San Diego Parenting Therapist Talks about the Importance of having Family Meetings

By: Valerie Holcomb, MFTi

 

Have you ever wondered why your child is acting out? They want attention and as a parent you might feel like these demands never stop (for more info on that, click here). In situations like this, teaching your child limits and making some time to spend with your child can make a difference. Having a family meeting once a week can allow your attention to be on your child. Family meetings, especially in families with young children, can facilitate a space for you to speak openly and briefly with your child(ren), which is often best for addressing behavior problems.
Having a regular family meeting is a good way to help your child learn cooperative skills. You will not only learn to solve problems together, but you and your family will be able to :
• Share positive feelings
• Have fun together
• Make decisions about family issues
• Provide encouragement
• Talk about problems
Family meetings can also benefit each of your family members. For example, you might have a grandparent living in your home and they need to be part of the family meetings too. But remember, although extended family/household members may be present t the meeting, your child needs you to do the parenting. Setting healthy boundaries and making it clear that the discipline and final decisions are up to you allows your child to accept structure, rules and consequences for actions in a healthy setting.
Family meetings work best if the focus is on one issue and one solution. Maintaining consistent family meetings will help your child learn to follow agreements over time. Most importantly, have fun as a family and enjoy working together. Share past highlights, positive experiences or behaviors you have observed and talk about new issues that have arisen. Together you and your child are learning new skills and through your influence, you can make a relationship that your child will learn to respect and love as they grow up.

Positive Solutions For Misbehavior

                                                                                               Written by: Valerie Holcomb, MFTI
Often, your child’s misbehavior is not as intentional as you may think.  How parents respond to the behavior can influence how often and in what way children repeat that behavior. How a parent reacts to unintentional misbehavior may determine whether that behavior will be repeated as a way to achieve one of the four goals of misbehavior: attention, power, revenge, and displaying inadequacy. following are some quick but impactful positive solutions for the misbehavior.


Here are some cooperative strategies to help you help your children feel encouraged and empowered by addressing the above misbehaviors:


• If your child’s goal is to seek attention, then try redirecting by involving your child in a useful task that is age-appropriate to gain attention. For instance, say what you will do. For example, have faith in your child to sit with his or her feelings, don’t rescue. Finally, plan regular special time together.
• If your child’s goal is to be the boss or have power then try redirecting to positive power by asking for help. Offer limited choices and don’t fight or give in. You can be firm and kind, and decide what you will do.
• If your child wants to get even or has revenge then acknowledge his or her feelings. Avoid punishment and instead build trust. It’s okay to share your own feelings and try to make amends. The point is to show that you care.
• If your child wants to give up or displays inadequacy then try breaking the task down to smaller steps. Refrain from criticizing and encourage any positive attempt. This is an opportunity for you to have faith in your child’s abilities. This is a chance for you to teach your child by showing how, but don’t do it for him.
Remember if your child is having a hard time, interrupting, throwing tantrums, being rude, or simply not trying, this doesn’t mean you are an unsuccessful parent or that your child is unruly. It means that it’s most likely a time to begin aiming for solutions to solve the problem and modeling the cooperation and respect that your child deserves.

What does your child’s misbehavior mean?

Recognizing the Four Goals of Your Child’s Misbehavior

                                                                                                                                                                   By: Valerie Holcomb, IMF

When raising kids, it’s important to understand that misbehavior happens, even with the best-behaved kids.  When your child misbehaves, there are motivations for those behaviors (even if they are really frustrating for you).  Very often, there is something paradoxical going on unconsciously for the child that results in the misbehaving.. There are psychological theories that suggest that a child’s misbehavior happens, generally, because he or she wants to have a sense of belonging and a guaranteed place in one’s family. Additionally, a situation may happen where the child displays a series of bad behaviors.   When this occurs, the misbehavior is not so easily understood.         

                                                                                                                                                               frustrated parent with kids engaging in misbehavior

Rudolph Dreikurs was psychiatrist who adapted Alfred Adler’s holistic psychological theory to his work with understanding children’s behavior.  Dreikurs took the child’s entire environment into account when seeking to explain their behavior.   Dreikur’s provided reason to believe that a child misbehaves to achieve one of the following goals:
• Attention
• Power
• Revenge
• Display of inadequacy

Attention

A child believes he or she can belong only by having others pay attention to them. Some ways they can gain attention are by interrupting, clowning around, or in some cases be passive and not do their chores. A parent can recognize attention seeking by being aware of how they feel, for instance, you might feel annoyed or become impatient.

Power:

A child who is having a power struggle generally wants to be the boss or have their own way. He or she might actively throw a tantrum, make demands, and argue. The opposite is that he or she might be stubborn or do a task their parents want, but slowly and sloppily. You can recognize this goal by when you feel angry or determined to regain control.

Revenge:

A child who is displaying revenge might be rude or say hurtful things, as well as become violent. Sometimes a child will inactively give hurtful looks and refuse to cooperate. Typically, this type of child wants to get even. In result, the parent feels hurt and sometimes resentful. Furthermore, you might try to punish the child and their response is to seek further revenge.

Display of Inadequacy:

A child will act as if he or she is inferior, unskilled or unsuccessful towards something. They eventually believe they are helpless and want to reflect that they cannot be relied upon. A parent will become aware of this behavior when they begin to feel confused and helpless. Sadly, a parent will believe that there is nothing more that can be accomplished. When this happens, a child might respond passively or lack a response.

In summary, remembering these four points should help the parents to stay calm. It’s important to not blame yourself, remember it’s easy to have an opinion about parenting, but the most challenging thing you’ll ever do!

Please follow this blog for upcoming posts to help intervene and even prevent these unwanted behaviors as well as for so may other helpful life management strategies.