Behaviour

Conflict and courage

I've been working with a few different clients recently who are going through tough times at work. The common denominator is relationships with managers and work colleagues. They are finding it hard to fit in and to feel accepted by others and struggling because of it.

What can be done when this is going on? How can a person help themselves and what do we expect from management?

What we have discussed in our sessions is their own mindset and reactions in various situations. What have they become aware of? What choice do they have? 

A bully will keep on going when their victim reacts to them in a way that feeds their sense control. The feeling of being powerful is then reinforced and they will continue.

The subtle changes in our own reaction to a bully can be really effective. It's kind of like a tennis match where a ball is smashed only to be caught and not returned straight away. If we hold on to the ball and lobb it back in a nice, friendly way, the smashing becomes less fun.

By replying in a disarming way like "I'm sorry you feel that way" or " Goodness, I didn't mean to...." or similar, the person doesn't get ammunition to continue to be nasty. 

Acceptance of differences in the workplace is so important as we come from different countries, backgrounds and situations. We don't tend to know what is going on in someone else's life and why they are difficult to deal with at times. It can explain a behaviour even if it doesn't make it OK. 

As far as managing staff and the treatment of each other in the workplace, the company needs to provide training and make sure the managers are vigilant, understanding and empathic to staff that 'dare' to bring any issues to the table. It is hard to have to do this and no one does this lightly. To be heard and seen is vital.

When someone speaks up, others tend to follow or at least respond and say 'me too'. 

Be courageous, speak up and stand tall!

 

 

 

Courageous.jpeg

Summertime happiness?

The sun is shining, it's a beautiful summer and the streets are full of people with lots of friends, things to do and happy looking! Are they though?

A lot of people struggle in the summer with depression and anxiety. There are a lot of reasons for this like; high expectations, not pretty enough, body conscious, lack of sleep due to heat and/or light, different schedule and  routines. 

All these things can be discombobulating and disrupt everyday life.

There are lots of things you can do to help prevent summer depression and be able to actually enjoy this beautiful time of the year:

Know yourself and recognise the symptoms. 

Find someone to talk to about your emotions and take your feelings of sadness seriously. Keep fit Exercise, drinking enough water and stay in the shade and cool places when possible.

If the bedroom is to light, hang blackout curtains. Also use a fan to cool the room.

Be realistic about your schedule. What are your priorities and what can wait?

Be kind to yourself, do what you feel comfortable with. It's OK to say no if that is what is right.

We are lucky to have all the seasons in the UK so get out there and enjoy the summer! This too will pass too soon.

  

 

Summer.jpeg

Helping your child through tough times...

Do you have a teenager who has just finished a tough period of exams?  Or do you have a child that’s had to deal with a tough situation?  All children will experience degrees of stress at some time in their lives (peer pressure, bullying, school pressure, arguments with friends or family etc) and our influence, as parents, is crucial.

If your child is in the school system they will, at some stage, experience exam pressure.  And it’s not just about writing the exams, the stress of waiting for results is often worse – especially for an anxious child.

Here are some tips to help reduce stress and anxiety in your children and help them maintain a sense of balance during difficult times.

  1. This too will pass.  Children and adults cope much better if they know there is an endpoint.  Overpowering feelings can be controlled by knowing that they are not permanent – and they will pass.
  2. Challenge them on unreasonable thoughts (extremism) and remind them of previous instances of success or coping.
  3. If necessary help them draw up plans for potential outcomes.  If they need certain results to continue with their studies – draw up a series of outcomes and paths they can take.
  4. Make sure they know you will love and support them unconditionally.
  5. Build their confidence and talk about how they are feeling.
  6. Use self-disclosure.  Tell them about situations you’ve been in and how you coped.
  7. Plan something fun for after results day or the end of term together.  An outing or a holiday is something positive to look forward to.

The coping skills they learn in childhood are essential to help them cope in adulthood – so use the time to guide and help them develop confidence and strategies to get through these stressful and difficult times.

