TIP of the WEEK: Surviving a Behavioral Incident
1. Be patient- It is very hard to see our kids in a full blown meltdown, tantrum or aggressive episodes. Once a serious behavior starts it is virtually impossible to stop it mid cycle. Instead, we need to let it play it’s course and keep them safe from hurting themselves or others. Tell yourself that this too will pass. Many of our kids fall asleep after a behavioral incident. Use this time to get yourself back to baseline so that the rest of the day can be salvaged.
2. Stay calm- The calmer you remain the more in control of the situation you will be. Even if you are in the middle of a store with people staring and talking under their breath, keeping your feelings in check will help to move the behavior from out of control to tolerable, back to in control. This is not the worst thing that has ever happened and it is not the worst thing that will ever happen so stay in the moment and take lots of deep breaths! Just remember one of my favorite sayings: If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back. You have an amazing child who sometimes cannot manage his or her feelings.
3. Ignore- Some behaviors are simply attention seeking and best ignored. Try to figure out what they are really asking for or needing in the moment. Throwing an object, screaming, or blatantly breaking a rule may mean the need for a nap or it could be a sign of over stimulation or boredom. Don’t address the unwanted behavior instead meet their needs and move on.
4. Catch it early- We all know the warning signs, pay attention to them. Many serious behavioral incidents can be suppressed if the warning signs are noticed. Distraction and redirection are the best ways to turn the corner from something bad is about to happen to we’re getting on with our day.
5. Keep yourself at baseline- I can’t stress this enough. Unwanted behaviors are more often than not the result of anxiety. Adding your own anxiety to the mix will add to the duration and severity of the behavior. Your child’s school has probably provided you with coping skills for your child. Use them yourself often, practice them and you will undoubtedly see the results in yourself as well as in your son or daughter.
Manager PWS Services