A Pin-prick of Progress
When parents ask me to step in as they try to make a change in their child’s behavior, I often say that things will probably get worse before they get better. In other words, you might see your child’s behavior escalate as they try to wriggle out of your new set of boundaries. Your child may test you to your last drop of energy so that they can ensure you really mean what you say.
When you are trying to make a change in your child’s behavior, your days can be dark and dismal, and it can be difficult to find the light at the end of the tunnel. You might wonder if these horribly explosive behaviors will follow your child into their teenage years and end up wrecking your family. These frustrations may make you want to quit before you even begin to make a difference, but I say, “Hang on and zone into the smallest moments of growth”.
It is essential in the midst of this kind of turmoil for parents to identify the smallest, pin prick of light or growth when they see it in their child’s behavior.
If all day they have tested you, but for one short second, you witness an act of kindness you have to nab the moment and call it like you see it… “I noticed when I asked you to get your coat on, you listened on the first time.” “I noticed you allowed your little brother to sit beside you while you played with your trains.” “I noticed that earlier today, you didn’t cry when it was time to leave the park.” In the midst of a crazy day it can be so easy to overlook these small moments of success because they are out numbered by bad choices and because frankly, the bad choices are usually noisier and more apt to catch your attention.
So force yourself to be on the lookout for these shining moments (even if they seem to be the smallest deed or action). I believe that the more you see and recognize their good choices, the more these positive behaviors will repeat themselves.
Eventually you might have trouble finding a bad choice in your child’s day because the good choices will shine so brightly. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful problem to have?