If your child continues to battle or you need more help – don’t be afraid to ask.  Start with your school or GP or if you are really worried, get in touch with CAMHS.

exam coping.jpg

Why EQ?

EQ - Emotional Intelligence plays a big part in our lives. We might not be aware of it but it affects most areas. The awareness to develop our EQ is on the rise and is an important step in the fight to combat failing mental health. The connection between the two has been proven by many researchers including Dan Goleman. Here is an explanation of what having high EQ means:

  1. Self-awareness: If a person has a healthy sense of self-awareness, he understands his own strengths and weaknesses, as well as how his actions affect others. A person who is self-aware is usually better able to handle and learn from constructive criticism than one who is not.
  2. Self-regulation: A person with a high EQ can maturely reveal her emotions and exercise restraint when needed. Instead of squelching her feelings, she expresses them with restraint and control.
  3. Motivation: Emotionally intelligent people are self-motivated. They're not motivated simply by money or a title. They are usually resilient and optimistic when they encounter disappointment and driven by an inner ambition.
  4. Empathy: A person who has empathy has compassion and an understanding of human nature that allows him to connect with other people on an emotional level. The ability to empathize allows a person to provide great service and respond genuinely to others’ concerns.
  5. People skills: People who are emotionally intelligent are able to build rapport and trust quickly with others on their teams. They avoid power struggles and backstabbing. They usually enjoy other people and have the respect of others around them.

By using these skills we can avoid going further down mentally and possibly prevent mental health struggles. Become aware, listen and learn about your mind and body.

As far as children goes, they learn what EQ is mainly from us parents. If we are aware, they will become as well. We will always be their role models whether we like it or not.

Here is a great article on how to teach our kids EQ from ahaparenting.com:

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/emotional-intelligence/foundation-for-EQ

Enjoy!!

EQ.jpeg

Are you a helicopter parent?

There is a lot of writing about mollycoddling and helicopter parenting in the media. The impact of this way of parenting is not only on the families themselves but everyone else around them.

The schools are affected in a detrimental way as many children do not like the fact that they are just one in a group and not no 1. This causes them to act in a way to get attention and mostly in a bad way. Bad attention is better than no attention.

How can we help parents to understand that by overprotecting, paving the way and not saying NO to their children, they are creating insecure, low self esteemed, demanding little people who don't understand what acceptable behaviour is? 

Here is a great article by Amy Brown who is an associate professor of child public health at Swansea University. It's a well written article and sums up everything I want to say. Please read!

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/helicopter-or-lawnmower-modern-parenting-styles-can-get-in-the-way-of-raising-well-balanced-children-a7850476.html

Stubborn.jpeg

Helping your toddlers to grow up.

Following on from our tips on toddlers from 2 weeks ago – parents ask us 'How to balance their toddler's needs with their own?'

Three areas that seem to be frustrating parents are:  Sharing; Indepdence; Resilience

The facts are very clear that children under the age of 3 do not have the ability to understand what ‘sharing’ is.  This is why they snatch and shove.  Our job is to teach them how to deal with their feelings of frustration and disappointment in order to teach them coping skills.  Try (hard) not to punish them when they ‘behave badly’ but keep modelling the behaviour you want from them and use words like ‘let’s give … a turn’ or ‘let’s swop’.  Reward positive behaviour!

Another area of impending disaster is trying to let your toddler learn independence whilst at the same time being able to keep to your time management goals!  It’s your job to help your toddler become independent and capable and the way to do this is to allow them space to practice making decisions.  Give a choice of 2 so you retain control, but they have a choice (i.e. would you like to wear the red top or the green top today).  As they get older they can plan their choices for a few days in advance to save both of you time.

