Concerned Parents Against Drugs

You may have heard an excellent documentary on RTE 1 radio over the weekend looking back at the Concerned Parents Against Drugs campaign in Dublin’s inner city and in particular in the North East Inner City. We would encourage you to set aside 45 minutes or so to listen to the documentary. Sadie Grace who is CEO of the National Family Support Network took part in the programme as did Bernie Howard former management committee member of NFSN.

The documentary is called “We Say You Have To Go”  here is the link  https://www.rte.ie/radio1/doconone/2020/0702/1151050-we-say-you-have-to-go/

The National Family Support Network exists to support families dealing with substance abuse by a family member. The overall aim of the National Family Support Network is to improve the situation of families coping with substance misuse by developing, supporting and reinforcing the work of family support groups and regional family support networks, by working for positive change in policy and practice and by raising public awareness about the problem of substance misuse for families and communities.

What is family support?

Family Support can be offered on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting. The model of family support that the Network advocates is peer family support. This is where a number of people with a common problem, in our case living with drug use, come together to share their experiences.

The Benefits Of Family Support:

  • It interrupts the negative dynamic of drug use within the family
  • It helps family members look after their own needs
  • It helps families help the drug user to make constructive choices
  • It helps families to reinforce the work of the service agencies
  • It enables families to be a resource to their own communities

You can find out more about the NFSN here http://www.fsn.ie/

If you are living with the effects of substance abuse in your family you can find contact details for help and support here http://www.fsn.ie/directory-of-groups/#connaught-ulster

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/

 

 

Doctor warns of long-term effects of Covid 19 on young people

We know that the restrictions of recent months have been very difficult for young people whose social life is so important to them. Many young people have been absolute heroes, staying home, maintaining social distance when out, doing everything they can to protect those around them.

Now that things are opening up again we cannot afford to think that life is back to what it was before this all happened. We still need to be careful, to limit the number of people we are mixing with, to maintain social distancing, hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette and to wear face coverings in busy places.

Although the number of new cases of Coronavirus is now much lower we can see that many of those new cases are happening among young people. It can be difficult for us as parents to get our children to understand and accept the ongoing need for restrictions. Often young people see themselves as invincible, thinking either that they won’t get Covid or that if they do it won’t do them any harm. Here is an interview which was aired on Newstalk on 24th June which might help young adults to realise that Covid-19 is still a challenge and a threat to people – young and old – in Ireland.

A Dublin doctor is warning young people that they could be left with long-term effects if they contract COVID-19.

It comes after health officials warned that 76 of the 202 people diagnosed with the virus in the past two weeks were under the age of 35.

Sixteen of those cases involved children under 14-years-of-age.

On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Dublin GP Maitiú Ó Tuathail said all five of the patients he referred for testing yesterday were under 40-years-old.

He said increases in young people catching the virus are now “happening the world over.”

“They are the most social of all the groups so it stands to reason that we would see an increase in these numbers as lockdown has been, kind of, reversed,” he said.

He said the narrative that the virus only effects older people has led to younger people being too relaxed about guidelines on social distancing and face coverings.

“There has been a clear message throughout the pandemic that this is an illness that predominantly affects and kills people who are over the age of 65,” he said.

“Because that was the message that has gone out, those that are under 40 really feel like this is not a disease that affects them and what I am seeing in my practice is that that is not true.”

Post-viral fatigue syndrome

He said people under 40 are unlikely to end up in intensive care with the virus; however, they could face other long-term issues.

“I am seeing an increasing number of people that were 20 or 30 that got COVID-19 and were left with the effects of it,” he said.

“The most common one we are seeing at the moment is chronic fatigue. I have patients in their 20s and 30s that are now out of work for weeks with severe chronic fatigue because of COVID-19.

“So, it is not true that people under the age of 40 are completely immune. I am seeing people coming in with long-term effects from the virus.”

Loved ones

He said young people need to consider their older relatives when they are out and about.

“The real issue is that these people in their 20s and 30s have loved ones,” he said. “They have mothers, they have fathers and they are putting them at risk by the actions they are taking.

“There is a likelihood that you will spread the virus to a loved one who may end up in intensive care and may die and that is the message that needs to get out.”

