There are two things that children are usually looking for when they display inappropriate behaviors…
Power and Attention
The authors of the book The Connected Child do a wonderful job of describing healing and helpful ways to connect to your children. They designed the book with adoptive children in mind, but their great ideas can help every parent succeed in giving their child what they need.
When it comes to the Power Hungry Child consider that they use Triangulation to protect themselves. Many times a child who has had a disconnected home life has seen that triangulating or tag teaming against someone is one way to gain control in their mixed up life. The author of The Connected Child just calls on parents to see this as normal and as a means of self protection. The child isn’t doing this because they are mean or nasty. They are doing this because they are trying to feel safe, secure and in control. Reinforce how you their number one cheerleader and that you are on your child’s team and love them NO MATTER WHAT. Reinforce that you want the best for them so they don’t have to draw sides to gain that feeling of security. Being consistent is the one way you can show that you continually are in their corner and that they can count on you. Even if they don’t like the outcome or consequence, they know you will always follow through and that makes them feel safe. Children are begging for that kind of order and consistency.
When it comes to the Attention seeking Child consider the idea of Matching them.
So many times parents try to connect with kids but do it in adult ways that don’t match up or coordinate with the playful nature of the child. Parents who really connect with kids are the ones who get down on the floor with their kids, mirror how they are sitting, follow their lead in the play, restate what the child is talking about, and simply connect through matching the tone or voice level and demeanor of the child. This kind of connecting is non-threatening and playful and eases parents into deeper synchronicity with their child. The child in turn feels that you are not there to critique, boss, or control but instead you are there to simply look them in the eye, listen to them and be truly present in the play.
If you feel like you have a disconnected relationship with your child check out this book. It was written for families who are going through adoption but the ideas can help all parents make solid relationships with their children.
The Connected Child by Purvis, Cross, and Sunshine
We love it!! One of our NKY coaches Rachel Caswell is in the process of adopting a child and she recommended this book to me. Connect to Rachel firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel like you need the support of someone who understands the process of adopting a child and the fine tune parenting you sometimes need to work through.