And what about resilience?  Do you let them fall down and pick themselves up?  This is a really important part of growing up and your toddler needs to learn that it’s OK to learn about new things (riding a bike, climbing a tree) and that you will be there to support them if they scape a knee (with a lifesaving plaster) plus heaps of praise when they achieve a new milestone in ability and coping.  Try to allow your child to take (calculated) risks.   Let them climb one step higher and if they happen to fall, try not to rush in and ‘save’ them.  Ask them first, ‘are you OK or do you need me to help you?’.  Help them to gain independence and feelings of accomplishment.

Try to accompany them on the journey as much as you can rather than simply cover them in cotton wool and prevent them from taking those ‘big steps’ into the world.

toddler independence.jpg

Toddlers in the house?

If you are the parent of a toddler (or two?) chances are you feel as though you have very little control over your life.  Your day may seem to be governed by demands, tantrums and relative chaos.  And then there is your sleep deprivation…

In the midst of all this, you have a child you love and adore so you just need to get through the day!

Toddlers are supposed to move, question you, make demands, explore their worlds.  They are on a mission to be independent and will instinctively work towards this but they aren't able to do everything themselves.  This leads to frustration.  Theirs...and then yours!

So here are some tips for coping with this stage of your child’s life:-

  • Lower your expectations and stay as flexible as possible.  It is impossible to control all that a toddler does, so allow yourself some flexibility and be prepared for change.
  • Help your toddler to be heard by remembering that their behaviour is about how they are feeling.  Go down to their level and tap in to their feelings.  This will help you understand their behaviour and manage their emotions.
  • Don’t pack the day with activities; make sure you leave gaps and some quiet times for them.  Too much stimulation and noise leads to overactive toddlers and we know what happens then…
  • Toddlers struggle with emotion and coping, especially when they feel low in energy or are too tired.  Tune in to their energy cycles and don’t plan a trip to the grocery store when they are tired!
  • One-One time with your toddler is time you will never have again.  Try to make some space in your busy schedule to just ‘be’ with your toddler with no distractions and not doing anything on your list of things to do!  Get down on the floor and build blocks; go outside and spray each other with water; read a book; bake a cake…just be together.  This is called being present and connecting with your child…it builds trust, growth and that bond between you.

The cliché is ‘they grow up so fast’…but they really do.  Enjoy this toddler stage for all the affection and focus they give you – you’ll miss it when they grow up!

toddler mum.jpg

Who's the boss ?

Have you got a ‘terrible tyrant’ at home?  Do you feel like your toddler or teen rules the roost?

Try to think of your home like a workplace and engage your brain to support your parenting style to create a work space that works for you.

A lovely term to describe this is, ‘Parenting up without patronising’.

It all comes down to your approach to discipline – or your lack thereof!  Every parent will know that if you let your child do something once, they’ll do it again.  It’s about management and discipline.  Work out what lines you won’t cross, and stick to them!  No matter how distressing the behavioural objections from your child.

Here are some strategies: -

Stay calm. If your ‘young boss’ is throwing a tantrum don’t get caught up in it.  It’s not a negotiation.  Be the adult and stay calm.

Anticipate problems. Children like routine; they want to know what to expect and when.  You’ll avoid a lot of problems if you give a heads-up to potential conflicts.

Use Humour.  As the adult, you have the advantage of great vocabulary, experience and being able to see the bigger picture.  Keep a sense of humour and you’ll be amazed at how it can diffuse a tense situation. With teens though, be careful not to patronise or belittle with sarcastic humour!

Give choices. Stay away from yes or no questions.  Give choices between 2 desirable options (i.e. the green top or the red top – rather than a top or no top)

Praise.  Counter negativity with positivity.  Trust us…it works!

Model good behaviour. Manage up by example. Take an honest look at your own behaviour to ensure you’re not a terribly boss too!

Keep it brief. Young kids have the attention span of…slightly longer than flies. Especially with teens – keep it short and simple – no lectures!

Give the full picture. As often as possible give reasons for your decisions.  Age appropriate of course – but a simple ‘no’ with no reason is a red flag to most kids.

Set boundaries. Know what you’re willing to tolerate - and get involved when you need to.  Don’t say ‘later’ or ‘when dad gets home’.  Deal with things as they happen.

bossy-toddler.jpg

Sensory Overload Anyone?