Healthcare workers

Dr Ó Tuathail also said the INMO was not ‘far off the mark’ when it said Ireland had the world’s highest COVID-19 infection rate among healthcare workers.

“Anecdotally, I have had COVID-19, a lot of my colleagues who worked in hospitals have had COVID-19 and a disproportionally large number of nurses particularly in the nursing home sector had COVID-19

“We know in the nursing home sector, that was a mess. It was poorly managed there was an inadequate amount of PPE within the nursing home sector.”

 

Managing Anxiety in Children and Helping Them to Worry Less

The online talk ‘Managing anxiety in children and helping them to worry less’ by Dr Elizabeth McQuaid Senior Psychologist with the HSE on 8th July was so good that the plan is to run the event again! This free online event will happen on Wednesday 29th July 7.00 – 9.30pm. If you are interested in this event, you need to click the link  and register https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/managing-anxiety-in-children-and-helping-them-to-worry-less-tickets-113321026240

Issues covered will include:

  • What does anxiety look like in children and when is it a problem?
  • What helps and what doesn’t help?
  • Practical strategies and information to help you and your child.

The Donegal Child and Family Support Networks have plans for further events in the months ahead including

  • Managing Anxiety in Teens
  • Managing Anxiety in Children with Dyspraxia

 

Thinking of having a baby?

If you are thinking of having a baby then you can find lots of useful information on the MyChild.ie website Pregnancy section . Topics covered include:

  • Getting pregnant                               
  • Pregnancy health
  • Pregnancy related conditions
  • Stages of pregnancy
  • Preparing for birth
  • Partners and support persons
  • Twins and more
  • Pregnancy advice
  • Pregnancy loss
  • Pregnancy services

Just click the link to get to the website https://www2.hse.ie/pregnancy/

My Hero is You

Here is a wonderful e-book about how children can be heroes helping us all to stay safe and protect each other from getting Coronavirus.

Please note that these are international stories and some public health measures referenced may differ from measures currently in place in Ireland.

My Hero is You, a story developed for and by children around the world, offers a way for children and parents to think together about the questions the pandemic raises. The story is designed to be read by a parent, caregiver or teacher alongside a child or a small group of children. The story is also available in a range of languages here.

Here is the link to the story https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

 

https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

 

https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

 

Learning to read

All parents would like their children to become good readers. Yet parents are sometimes not too sure what they can do to help. Some parents, in their desire to develop their child’s literacy skills, may push too hard too early. Pushing a child who isn’t ready is usually counterproductive. The parent becomes more and more frustrated, while the child begins to associate learning to read with anxiety and failure.

On the other hand, other parents are so confused and intimidated by conflicting theories regarding the so-called “one right way” to teach reading that they decided to leave it entirely to the teacher and the school. In so doing, they unfortunately deprive their child of the unique learning environment which only the home can provide.

In determining reading readiness, it is essential to take one’s cue from the individual child. The child’s age alone is not an adequate indicator. Some children who are not yet ready to begin reading will be content to listen to a story being read or just look at the pictures.

The child who is ready will want you to identify words in her favorite books. When your child starts pushing you, rather than the other way around, it’s a good indicator that she is probably ready for reading.

How to foster a love of reading in the home: One of the best ways for parents to foster a love of
reading in all children is by reading stories aloud. Even after children have learned to read, they still enjoy having a story read to them. This should always be a fun activity —such as at bedtime—for both parent and child. Even in the daytime, a reading period should be limited to no more than 30 minutes at a time. As soon as the child shows signs of restlessness, it is best to stop and resume the reading at a later time.

Here are some suggestions that will help to make reading to your child at home more beneficial and enjoyable:
• Let your child have input—such as a particular interest or favourite author—in choosing the books to be read.
• Look over the material beforehand before reading it to your child.
• Choose a comfortable and relaxed setting.
• Let your child know the importance of this reading time together by eliminating distractions or interruptions, such as the phone, television or games.
• Read the book in a lively and animated manner, using a different tone of voice for the different characters in the story.
• Look frequently into your child’s eyes to maintain active interaction.
• Pause periodically to discuss what is happening in the story or to raise some questions. (“Is the little dog afraid?” “What do you think the girl should do next?”)
• Discontinue reading—until some later time—if your child appears bored or restless.

