Yelling. Fighting. Hitting. Tantrums. Biting. Sound familiar? They are all typical behaviors bad-tempered kids use to make their needs known and to get their way. But here’s a critical parent secret: Hot tempers are learned so they can be unlearned. And calming a hot temper is not only doable but also essential for growing up in this sometimes violent, unpredictable world. Here are six anger management tips from The BIG BOOK OF PARENTING SOLUTIONS.
- Commit to raising a controlled kid. Studies show that parents who feel strongly about their kids showing self-restraint succeed because they committed themselves to that effort.
- Model coolness. One question parents should ask nightly is: “If my kid had only my behavior to watch, what would he have seen today?” Self-control is learned first at home.
- Set a rule: “Talk only when calm.” Refuse to talk to your kid until you and your kid are calm. If needed, lock yourself in the bathroom. Enforce the EXIT rule: walk away until calm.
- Identify stress signs. We all have unique physiological stress signs warning us we’re getting angry: flushed cheeks, rapid breathing, dry mouth. Recognize your child’s signs and help him identify them and keep pointing them out until he recognizes them in himself.
- Teach your child healthy ways to control that bad temper. Here are a few options:
- Use self-talk. Teach him an affirmation: a simple, positive message he says to himself in stressful situations. For example: “Stop and calm down,” “Stay in control,” “I can handle this.”
- Tear anger away. Tell your child to draw or write what is upsetting him on a piece of paper. Then tear it into little pieces and “throw the anger away.”
- 1 + 3 + 10. As soon as you feel you’re losing control: 1. Tell yourself: ‘Be calm.’ 2. Take three deep, slow breaths. 3. Count slowly to 10. Together it’s 1 + 3 + 10.
- Abdominal breath control. Inhale slowly to a count of five, pause two counts, slowly breathe out, again counting to five. Repeating the sequence creates maximum relaxation, and reduces stress.
- Use the “Rule of 21.” The trick is to find a strategy that matches each kid’s unique temperament and comfort level. It will only become a habit if it is practiced until automatic and usually that’s 21 days!
Dr Borba’s new book The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries, is one of the most comprehensive parenting book for kids 3 to 13. This down-to-earth guide offers advice for dealing with children’s difficult behavior and hot button issues including biting, tantrums, cheating, bad friends, inappropriate clothing, sex, drugs, peer pressure and much more. Each of the 101 challenging parenting issues includes specific step-by-step solutions and practical advice that is age appropriate based on the latest research . The Big Book of Parenting Solutions has recently been released and is now available at amazon.com
If your child is shy, chances are he was born with a more introverted, sensitive personality. So this is not about trying to turn him into an extrovert. After all, you can’t change your child’s personality and natural temperament. But you can help your child learn the skills he needs (and deserves) to feel more comfortable and confident with other kids. And that is doable because of this fact: shyness doesn’t have to be debilitating. So let’s focus on what you can do to enhance your kid’s abilities to find, make, and keep friends. Here are secrets from THE BIG BOOK OF PARENTING SOLUTIONS to help a shy child fit in and feel more comfortable in social situations.
Model eye contact. One of the most common traits of well-liked kids use is that they use eye contact. In fact the average person spends 30 to 60 percent of the time looking at the other person’s face. As you’re talking with your child say: “Look at me.” or “Put your eyes on my eyes.” or “I want to see your eyes.” If your kid is uncomfortable about using eye contact, tell her: “Look at the bridge of my nose.”
Praise prior success. It’s natural for a shy child to focus on past failures. So help her recall previous experiences when things went really well. “Remember last year’s swimming lessons? You begged not to go, but did and met a new friend.” “Before you went to Sara’s birthday party last month you wanted to stay home. But when you agreed to stay at least a half an hour and you ended up one of the last ones to leave.”
Reinforce smiling! One of the most common characteristics of confident, well-liked kids is that they smile and smile. So whenever your child displays a smile, reinforce it: “What a great smile!” or “That smile of yours always wins people over.” Also, point out how your child’s smile affects others: “Do see how kids smile back when you smile?” “That little boy saw your smile and came over to play. Your smile let him know you were friendly.”
Debrief a stressful event. If your kid has had a really embarrassing attack of shyness find a time to discuss what happened and she could handle it better next time. “It sounds like you really didn’t like being with so many kids. What if you only invite one friend at a time?” “So what really bugged you was asking Kevin face to face. Why not ask him on the phone next time?”
Reinforce any social efforts. Any and every effort your child makes to be even a tad more social deserves a pat on the back: “I saw how you walked up to that new boy today. Good for you!” “I noticed that you really made an effort to say hello to Sheila’s mom. She looked so pleased!”
