we take responsibility, as the parent, to be proactive about keeping everyone safe. Building your self-regulation muscle helps. Proactive intervention is much more effective than saying stop doing “X” 20 times Until your frustration gets the best of you! What proactive boundaries might look like if they’re hitting their sibling, for example, and they won’t stop even though they know they’re not supposed to hit, is this: “I see you’re angry but it’s not OK to hit your sister.” And then actively interrupt the situation in the moment and take responsibility for everyone’s safety. That means keeping the one being hit from getting hurt and also, importantly, the one hitting from feeling out of control and bad about themself.

Your child’s ability or inability to follow certain boundaries can be used as information to help you set realistic boundaries. You will help them develop resilience, self-esteem and internalize the values that you want them to have.

(For additional support with how to set expectations for your child or teen, that build self-esteem click the image below.)

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