Do you ever feel like your child is becoming overwhelmed by lights, sounds, activity or even you?  Do you worry that they are ‘not coping’ with everything happening around them – or not reacting the same way as other children?

Here are a few signs that may indicate your child is battling with sensory stimuli:-

  • Crying
  • Quick change of mood
  • Irritability
  • Nervous 
  • Strange behaviour (holding their ears; hiding their face; running away from the situation)
  • A blank or removed expression on their faces
  • Rocking back and forth or even knocking their heads against a wall
  • Falling asleep unexpectedly
  • A strange ‘keening’ sound with agitation

If you notice any of these behaviours – make some changes to your child’s environment: -

·        Keep it calm and simple.   Slow down!

·        Keep the TV and radio off or on low volume

·        Stay away from big crowds or busy playgrounds/shops

·        Plan ‘sensory’ activities (clothes shopping/dentist etc) when your child is at their best (after meal time and naps)

·        Talk.  To everyone involved with your child and work together.

·        Hold your child in a tight bear hug or wrap them up in a big towel so they feel contained and ‘held’ when they are becoming overwhelmed.

·        Create a ‘calm corner’ for them in the house with pillows, a tent for darkness or anything else that will make them feel safe and calm.

Remember:  Sensory Overload does not mean there is something wrong with your child.  But it may mean you need to learn more about it to help your child cope better.  If the behaviour persists, please talk to a health professional as your child may be on the spectrum for sensory processing disorder.

Scaredy cat?

To get scared at times is normal and needs to be acknowledge. In fact, to acknowledge fear is even more important as that is an indicator that tells us to watch out. Flight or fight? Our kids need to learn to listen to their instincts and act accordingly.

When children get scared they learn to understand risk, evaluate threat and manage emotions. By helping them to understand what fears are, we can help to them to prepare to handle situations that might come their way.

Here are some tips:

1. Explain that fear is a normal part of being a person.  Tell kids that all adults (including their mum and dad) get scared sometimes.  Explain what happens in the body when you get scared – the heart beats fast, the breathing increases and the hands might shake a bit.   

2. Remember that children get scared of all kinds of things that as adults we don’t usually fear. Most of these fears will disappear by themselves.  Generally, fears do not signal any “deeper issue”.

3. When children tell you they are afraid of something, try not to respond with “that’s silly, everything is fine” or “there’s nothing to be afraid of”.  Although we mean this to be reassuring, these statements can send a message that children should NOT experience fear and there is something bad about feeling like this. 

4. Instead, at least on some occasions, ask children more about how they feel.  Ask specific questions like: what makes them scared and what they wish they could change.  Then tell them that you are sorry they feel worried and that you love them and will be there for them.  This doesn’t need to be a drawn out conversation but simply take one or two minutes to talk with them. Sometimes you won’t have time or the energy for this and that is okay too.  

5. Some childhood fears can be dealt with by accommodating the child’s wishes.  For example, it is fine for children to have a nightlight for as long as they want one, for them to come home after playing at a friends’ house rather than sleeping over, for them to not have to pet dogs, to not have to go to the circus or watch television shows they find disturbing. Children should not “have to learn” to be brave with issues that can be easily avoided.  They will have to learn to deal with many unavoidable fears soon enough, it is quite acceptable for them to be spared some of their fears.

6. However, certain fears do interfere with life and are less easily avoided.  For example, sometimes fears of school, being with other children, not doing things perfectly, parents being hurt and so on start to stop children from being involved in important parts of life (eg, school, socialising, and play). For these fears, try to help children learn “brave behaviour”.  Think about the kinds of things you want your child to do in those situations, break these actions into steps and teach these skills in the same way you teach children to use a knife and fork.  Ask children to act brave just a little at a time, be patient, and reward each step they make.   The key is to focus on encouraging confident behaviour (eg, being at a friend’s house for increasing amounts of time) and not focus on feelings (eg, how anxious the child feels).  The child needs to learn that they can “be” brave, even when they are not “feeling” brave.

