Children need to be understood and validated constantly by their parents.
At times when children’s behaviors become too complicated for us to understand (ex: not following rules, acting out, coming across as disrespectful, rude, or socially off) validation may seem counterproductive. Our duty as parents to empathize with them becomes even more difficult.
But the challenges a child is facing can be so daunting for them. Often these cause such intense anxiety, difficulty in mood regulation, an inability to tolerate frustration, and a loss of control over their impulses. This will affect their social relationships and inhibit the child from developing self-esteem. The end result is a hindering of relationships with parents, teachers, and friends – which is a very scary, lonely place for kids to be. And painful for parents to watch.
There is good news. You can help your child. Through a partnership between parents, a trained professional, and the teachers involved, you can create a custom-made comprehensive treatment plan to help your child thrive and rebuild their self-worth. The process emphasizes social skills that include teaching the child to appreciate that he or she is just “one piece of a thousand-piece puzzle” (which includes their genes and their nurture and also happens to involve the combination of both their parent's experiences as well!), rebuilding the child’s connection between parents and/or siblings and friends, exploring prior generations, to assess how patterns of behavior originally developed, creating new languages and communication skills specifically for the child but also to be used by the whole family, empowering the parents to become the role models of social skills for their children, teaching parents and teachers how to teach social skills, and identifying possible underlying child anxiety which is very often has been misunderstood.
Parents will often describe these thoughts. Do any sound at all familiar?
My 8-year-old daughter is so nervous about going to her friend's house to sleepover. I keep reassuring her that the sleepover will be fine and that she has nothing to worry about! It seems that this advice and my encouragement is just not working. I can’t think of anything else to say- I’ve almost given up on her ever sleeping away.
My 5-year-old son, my oldest, is constantly worried that my 12-month-old baby, his sister, will choke on cheerios. I keep telling him not to worry and that she won’t choke. But the more I say that the more nervous he gets. At this point, he won’t even come into the kitchen when I’m feeding the baby. He is really withdrawn around supper time. He won’t open up. And recently his teacher has been calling me to say that he’s been acting out during class. When I try talking to him about it, he walks away. I’m really at a loss.
I cannot take my 4-year-old to the park anymore. He has gotten a reputation as being a real bully. When they notice him, all the mothers slowly take their kids out of the sandbox! It’s so embarrassing for me! Nothing I do is working. My husband and I keep punishing him. But how much can you punish a 4-year-old already especially when it doesn’t seem to help anyway?
I just spoke to a whole bunch of people who think that my son might need help with his social skills. What does that even mean? Where can I find someone to help me with that? Is it worth my time? I just had a baby so I really don’t have that much free time. But I can’t take it anymore. He’s just so strange to me. All he does is stays at home. He won’t go out to play with the rest of the boys. Every time I ask him why he says “because.” I’ve ignored this problem for a while but now I’m really beginning to think that I should seek professional help…
You are not alone. We can help you.