Teaching Good Behaviour

Sometimes we can be frustrated with our child’s behaviour, wondering why they can’t do what we expect them to do. Here in this extract from the Parents Plus Early Years Parenting Programme the authors John Sharry, Grainne Hampson and Mary Fanning help us to see that maybe our children aren’t actually misbehaving, they just haven’t learned the skills they need to behave the way we would like.

You can also find more resources from Parents Plus on https://www.parentsplus.ie/parents/

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Problem Solving and Talking Through Problems

The biggest problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges when parenting teenagers is taking the time  to listen properly. It is easy to jump in with our opinions, our solutions. That often just escalates an already difficult situation. Here are some ideas from John Sharry and Carol Fitzpatrick at Parents Plus from their Adolescent Parenting programme.

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Nursery Rhymes

Do you remember the nursery rhymes you learned as a child? Do you know that as well as being fun, nursery rhymes are a great way to build our children’s language and literacy? Here are the words of lots of the favourite nursery rhymes, from the Early Childhood Ireland website.

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Helping children learn independence

How do we help our children grow in independence? Here are some tips from The Growing Child newsletter distributed by Lifestart

Even though the world may be full of real and imagined dangers, parents need to look for ways to help prepare and train children for the task of growing up and becoming independent.
• Boost self-confidence. Even toddlers can make decisions. Let a small child choose between two shirts she’ll wear that day.
• Praise efforts and accomplishments, no matter how small.
• Talk regularly with her and really listen. Be interested no matter what she says.
• Teach her traffic safety by taking walks and letting her tell you when and where it is safe to walk.
• It is not enough to tell your child to never talk with strangers. If she can’t talk to strangers, how
can she grow up able to deal with all the normal and good contacts that come each day. Tell her instead that you must always know where she is, and that she must never go anywhere with a stranger.
• Teach her her full name, address, telephone number, and a relative’s full name.

 

The GROWING TOGETHER NEWSLETTER is issued by; GROWING CHILD Inc., and is distributed free, courtesy of: THE LIFESTART FOUNDATION, 2, Springrowth House, Balliniska Rd., Springtown Ind. Estate, L’Derry BT48 OGG Tel: 028 71365363. E-mail: headoffice@lifestartfoundation.org Website: www.lifestartfoundation.org

Becoming an Empowered Parent

We frequently share Karen Young’s posts and articles from the Hey Sigmund website. If you find them interesting and helpful you might be interested in this free online series with Karen Young and other parenting experts who are committed to a very tuned-in, positive style of parenting. The series is called Becoming an Empowered Parent and here is what Karen Young has to say about it.

“Imagine raising the kind of person you’d actually want to know and spend time with? Thankfully, it’s possible. Join me, and 29 of the world’s leading parenting experts, as I am interviewed by Debbie Zeichner, Parent Coach and host of the “Becoming an Empowered Parent” online series, where we discuss expert, research-based tools and practical strategies for raising kind, compassionate, confident and emotionally healthy kids and teens who thrive. Learn how to reduce stress, overwhelm, guilt and frustration, so you can ‘show up’ as the conscious, empowered parent you and your children need and deserve. Parenting is hard! Thankfully, you don’t have to go through it alone.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn from the biggest influencers and top-rated experts in the parenting field. All interviews are pre-recorded, so you can watch or listen at your convenience.

Gain FREE access to this exciting and inspiring virtual series. Register through this link –

https://becominganempoweredparent.com/

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/

How do I ‘tune in’ to my child?

The Parents Plus Early Years parenting programme puts a lot of emphasis on ‘tuning in’ to your child. And indeed it’s not just in the early years that this is necessary. Right through our children’s lives it is important that we tune in to them, understand how they see the world and so get a better understanding of the way our children are behaving.

This is what John Sharry, Grainne Hampson and Mary Fanning, the writers of the Early Years programme have to say.

‘Tuning in’ to your children

Responsive parents are ‘tuned in’ and connected to their children. They are able to step into their children’s shoes and see the world as they see it. This is the best way for parents to enjoy their children and feel close to them. It also helps children learn, build confidence and is the best way to start solving problems.

‘Tune in’ to your child’s stage of development

Children develop at different rates depending on their age, their strengths and any special needs they may have. To be a responsive parent, take time to understand your child’s stage of development. For example:

  • What level of language does your child understand? (gestures, one or two word phrases, full sentences)
  • How is your child developing socially?
  • What tasks can your child do well?
  • What tasks are difficult for your child?

How to ‘tune in’ to your child

Set aside a regular playtime 

For children aged up to six years, 10 – 15 minute play with them every day can make a real difference. Build a daily routine around playtime, for example, just after dinner or before bedtime.

Watch your child at play

Notice how your child likes to play. What interests them? How do they play and how do they feel?

Get down to their level

Get down on the floor with your child to join them in play. Find a comfortable position where you face each other. This helps you make good eye contact and lets you see how your child responds.

Follow your child’s ideas and interests

Let your child choose the game and how to play it. Notice what interests your child and respond to this.

‘Tune in’ during everyday activities

Notice and listen to your child at other times during the day, for example, while eating breakfast, getting dressed, travelling on the bus together, and walking to preschool.

Your child is an individual

Every child is an individual and different from every other. Each unique child has their own particular things they find easy and difficult. They have their own likes and dislikes and their own personality. Watching your child at play is a good way to notice their individuality.

Some questions to help you ‘tune in’ to your child. Maybe make some time to tune in to your child every day for a week and then think about these:
  1. What does your child like to play with? What are their favourite toys and games?
  2. When do you play with your child? What games and toys do you both enjoy together?
  3. What level of language does your child understand (pre-verbal gestures, one-word or two-word sentences, full sentences)?
  4. How does your child communicate with you?
  5. What tasks can your child do well?
  6. What tasks are more difficult for them?
  7. How does your child like to be comforted when they are upset?
  8. What does your child do when they are really happy?

 

You can find out more about the Parents Plus parenting programmes plus tips and resources here https://www.parentsplus.ie/parents/