7. We often fear what we don’t understand and so much is new to children. It can often help to give children some sense of understanding and “control” over things they fear. When children appear afraid, acknowledge the feeling but then help them explore the source of their fear with your support. For example, if your child is startled by loud noises, say “it looks like that noise frightened you; let’s go together to see what it is”. Invite children to come closer to look with you when they are ready and help them experiment with the thing they fear with your support to help them feel braver (eg, turn on and off the vacuum cleaner, turn the volume up and down, press the noisy toy to see what it does). 

8. We need to be careful that we do not accidentally reward or reinforce “scared” behaviour in children.  If we always pay a great deal of attention to a child who is talking in a frightened voice, if we seem anxious ourselves about a child being scared, then we send two subconscious messages to this child: (1) “I am particularly interested in you when you are worried.” (2) “Being worried is wrong and we must change this”. These messages are not helpful.  This does not mean ignoring a child’s fears, but it does mean making sure it is not the only time children get our full attention.

9. It is important to help children think through their fears rather than always reassuring them ourselves.  If a child can come up with a reassuring statement on their own, they are more likely to believe it than if they have just heard it from a parent.  To help children come up with their own reassuring statements, ask them questions like:  hmm, IF that did happen, how would you handle it?  Do you think that is likely to happen or not very likely to happen?  Do you think that there is some other way of thinking about that? and so on.  

10. Remember that helping kids deal with fear (and other emotions) is a life long quest.  Try to be patient.

Good luck!!

 

Why does my child keep hitting others?

Has your child ever lashed out and hit you or another child?  Have you had complaints of your child kicking or shoving another?  How about hair pulling?  Just like tantrums (blog of the 12th June) - physical ‘violence’ in a child is something they need to learn (as early as possible) is unacceptable behaviour.  They must understand that there will be consequences with this type of behaviour and this does not mean hitting them back!

Why the violence?  Most of the time it is the result of feelings of frustration in your child.  It is their way of expressing a deep level of frustration or anger and they lash out physically at people they feel are ‘causing’ their pain.

 What to do?

Ask your daughter why she is feeling angry.  Ask your son what you can do to help him get rid of his frustrations.  Through talking to your child work out what is the cause of the behaviour and the reason behind their feeling hurt, pain or frustration.  Sometimes just by letting them know that you are paying attention and have noticed how they are feeling will already do a lot to reduce their frustrations.  Use positive parenting a lot – which in this case means age-appropriate directions and logical and clear consequences.   

Remember: No shaming / No Guilt / No labelling - it doesn't help things!

Just like everything else you do – be consistent.  It’s NEVER OK to hit another child or lash out in public.  Stop it the first time – and every time.  Be clear about what type of behaviour you expect – and MODEL it yourself.  Make sure your child knows you are watching carefully and praise them when they behave well.

It is so important to catch this early as if left unchecked - this can develop into some nasty 'bullying' habits later on....

+ More specific tips on biting in 2 weeks time…

My child is impossible !

Ever spoken those words?  Ever felt like ‘giving up’ when you child throws a major temper tantrum in the middle of the store and everyone stares at you?  Well – you’re not alone!  And let me assure you – no one’s child is perfect – no matter what they say or post on social media!  Every child will have something they battle with – and every parent will have areas of parenting they find particularly hard.  The trick is to learn as much as you can about how to cope and  manage your own parenting through all the trials and tribulations.  

 
Tantrums in Public
Although initially a tantrum is a reaction to a feeling – if children don’t learn how to control and cope with these feelings – their tantrums won’t just ‘go away’.  In fact, they may stay with them – or even get worse!  You think toddler tantrums are bad – imagine a demanding, excessive teenager!  You need to ‘check’ your child’s tantrums early on and teach them how to cope with how they’re feeling and channel this into the correct behaviour. 

