Parenting young children, pre-teens, and teenagers can be tough - some days, really tough! And feeling frustrated, or knowing how to understand and address your child’s behaviour (and the developmental needs that strongly impact behaviour), is often not known by parents. It's not your fault. No one's given you 'the updates' about this massive job of raising human beings from scratch! But these updates are vital, and help explain a lot.
I've often said that the word 'parenting' is just too light a word for what you're really doing here. Raising children is a big job, and requires us to understand the vitals about human development. It's really tough to parent off-the-cuff, particularly when new (and sometimes unexpected) challenges show up. And, simple old-school advice from well-meaning family or friends who aren't experts in human development, or who still believe in outdated theories and best guesses, often don't help much either.
In the last 15 years, science has learned so much more about human development - particularly, how important brain development is during the first 23 years of life. In fact, we've learned two things. First, a child's behaviour is really a product of how well certain parts of his brain are 'building'. And, second, the type of parenting a child experiences has a major impact on the social, moral, and emotional functioning of the child. This means that without certain brain-building experiences from parents, a child may struggle to:
• Engage in appropriate behaviour, even when s/he 'should know better'.
• Show social and moral understanding, and show actions related to these.
• Achieve emotional and psychological regulation, either on his own or with adult support.
• Stay connected to your influence, even during tough experiences or developmental changes.
• Adhere to authority and follow rules, even when it's difficult.
• Feel attached to his primary grown-ups, and form healthy relationships with self or others.
Brain-Building Parenting Interventions
That's kind of a mouthful, but these brain-building parenting interventions impact both your child's longer-term functioning, and her present-day behaviour. And, they're often different from the strategies we're use to using.
Parents often tell me that 'time-outs', arbitrary rewards and consequences, grounding, explaining, lecturing, demanding or spanking don't help much, or don't have a long-term positive effect. In fact, we now know that using these methods routinely can actually stunt the social and emotional-regulating areas of the brain, further perpetuating problem behaviour.
Therefore, during parenting sessions, you'll learn the latest science regarding child development and behaviour, and the specific brain-based parenting tools, interventions, and responses that will enhance your child's psychosocial and vital attachment abilities. From this, you'll see more regulated behaviours in your child, because he'll be able to do these better. Not only that, but you'll feel like a much more effective parent, enjoy your parenting and your child more, and have greater ease in day-to-day life. These skills will teach you how to:
• Enhance your child's behaviour responses at home and at school.
• Communicate properly with your child for more cooperation and less opposition.
• Address aggression, and better emotionally-regulate your angry child.
• Address anxiety, and better emotionally-regulate your anxious child.
• Respond so much more effectively to your child's resistance, counter-will, and ‘tantrums’.
• Re-set problematic parent-child boundaries, that parents often aren't aware of.
• Implement attachment-safe discipline to build better social and moral understanding in your child.
• Build a better parent-child relationship, and a stronger connection with your child.
Parenting During Change
I also work with parents and children struggling during times of change. These might include:
• Separation and divorce
• Death or loss of a loved-one
• Family moves to a new home or city
• Expatriate family and 'third-culture kids' (TCK) issues
• New siblings
• Parents returning to work
• New schools and/or friendship groups
• Family-situation changes
• Parent mental or physical health issues