Other ways to stimulate your child’s interest in reading: Some parents put identifying labels on objects in the child’s room: bed, door, drawer, chair. Parents can also point out words on vegetable cans, cereal boxes, t-shirts, signs and billboards. The more a child becomes aware of the written word in everyday living, the more interested she will become in learning to read.

Using the public library: Parents can also make use of the children’s section at the local public library. This is a very good way to learn about an individual child’s special interests.

Connecting reading with writing: It is also a good practice to connect reading with writing. Help your child develop a story which you can write down. When you read it back to her, point to each word as you say it. After reading her own story to her a number of times, invite her to read it with you, helping her with the words she doesn’t recognize. It is best, at this stage, to ignore any errors she makes as this will only inhibit her desire to learn.

Finally, recognize and encourage her for the good job she’s done in writing—and reading—her very own Story!

 

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

Supporting your child’s emotional well-being on their return to Early Learning and Care

Here are some great tips for supporting your child’s emotional well-being as they return to childcare. These come from Barnardos and can be found on the Gov.ie website Let’s Get Ready – links below.

As Early Learning and Care settings reopen, you might be thinking about your child’s return to preschool, childminder or crèche. You may be looking forward to getting back to some kind of normality, but for your child the many weeks on pause will have become their new normal. There might be worries and concerns about the return to childcare and early learning. Many families have experienced and continue to experience stressful events and situations that may have been physically exhausting and emotionally draining on all members of the family. We know you want the best for your child. Below are some guidelines that may help you support your child through this important time.

Keep Calm

When parents are feeling anxious, children can notice this and begin to feel stressed too. Take the time to check in with yourself. How are you currently feeling about your child’s return to childcare? This may feel like quite a stressful time for many reasons. If these feelings are overwhelming, try pausing and taking a few deep breaths. If you can be mindful, and stay calm, you will be better able to remain connected to what your child’s needs are and be more able to respond to them. When you are calm you are more able to see the reasons behind your child’s behaviour and respond to the needs and feelings that are behind the behaviour. Ask yourself ‘What is my child feeling?’ and ‘What does my child need?’ Keep in tune with your own feelings and what you need too.

This is one simple exercise that you might find helpful:                                           

  • Pause
  • Focus on your breath
  • Breathe in slowly, right down into your tummy, then exhale completely
  • Take 5 more slow breaths, being aware of each breath in and each breath out

After several of these breaths, you will find that your heart rate has slowed down, your breathing is deeper and you feel calmer. It will relax your body and allow you to feel calmer and think more clearly. If possible, get support from your family and friends. Chat with other parents about how you and they are feeling. Try to keep up any hobbies or activities that bring you peace or that you enjoy. There are lots of great mindfulness resources and ideas on the internet that you might like to try. Having good, clear information and knowing what to expect can also help you to stay calm. You will find information and resources in the links at the end of this guide.

Communicate with your child

As their parent, you will know your child best and you are probably already aware of how they might cope with the return to preschool or crèche. Talk with your child about the plan to return and about the changes that will happen. Ask them about what they think and how they feel. Listen carefully and attentively to all they have to say and answer any questions they might have. If available, use photos of the setting and stories to help you talk about their return. Throughout the day, talk about the people from your child’s setting and the activities they enjoyed if they attended before. Join your child in play. Play helps children to make sense of what is happening in their world. Sometimes just watching their pretend play can give you an insight into how your child is feeling and what they are thinking about returning to their setting.

Communicate with your Provider and be prepared

Many children and adults find change stressful. However, as mentioned earlier, when we know what to expect, it can help to reduce this stress.

  • Talk with your childcare provider or childminder as there are likely to be new procedures in place to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
  • Ask questions about any changes that might impact on you and your child’s experiences, for example, new arrangements at drop-off time, reduced number of children and adults in the room, or changes to the room layout.
  • Help prepare your child by talking with them about these changes. Keep your voice calm and play out these new situations together in a relaxed and fun way.
  • If you and your child travel on public transport to get your childcare setting, it may be helpful to practice this journey so they become familiar with any changes such as passengers wearing facemasks or restricted seating.