For example – at the first sign of a tantrum (falling down on the floor; becoming hysterical; kicking; screaming) tell your child firmly ‘to stop or else we are going to leave (the store, restaurant, movie, friends etc).   If you feel more comfortable giving them a warning first, then do that.  But only 1 warning for a ‘tantrum’ event.  I.e. say: ‘This is your only warning.  You need to stop ‘behaviour’ or we will leave immediately’…and then folks…you MUST FOLLOW THROUGH !  That means no matter how inconvenient it is for you – you MUST LEAVE !  If you lose money – sorry for you – but it will be worth it in the long run.  If it’s embarrassing, say sorry and if necessary make it up to the friend/party parent etc later – but this is the only way your child will learn. 

Then.  When your child is distracted and has calmed down – try and find out what they were feeling at the time of the tantrum.  What made them feel so frustrated that they were unable to cope and had to behave in that way to express themselves?  Often they don’t have enough language to express themselves and they get beside themselves with frustration.  Try and learn how to pre-empt tantrums.  Watch their emotions and mood; work with actions (sign language) with them to communicate with you; give them some space to work it out; sometimes they need to be ignored; praise them a lot when they’re behaving well; create a diversion or distraction; hug them; use empathy; model the behaviour you want – be calm yourself & keep a sense of humour – laugh it off!

Then.  Really NB!  The next time you head out for a similar event – speak to your child beforehand and say, ‘we are going back to ‘name the place’.   I would like to see ‘name the behaviour you want’ as I would like to be able to stay for the whole event this time.’  Don’t blame the child and rehash their bad behaviour – use ‘I language’ and be positive about what you want to see happen.

Find more tips on our website:www.familyfocusuk.com (parenting tips)

+ More tips in the following weeks…

 

How do boys learn to make good choices?

A lot is written about teenage boys and their behaviours, particularly in groups. Egging each other on and not thinking about consequences or that they might actually be hurting someone else. So if you’re the parent of a boy, you need to know that boys’ biology and social conditioning put them squarely at risk of doing some seriously stupid things, particularly during their teenage years.

The human brain does not reach maturity until the early 20s. The last parts of the brain to mature are links between the prefrontal cortex, which assists in judgement and problem-solving, and the limbic system, which handles emotion and self-regulation. In other words, teenage brains are not wired for optimal decision-making or response to crisis.

So what can be done to help our boys to make good choices? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Teach them about empathy. You can build empathy in your sons by modeling empathy for them. Help others. Express understanding and give others the benefit of doubt. Talk about and name feelings; boys are under so much pressure societally to suppress their emotions. Make sure your boys know that your No. 1 goal for them to is become decent human beings.

2. Value your son, not his accomplishments. When you go on and on to others about your son’s grades, athletic accolades or starring roles, your child gets the message that his accomplishments are what you value about him. Of course it’s OK to be proud of your son and to share your pride in what he’s accomplished. The challenge is to balance that with acknowledgement of his value as a human being, separate from anything he’s done. Your son needs to know that he’s loved unconditionally. So hug him. Say “I love you.” Show an interest in his interests, and make time to have fun with him.

3. Acknowledge good choices. Most boys and girls make several mistakes each day. But while it’s natural to point these out, we need to make sure to acknowledge the good things they do as well. Praise your son when he helps someone else. (Insider tip: Mention his good deed to someone else when you know he’s listening. He’ll be thrilled!) Thank him for helping you with the shopping or gardening.

These are just a few things that we can all do but the main things is, start as early as possible! The earlier, the better. 

Source: http://health.usnews.com/wellness/for-parents/articles/2017-05-15/5-ways-to-help-boys-make-good-choices

Screen or not or what?

Most of us know that kids love looking at screens. What most of might not know is the actual impact it has on them. A study from 2015 said that British children between 5-16 spend an average of 6.5 hours a day looking at screens!! That is up from 3 hours in 1995. Is this too much? Can this be addictive? What makes screens so enticing, not only to kids but us adults too?