Schedule warm up time. Some kids take longer to warm up in a social setting, so give your child time to settle in. Be patient and don’t push too quickly. Let her watch a bit, figure out what’s up, and set her own time frame to join in.
Help him fit in. All kids need to feel as comfortable as possible when they’re with their friends. So make sure your son or daughter has a cool hair cut, the “in” pair of sneakers, backpack, jacket, or pair of jeans. It can make a big difference in boosting a kid’s comfort level.
Rehearse social situations. Prepare your kid for an upcoming social event by describing the setting, expectations, and other kids who will be there. Then help him practice how to meet others, table manners, making small talk, and even how to say good-bye. Doing so will decrease some of the anxiety he’s bound to have from being in a new setting. Hint: A shyer child often feels less threatened practicing social skill with a younger, more immature kids than children his own age.
Create One-To-One Time. Many kids can be overwhelmed in groups, so limit the number of friends to one at a time. Then gradually increase the number as she gains confidence.
Remember: your role is not to try and change your child’s basic temperament and personality but instead to help him warm up, open up, and join the fun having friends can bring. Simple, little changes can reap big results.
Dr Borba’s new book The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries, is one of the most comprehensive parenting book for kids 3 to 13. This down-to-earth guide offers advice for dealing with children’s difficult behavior and hot button issues including biting, tantrums, cheating, bad friends, inappropriate clothing, sex, drugs, peer pressure and much more. Each of the 101 challenging parenting issues includes specific step-by-step solutions and practical advice that is age appropriate based on the latest research . The Big Book of Parenting Solutions has just been released and is now available at amazon.com
Most parents expect their children to respect them. What are you doing to model respect? Here are seven simple steps to living with respect in your relationships.
- Be a good listener – Give your child your undivided attention when they are speaking to you.
- Be fair – Consider your child’s viewpoint and experience before stating your opinion.
- Be honest – Tell the truth. Be accountable when you make a mistake.
- Be polite – Use the manners that you expect of your children.
- Be positive – Focus on the positive side of life. Your child deserves a role model that “lifts them up.” Compliment your children, observe what they do well and celebrate it.
- Be reliable – Keep your promises. Show your child that you mean what you say. Do as you say and say as you do. Children see the truth through a clearer lens than do adults.
- Be trustworthy – Keep your children’s heart-felt feelings and experiences private, show them that you can be a trusted adult who cares about their feelings and their self-esteem.
Showing your children that you respect them through your words and actions encourages your children to respect themselves, you and others.
*This post reflects Dr Kenney’s “The Family Coach Method” used in practice for a number of years, and released for publication just this past September. The Family Coach Method is ‘rug-level,’ friendly and centered on the concept of families as a winning team – with dozens of age-appropriate sample conversations and problem solving scenarios to guide a family to the desired place of mutual respect, shared values and strengths. The goal is to help children to develop the life skills, judgment and independence that can help them navigate the challenges of an increasingly complex world. The Family Coach Method is also being taught as an Educational Series where parents can join with other moms and dads in live calls with Dr Kenney.
Have you ever wondered how your child is growing and developing compared to other children of the same age? It wouldn’t be unusual if you have. Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye bye” are called developmental milestones, and they have often held a special place in the bragging hearts of grandparents everywhere. There is however another side to developmental milestones. One that is even more valuable to parents.
Although no two children grow at the same rate, experts agree there are “normal” signs of development. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (crawling, walking, etc.). Given the reports that have been published recently about the increased findings of autism in the US, it is not surprising that more and more parents are searching for information to help them identify signs of delayed development. Knowing that early recognition and action have the potential to make a difference, the CDC has incorporated some wonderful information on developmental milestones from the AAP into the Learn the Signs…Act Early pages of their site and provided access to some terrific resources to help if assistance is needed.