Your provider or childminder will also be preparing for the return of children to the setting. To help them to support your child on their return, it is important that you share with them any information you think they should know. Tell them about what your child has been interested in during the last few weeks and what they’ve enjoyed playing with most. This will help the educators to provide some consistency, which can help reduce stress. Tell them about any stressful events in your child’s life, for example, the death of a grandparent, and discuss how your child has coped with being out of the setting and any ideas you have that will help them to settle back in. Remember, you know your own child best so keep communicating often with the educators, asking them how your child is getting on and letting them know what is happening for your child at home.

Keep to a Routine

A consistent daily routine is very important for children as it creates a sense of stability and predictability, and helps to reduce stress. This will be of particular importance when adjusting to the return to preschool or crèche. Consider ways to establish a new family routine that will work for you and your child as you move back to childcare. For example, set up a consistent time for getting up in the morning and going to bed at night. This may need to happen gradually if your child has become used to varied times. Ask the educators about the expected daily routine in the setting and share with them your child’s routine at home. This is particularly important for younger children as big changes to their normal routines are likely to lead to more discomfort and distress.

Be Understanding

Everyone has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in different ways. Young children are particularly vulnerable to the social and emotional effects of stressful situations in the lives of their families and communities, and rely on parents and caregivers to soothe and nurture them. When young children are overwhelmed by their big feelings, we typically see this show up in their behaviour. Your child might have separation anxiety and become distressed about being apart from you. They might appear withdrawn or angry, and they may also regress to a behaviour more typical of earlier stages in their development. These are normal responses to situations or events that children find stressful. Your child might not be able to put their feelings into words but it is important to reassure them that they are loved and help them to organise their feelings.

Signs of stress or trauma that you might see in your child’s behaviour and what you can do about it

Sleep difficulty (fear of falling asleep or staying asleep; nightmares)

  • Make sure there is a consistent and soothing bedtime routine (bath, reading books,
    dim light, cuddles and snuggling). Respond immediately to soothe your child if they
    have a nightmare.

Changes in how they eat (loss of appetite, refusing to eat, hoarding or hiding food)

  • Make sure meal times are calm and consistent, where the child is able to sit down
    at the table. Offer choices in foods. Don’t worry about any messiness.

Changes in toileting (constipation, stool holding, bed-wetting, ‘accidents’)

  • Reduce stress around toileting. Use books, games, or activities that are only for
    those times.
    Older children should go to the toilet regularly. Ensure that they have food that
    supports healthy digestion – fruits, vegetables, and grains for toddlers and older
    children.

Reappearance of behaviours common at an earlier age (bedwetting, thumb sucking, clinging to you, fear of strangers, baby talking)

  • Reassure your child that you are close and they are safe. Stay near. Tell them
    when you are leaving and when you will be back. If they are clingy, hold them for a
    little while longer. Encourage comfort items, like a teddy or blanket. Make sure
    there is a lot of sitting on your lap and spending time together. Encourage drawing
    or painting and pretend play as ways of expressing fears and emotions

Biting, kicking, tantrums, aggression

  • Provide safe and loving limits. Help give your young child the words to describe
    their emotions. ‘I see you are angry. You don’t want to come inside right now.’
    Redirect to a quiet area where they can calm down with you and organise their
    feelings. Read children’s books that help to show how to handle emotions.

Shows no emotion, no joy

  • Offer a hug and a sense of safety. Give your child your full attention as often as
    you can (for example, avoid being on your phone too much). Children learn by
    imitating adults. Even babies can mirror the mood of their parent. If you are having
    a lot of difficulty coping in these very difficult times, consider talking to your doctor
    about ways to support your own emotional health. You are not alone in this.

Difficulty concentrating, frustration, difficulty with changing activities

  • Reduce distractions. Set up a quiet area. Model how to calm yourself down when
    frustrated.
    Help your child to take some deep breaths – ‘In your mind, count “1, 2, 3” for each
    breath in and “1, 2, 3” for each breath out.’ Pause slightly at the end of each breath
    out.

