A child who is troubled or troubling is not trying to make life difficult for you, rather they are trying to draw attention to how difficult life is for them. They are children and dependent on you their parents and their challenging behaviour may attempt to alert you to what is going on for them and to help them resolve it.
A couple recently attended a course and they were having significant problems getting their five year old daughter out to school in the morning. The child every morning was getting more and more upset and clinging to the parent.
The parents were naturally frustrated and losing their patience with the stress of getting to work on time. Consequentally, the situation became very upsetting for both parties.
However, when the parents response was to get ‘under the stand the child was trying to make’ they recognised that their response was making the situation worse. The recognised they needed to help the child feel safe and secure in order to make the separation, and then the challenging behaviour reduced considerably.
The parents recognised that the child was afraid of going into school and with lots of love and reassurance and support from the school giving the child a small task; these efforts were rewarded with a happier and less anxious child who was no longer afraid of school. The parents recognised that their earlier responses were creating ‘meltdowns’ and that instead remaining calm and affirming the child, helped the child feel solid and able to go to school.
In fact, every child is a genius and this little girl said , ‘when my little brother goes to school, I’d like him to come to my school, in case he’s frightened, and I can help him’ (as Mum and Dad helped me). When we create emotional safety (love and reassurance; not crossness); our child will feel safe and secure in telling us how they’re feeling.
Every parent is a mirror and with the end of my Autumn courses, the parents feedback was that ‘I’m calmer and by staying separate to the behaviour; instead of getting enmeshed in it; all said the home was calmer and children were happier.