Here are the milestones you can monitor for your child’s first year…
By 3 months of age:
Social and Emotional
- Begins to develop a social smile
- Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops
- Becomes more expressive and communicates more with face and body
- Imitates some movements and facial expressions
- Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
- Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
- Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back
- Opens and shuts hands
- Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
- Brings hand to mouth
- Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands
- Grasps and shakes hand toys
- Watches faces intently
- Follows moving objects
- Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
- Starts using hands and eyes in coordination
Hearing and Speech
- Smiles at the sound of your voice
- Begins to babble
- Begins to imitate some sounds
- Turns head toward direction of sound
By 7 months of age:
Social and Emotional
- Enjoys social play
- Interested in mirror images
- Responds to other people’s expressions of emotion and appears joyful often
- Finds partially hidden object
- Explores with hands and mouth
- Struggles to get objects that are out of reach
- Responds to own name
- Begins to respond to “no”
- Can tell emotions by tone of voice
- Responds to sound by making sounds
- Uses voice to express joy and displeasure
- Babbles chains of sounds
- Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)
- Sits with, and then without, support on hands
- Supports whole weight on legs
- Reaches with one hand
- Transfers object from hand to hand
- Uses hand to rake objects
- Develops full color vision
- Distance vision matures
- Ability to track moving objects improves
By 12 months of age:
Social and Emotional
- Shy or anxious with strangers
- Cries when mother or father leaves
- Enjoys imitating people in his play
- Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys
- Tests parental responses to his actions during feedings
- Tests parental responses to his behavior
- May be fearful in some situations
- Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others
- Repeats sounds or gestures for attention
- Finger-feeds himself
- Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed
- Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
- Finds hidden objects easily
- Looks at correct picture when the image is named
- Imitates gestures
- Begins to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, dialing phone, listening to receiver)
- Pays increasing attention to speech
- Responds to simple verbal requests
- Responds to “no”
- Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no”
- Babbles with inflection (changes in tone)
- Says “dada” and “mama”
- Uses exclamations, such as “Oh-oh!”
- Tries to imitate words
- Reaches sitting position without assistance
- Crawls forward on belly
- Assumes hands-and-knees position
- Creeps on hands and knees
- Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position
- Pulls self up to stand
- Walks holding on to furniture
- Stands momentarily without support
- May walk two or three steps without support
Hand and Finger Skills
- Uses pincer grasp
- Bangs two objects together
- Puts objects into container
- Takes objects out of container
- Lets objects go voluntarily
- Pokes with index finger
- Tries to imitate scribbling
As a parent, you know your child best. If your child is not meeting the milestones for his or her age, or if you think there could be a problem you do have resources:
- call your child’s pediatrician and share your concerns – don’t wait. If you or your child’s doctor think there may be a delay, ask for a referral to a specialist who can do a more in-depth evaluation of your child.
- call your state’s public early childhood system to request a free evaluation to find out if your child qualifies for intervention services. This is sometimes called a Child Find evaluation. You do not need to wait for a doctor’s referral or a medical diagnosis to make this call. To find the contact for your state, call National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) at 1-800-695-0285 or visit the NICHCY website.
- there is some great information on the CDC website If You’re Concerned page about “What to Say” when you call and “What to Do” while you’re waiting for help.
- A page of Links to Useful Sites: Parenting and Family Support; Healthcare Providers that offer testing and intervention resources; Childcare and Early Education resources
Watch for these milestones in your child over time and don’t make any judgements based on a single day. Remember, each child is different and may learn and grow at a different rate. However, if your child cannot do many of the skills listed for his or her age group, you should consult your pediatrician. According to developmental specialists Joyce Powell and Dr Charles Smith, remember to take into account if your child was born sooner than his or her due date and be sure to deduct the number of months early from his or her age. A 5-month-old born 2 months early would be expected to show the same skills as a 3-month-old who was born on his or her due date.
Please remember, you are the most important observer of your child’s development. You will know before anyone if there is a delay in reaching any of their key milestones. The good news is, the earlier it’s recognized the more you can do to help your child reach his or her full potential.
Milestone Work Referenced:
- From CARING FOR YOUR BABY AND YOUNG CHILD: BIRTH TO AGE 5 by Steven Shelov, Robert E. Hannermann, © 1991, 1993, 1998, 2004 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Powell, J. and Smith, C.A. (1994). The 1st year. In *Developmental milestones: A guide for parents*. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service.
Children today are more sensitive emotionally, physically and psychically. They are concerned about everyone and everything, tend to suffer more dietary problems and just how do they know what mood you’re in before you even enter a room!
When you consider they are also coping with unprecedented rates of change in technology, population dynamics and culture, we must take a look at how we parent and educate them. Most of them will be employed in jobs that don’t yet exist and many of them will be solving problems that we aren’t yet aware of, using technology that in some cases, frankly intimidates us.
After countless hours with hundreds of truly remarkable families I have come to realise that:
- Every child has “special needs”
- Every child has inner wisdom, and
- Every child has something to teach us
What if, instead of seeing your child as rude and aggressive, you see someone who is floundering emotionally, desperate for more support and struggling to express themselves? What if you see the potential your children are trying to demonstrate and embrace it with all your heart.
It takes a special parent/carer/teacher to set aside their inbuilt reactions, preconceived ideas and socially acceptable norms to be able to truly hear the depth of wisdom in our children. Some parents feel they are failures even though they are doing the best they can with what they know. It’s been said before ‘children don’t come with a manual’. These days it would need to be online and interactive.
We need to empower our children to experience themselves and then they will be confident to take responsibility for themselves. All parents want the best for their children… maybe in this new world we’re going to need to spend a little more time listening to them and learning from them if we are going to truly help them discover their magnificence.