With todays technology being so accessible, it is even harder to avoid our children's demands to watch a cartoon or play a game. This lack of natural breaks has led to many children not having what is called 'stopping rules'. They used to exist and we learned to wait and look forward to the next episode of the favourite show or even wait for your turn at a game console. These breaks are now disappearing as everything around us is becoming 24/7 and impatience is growing. When children learn that they can us their devices as soon as they are bored, have spare time or are unsure of what to do next, it can become dangerous. It's all about feedback. Children learn by misbehaving to see what their parents think, push buttons to discover what happens. Their devices however give feedback straight away! No need to wait, instant rewards.

Interaction with other children, reading other children's reactions and body language can not be taught on a device. This requires play and being without devices. Please allow our children to be children in the real world and not the virtual world! Everything as always within reason. Technology is here to stay but how much our children use it is up to us. We are their parents and more importantly their role models!!

How much do I allow my child to do?

One problem I have encountered along the way working with families is the 'helicopter' parenting that seems to be quite common. It seems that a lot of families do most things for their children like: serving and clearing up, carry them or their bags, clean their rooms, make their beds, help them put on their clothes, shower them etc. The list is long.

The question is what are we achieving by doing these things? How do we actually help our kids in a better way? What is the impact on them?

It all comes back to self-esteem and confidence. If we allow or push our kids to help with chores, take responsibility for their school work, learn to make their beds, clean themselves and generally be made to be part of the family team, they will grow. Grow in their ability to take responsibility for their own decisions, feel confident that they are able and if not able, learn that asking for help is also OK. They also learn to stand up for themselves and understand common decency, what is right and wrong. The freedom to go to the newsagent to buy something or walk down the road to a friend on their own is an immense uplifting feeling for our kids. They have to learn to become independent. Small steps at a time!

It's very easy to take over as most times, it's quicker to do it ourselves. However, if we think about it, there are lots of opportunities to allow the kids the chance to 'help' and allow them to do certain things their way. To let it go is a challenge at times but the effect on the kids in long term is worth it. We all want independent, confident and caring children. Self-esteem is something we need to help our children to get and keep. These steps are a few that will help to achieve this.

Why does my child want attention all the time ?

For most parents, 'attention-seeking' is a word they will use with their child (ren) more often than they like.  It's seen as one of the most common types of misbehaviour in children and is often confused with 'bad' behaviour.

 At its core, attention seeking behaviour from a child is a call to keep you close to them / busy with them or simply focused on them.  It's important to understand the 'why' behind this behaviour and then to respond in a way that will reduce the behaviour in the future.

Here are some ideas:-

1.  Don't respond to the attention seeking behaviour but focus on something else entirely

2.  If another child is behaving well, give that child positive attention.

3.  When the attention seeking child changes their behaviour in line with your expectations and needs - provide lots of positive comment and attention to them.

4.  Attention seekers need to feel useful so help them get this 'included feeling' through positive ways and activities by teaching them what you expect from them.  Try baking together !

5.  Make sure you respond positively when they're not asking for your feedback.  Say 'well done' or 'that's such good behaviour' unexpectedly and without being asked by them when you can.

Help them feel like they 'belong' and they will

get your attention without having to ask for it...

attention seeking behaviour.jpg

Keep Calm - they're only kids !

Do you find yourself getting stressed about all the demands from your kids?  Here are a few tips to get you through the day....

  • Remember you are the adult in the family - don't let the kids take over.
  • Slow things down - one step at a time.  Don't try and deal with multiple issues or demands at once.  Take them one by one and they'll seem less overwhelming.
  • Recognise the patterns of your children's behaviour and try to plan and prepare before the demands mount.
  • Stay calm at all times and if you can't - take a few minutes and leave the room to breathe.
  • Find something that works for you as a stress relief (cup of tea / hot bath / walk outside etc) and make sure you prioritise some time for yourself.

More tips to follow in our next blog....