Sunday, 6 October 2013

When bad behaviour is more than “She’s just a kid, she’ll grow out of it.”

Difficult behaviour and discipline is something all parents and carers have to deal with on a daily basis. I was brought up the traditional way. Time-outs, any occasional pat on the bottom (which is very old fashioned and unnecessary) and most importantly- no meant NO! But my brother and I were typical kids, and we responded in the typical way- all and all it worked.
So what happens when you have a child who doesn’t respond in a typical way? Over the years I’ve worked with kids who simply just don’t respond to time-outs, getting toys or treats taken away or even the threat of these consequences. There are many different types of kids that will need extra support with their social and emotion needs- Kids with Autism, Down Syndrome, Psychological Issues, ADHD (to name a few).
As we all know, not one child is the same, so when it comes down to discipline, you may have to get creative and step out of the box to connect and support children who have extra social and emotional needs. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in discipline, but these adults that think they shouldn’t tell their children “No”, are (sorry to say) just crazy - (YES, I have worked for such a family, and let me tell you it didn’t work and I didn’t stay long)! As adults we live in a world of rules and it’s our job to help guild children to understand these rules. I love what Janae B. Weinhold wrote in her article, Time-In Techniques That Support Children’s Social & Emotional Needs about the role of an adult:
 The most important thing for adults to remember in these situations is that emotionally upset children have some problem that they are not able to resolve themselves and that they need adults to both help them identify the problem and to help them fix it.”

My top 3 alternative techniques:
STOP focusing on the negative behaviour! Yes I know- easier said than done! But why are we focused on all the bad that we don’t want and not the good we do want.
Having a reward system that is only effected by good behaviour will allow your child to focus on the good things- this means not taking away “tokens” when bad behaviour has occurred, but simply not getting a “token” at the end of the day when bad behaviour has occurred. You might have to set up a chart of 5 (or so) key behavioural issues and at the end of the day if ALL have been checked of your child receives their “token”.
BIG KEY(S): Finding something THEY care about or are interested in. DON’T do a sticker chart, if your kid doesn’t care about how many stickers they have at the end of the week! Secondly, make it achievable. There’s no point if you set the bar to high, your child will get even more frustrated and the bad behaviour will continue. Thirdly, remember a child doesn’t have the same concept of time as we do. Setting up a chart with clear times (i.e. morning, school, afternoon & bed time) and days of the week will help a child see their behaviour over a long (for them) period of time.
Janae B. Weinhold outlines several varieties of time-in that can be used with young children of different ages and emotional stages. I’ve worked with a little boy who needed extra social and emotional support and some days this time-intechnique was the ONLY way to calm him down and have a discussion about his behaviour.

It has more of an effect than you think! I’m not going to go too much into this because, a LOT of parents and cares aren’t prepared to take on this challenge with their kids, which is what would have to happen for success. But here are some top articles on the impact of diet on a child’s behaviour:
All child need discipline and the key is finding the right technique and what works best for them. Whichever way you choose to discipline your child make sure YOU (and everyone in their life) stick with it and stay consistent! You’re child will soon learn the routine and everyone’s life will become more harmonies- GOOD LUCK! 

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