 

Remember

Adjustment to change is a process that takes place over time. Your child’s first few days back to crèche, preschool or childminder might go really well. However, keep in mind that sometimes a child’s stress will not show until a week or so into the new schedule, so don’t be too surprised if you see signs of stress start to show later on. It is important that you plan for your child’s return to childcare and early learning to reduce the worry and anxieties for everyone involved and to help make it a positive experience. Be sure to include your child in conversations about making plans. Above all, be kind to yourself. You can only do the best you can in whatever situation you are in.

Ask for help

Talk to your child’s educator about any behaviour that is worrying you to get support and to work together on things you can try both at home and in the setting.

For more resources and ideas see https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/b9cfb-ready-with-resources/

You can also download the pdf of this article here https://www.barnardos.ie/media/7863/supporting-your-child-on-their-return-to-early-learning-and-care-final.pdf

 

Praise and criticism

It is amazing how the language we use can encourage our children. Here is an interesting piece from the Growing Child newsletter distributed by Lifestart

There are two ways to praise a child for something she has done. You can say, as you watch her finish her latest artwork, “Oh, what a lovely picture. It looks just like a sunset. You are a good artist.” Or you can say, “I like the way the colours drip together. You really used a lot of paint this time.”

When you say her painting is a lovely picture, perhaps the praise fails to match what the child has actually done. She has been experimenting with how it works. You say it is a sunset. She knows it isn’t, but she keeps that her little secret. She understands that her picture has to be something for you to like it, that practicing with paint isn’t worthy of praise. She knows she isn’t an artist—but she’ll go along to win your praise.

The second way to praise states the obvious: She has used a lot of paint, and you appreciate that. You like the way the colours drip together. What gives her pleasure gives you pleasure, too. Her experimenting with colour is an admired skill. She did it well. Praising her this way helps her to judge her work appropriately, to feel that what she actually does is valued by people who count.

There are two ways to criticize a child for something she has done. You can say, as her glass of milk spills onto the floor: “Look what you’ve done. You are so clumsy.” Or you can say, “You put your glass too close to the edge of the table. Now help me clean up this milk.” When you tell a child what she is—a clumsy person—you judge her. She is always clumsy, and will always be. But when you tell her exactly what she has done, she can judge her action as it really is. She can avoid spilling her milk like that next time.

No parent exasperated by mud tracks on the floor or stepped-on crayons in the rug, can resist saying “careless.” And most times, by the twentieth scribble, no long really interested, we say “beautiful” without a thought. But if parents can avoid for much of the time praise and criticism that judges the child herself, and instead judge the product or the action, a child will become more able to measure her behaviour, to pursue what she is good at, to work on what is difficult, to like herself the way she is.

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

Let’s Get Ready – preparing our children to move out into the world again

Here is some information from the Gov.ie sit Let’s Get Ready on helping our children get ready for the move back to childcare, pre-school or primary school which you may find useful. The Coronavirus shutdown has had a huge impact on all of us, adults and children. Our children may need some support to feel ready to move back out into the world.

Let’s Get Ready

The lives of young children changed suddenly when early learning and childcare services and schools closed in March in response to the COVID-19 emergency. As children prepare to return to early learning and childcare services or make the move to pre-school and school for the first time, parents can be assured that there are a number of actions they can take at home to support these important transitions.

Here are the topics covered – just click the link for more information

  • Ready to Reopen

Ready to Reopen

  • Ready for Pre-school

Ready for Pre-school

  • Ready for School

Ready for School

  • Ready to Play

Ready to Play

  • Ready for Everyone

Ready for Everyone

  • Ready with Resources

Ready with Resources

You can access the Let’s Get Ready website by clicking this link https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/1e8a3-lets-get-ready/

From Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Published at 5 June 2020

Last updated 3 July 2020

 

The many meanings of No

We can all get into the habit of saying No especially when we are tired or stressed but there are many times when better communication on our part helps our child understand and cooperate better. Here is a piece from The Growing Child newsletter distributed by Lifestart.

The many meanings of No

I just remembered a family story.
My sister-in-law overheard her young granddaughter asking her mother for a particular privilege. “We’ll see,” said her mother. Glumly the child turned away. “That means no,” she said, with resignation.

