Imagine your own wide-eyed, innocent look. We know this is evidence of a parent who is trying to do better; looking for answers. For us, hearing from a genuine and open parent like yourself that is seeking an honest answer to a straight-forward question melts our hearts because it’s one that so many parents have.
We wonder, are you curious for an answer?
If you are, hop aboard! We’ll whisk you toward the beautiful horizon where the sun is shining and away from the darkness of rage and stuck-ness. Today we’re sharing the 3 precursors to shifting a child out of his fight or flight stress response and into his stay and play calm response.
There is actually no one trick to put out the fire of rage once a child is ignited. Yes, we promote speaking calm and “staying low” so as not to add fuel to the fire. However, the true magic that contributes to permanent change in your child’s behavior is to have three family components in place. These will essentially saturate a child’s brain with happy chemicals (e.g. serotonin and dopamine) so they’re less likely to trigger into a full blown, raging outburst.
- Visually post house rules.
When your house rules are concrete and clear for everyone to see it provides predictability, and predictability leads to internal security and calm. Plus, posting rules extinguishes the finger-pointing and shame that comes with “bad” behavior as all family members must follow them (and nobody is perfect). We want your child to feel part of a cohesive team.
2. Give your child a voice.
Remember to ask your child outside the moment of infraction what if felt like during a high-intensity moment. Tell him what your feelings/thoughts were. Ask him how you – and he – could do it differently next time in order for everyone to feel good, happy and safe. Next, rehearse his new suggestion as a way to strengthen your child’s brain with a new “map.” This gives him self-awareness and a sense of power in himself.
3. Catch your child in “success.”
Providing positive attention, praise and heartfelt appreciation for the things your child does well (e.g. walking away from a fight, clearing the dishes from the supper table, giving you a hug on the way out the door for school) floods the brain with happy chemicals and makes it more likely he will behave in this manner again – and again – and again…because it feels good. Increase his awareness of what he is good at so he develops a positive identity rather than getting bogged down in all the things he feels are “wrong” with him.
Putting these three family components into play at home will create greater awareness and self-regulation in your child, making it less likely he will make it into the hot zone of rage. I’m curious about what types of house rules and successes you have at home; please leave a comment to the questions below.
What is the rule your home can’t do without? Also, what do you say or do to catch your child in “success” when you notice him following this rule well on his own?
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