Pressing the Pause Button

One of the skills from the Parents Plus Parenting programmes which parents say makes the biggest difference in their family life is learning how to ‘press the pause button’. Essentially pressing the pause button means committing to something different, rather than repeating a negative pattern. This is what John Sharry and Carol Fitzpatrick, the authors of the programme, have to say about it.

Pressing the pause button

When faced with an ongoing problem it is easy to get caught in a pattern of reacting the same way each time. Sometimes our reactions may not be helpful and can even make the problem worse. A good idea is to press the pause button to think of a better way of responding.

1. Press the pause button

Take a step back 

  • Take a step back from how you normally react, especially if you find yourself getting angry or negative.

Be calm and respectful

  • Although hard to do in the heat of the moment, it is important to remain calm. When you remain in control you show your child how you want him to behave.
  • Take a pause and a gentle breath if you find yourself getting annoyed.

2. ‘Tune in’ to what is happening

Why children misbehave

  • Children misbehave for a whole variety of reasons, such as looking for attention, expressing frustration or hurt, or wanting to take control.
  • Sometimes it can occur as part of a battle of wills or a power struggle between you and your child when you both want your own way.
  • Sometimes misbehaviour occurs in an ongoing situation such as a child feeling jealous of a younger sibling or because a child is struggling at school.
  • Children with special needs may act out more simply because they do not have the same level of language and attention as their peers, or because they find specific situations difficult, for example, when their routine changes. Take time to tune in to your child’s stage of development

Example – ‘Tuning in’ during a tantrum

Rather than reacting if your son starts to throw a tantrum, pause and tune in to understand what he might be feeling so you can decide the best way to respond.

  • If your child is tired maybe he needs you to soothe him and help him take a break
  • If he is upset and frustrated maybe he needs you to appreciate his feelings and distract him with something else
  • If he is angry and wants to get his own way maybe it is best not to give in to him, to ignore his protests and wait until he calms down
  • If you are feeling stressed maybe it is best to pull back for a minute yourself and take a few deep breaths before returning to deal with him

3. Make a plan

  • Think ahead and make a plan about how you will deal with this problem
  • What is the best way to respond? What has worked well in the past?

You can find more useful tips and information from Parents Plus here https://www.parentsplus.ie/parents/tips-and-information/

Here is a great article from the Irish Times about the Parents Plus programmes https://www.parentsplus.ie/news/parents-plus-programmes-are-devised-for-and-with-irish-parents/

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.

 

The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.

 

In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  

 

Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  

 

In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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