TIP of the WEEK: Keeping it Positive

December 27, 2013

Remember when your mother told you that if you didn’t have anything nice to say not to say anything at all? Well she was right, very right. Although you may be tempted to show your emotions, not doing that will end or at least lessen the duration of an emotional outburst. The angrier or more frustrated you get, the stronger and more emotional your child will be. Staying calm not only keeps your mind clearer but it models appropriate behavior to your child.

We have all been in the situation where our nerves are frayed and walking away seems to be the best option only to be followed by a determined and very loud child who has their mind set and locked. Escape seems futile. And it is. When it comes to a battle of wills, you will lose every time. The best and most effective strategy is to be calm, positive and supportive. No easy task, but once you see the results it will get easier each time. Have some catch phrases, some “go to” lines that will make it easier to distance yourself from the meltdown:

  • “I can hear how upset you are, I’m here when you want to tell me what’s wrong.”
  • “I care about what is making you this mad, I want to listen, maybe I can help.”

Have an image in your mind of a happy time, go there when times get tough to remind yourself why this is so worth it. It is easy to become despondent when behaviors take over your little boy or girl but underneath the fits is a sweet kid who is just trying to manage their environment the best they can. Coping with stress and anxiety is extremely difficult when you have impulse, communication and executive function deficits.

Try to remind yourself that this behavior is the result of neurological damage. That is not an excuse for poor behavior but it is an explanation and until better coping skills are learned, it is all they know how to do. The answer is to teach during calm moments and be a supportive coach during times of chaos and high agitation. Meeting anger with kindness will get you much farther than meeting anger with resentment and frustration. Think of the difference between putting a cool cloth on a burn or boiling water. What will bring the best results? Remember that your child is looking to you to see how to cope, how to relate to and treat others and how to love. You have a big job but it is worth every minute of the good and the not so good.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Related Posts:
What About the Rest of the Family
Reasons Behind the Behavior  
Sensory Integration

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