Kids and adults alike seem to spend a lot of time interpreting all the messages surrounding the word “No”. Said by a weary mother, it may signify that she can’t deal with another request at this point, not that the idea itself is unreasonable. When a distracted father says, “No”, he may mean that he doesn’t want to get involved right now, but go ask your mother—a way of passing the buck.

When another parent says “No”, it may mean that she is showing the child who is boss, exerting power for the sake of having the power—plus subconsciously enjoying being begged to then yield. And when a child hears “No”, it usually means a frustrating of their impulses and wishes that produces anger.

Many parents, I believe, worry about saying “No” to their children lest this anger from kids mean that parental popularity poll numbers will fall. They seem to think that “No” will convey a meaning of “I don’t love you”, instead of just meaning “No”.

No should just mean No. Since “No” is clearly a powerful word, parents should consider carefully the ways and means of using it. First and unapologetically, No’s are necessary in order to produce children who can respect limits and understand something about how to live in this world. Obviously saying “No” alone doesn’t do all that. Along with the prohibition must come some information about why it’s a “No” whether the reason is safety, family values and circumstances, developmental stage, or timing. (If there is no reason you can explain easily, then maybe you should consider whether the “No” is necessary.)

Because that’s another thing about No’s : such powerful words should be used judiciously and sparingly. I think some kids are quite justified in their frustration, if they are surrounded with No’s at every turn. Instead of a shower of No’s , parents should consider redirection— “You could throw the ball outside, instead of inside.” or “That road is unsafe for riding. How about you stay in the cul-de-sac?”

Parents could turn the question back to the child for reconsideration—“I can’t let you eat candy now. Can you think of something else you could choose for snack?” They could state a contingency— “I’m not free to drive you there now, but if you help me put the laundry away while I finish this email, you can go then.”And even when it’s a “No”, it is a clear, firm limit—“No”, I can’t let you go to her house today, I’m sorry.”

When you do have to say “No” be sure that your delivery indicates a solid limit, with a serious though kind face, a calm tone and authoritative body language. Any wishy-washiness on your part gives kids an invitation to wheedle and beg.

 

 

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Anxiety, big feelings, tantrums, sibling fights and more

Karen Young from the Hey Sigmund website provides some great insight and tips here into the big emotions and difficult behaviours which could be heightened at the moment

Facebook Live (During Isolation) – Anxiety, Big Feelings, Tantrums, Sibling Fights … and more.

Here are the themes Karen talks about and an indication where to find them on the video(The video’s privacy settings mean we cannot share it here but the link is below)

01:10   The ‘fight’ part of anxiety – tantrums, aggression, big feelings – why it happens and what to do.

04:20  Big feelings are a call for us to come closer (even when they don’t feel that way).

06:00  Why ‘little’ things can tip them over the edge, and how to respond.

09:25  When their anxiety triggers ours – when we fight with them instead of for them – why, and what to do.

10:50  The good news about self-regulation.

16:05  How to manage transitions.

18:10  Squabbling with your teen? This might help.

18:50  The opportunities that sit inside anxiety/anger/big feelings.

20:04  Adolescents, big feelings, regulation – what they need from us.

22:50  When big anxiety looks like big fight.

24:54  How it helps to ‘meet the energy with similar energy, but not similar anger’.

29:10  How mindfulness supports a long term strengthening of the brain against anxiety.

32:00  Dealing with other stressors on top of social isolation.

33:35  How to expand the capacity to cope with anxiety and stress.

35:15  When kids won’t talk about it.

35:25  Why some kids might be regressing at the moment (clinginess, asking for help when they haven’t needed it before).

40:00  Routines – how they help (and it’s okay if some slip).

42:17  Why does my teen hear me as ‘angry’ when I’m not?

46:37  How do we role model strength and calm when we’re feeling anxious ourselves?

49:50  Sleep – strategies to help with peaceful pillow time.

1:03:02  ‘Only children’ in social isolation.

1:05:31  Dealing with sibling squabbles

1:08:28  Social media and screen time.

Here is the link to the Hey Sigmund website and the video https://www.heysigmund.com/facebook-live-during-isolation-anxiety-big-feelings-tantrums-sibling-fights-and-more/