Are you the type of parent who is successful at handling everything except your child’s behaviors?

If you have an intense brain child you already know that yelling, spanking and demanding time-outs does nothing to transform your little guy or gal from naughty to nice.  Ever wondered why?  Allow us to shed some light.

An intense brain child is operating from the “downstairs” portion of the brain, which is responsible for survival and, accordingly, floods the body with fight or flight stress chemicals.  When this occurs, your child does not have access to the ” upstairs” brain, which is responsible for self-control and making good decisions, so behaviors have the intensity of being in the primitive mode of survival.  Kids who are Gifted or have a diagnosis of Autism, ADHD, ODD, FASD or most other combinations of letters to indicate needing extra support can be helped with a holistic style of discipline that respects their brain behaviors.

You might be thinking, “Yes, that’s what we need.  Discipline that actually works!”  We can help.

The root of the word discipline is “to teach.”  Unfortunately, the negative side of discipline is most wide-spread in the parenting world and commonly triggers kids into intensity.  Shaming, sending a child way, using physical aggression and over-teaching with logic create fear and a physiological need to retaliate.  Alternatively, teaching your child what to do rather than not to do will tip the scale toward happy chemicals rather than tripping the behavior trigger.

To illustrate, imagine, you’re playing in your backyard kiddie pool with your daughters, Emily and Clare.  As you help 1-year-old Emily keep her head above water while she swims in circles on her tummy, 5-year-old Clare decides to climb out to play on the nearby swingset.  You’re having a good time with Emily motor-boating around but hear Clare demanding your attention.  “Mom, give me a push.  I want a push.  Mom!  Mom! Mom!”   Instead of calming down from hearing “Please wait” Clare becomes furious and charges back into the pool, disrupting everyone’s fun until you have to exit with both girls in tow.

Try this discipline strategy instead: teach your child what to do

Immediately when Clare first leaves the pool tell her what to expect, for example, “Emily and I are going to be in here for 10 minutes.  You can play on the swing alone or wait until we get out.”

Anticipating challenging behaviors and teaching your child how things are going to look is a suggestive way to keep them focused on the positive and in the “upstairs” brain.  Turn struggle to success as you shift your intense brain child from mad to glad.

As always, we love to hear about your experience on the parenting journey so leave a comment below. The more specific you can be the better.  After all, something you share could make a profound difference to someone else in our community!

Have you ever found your child to be stuck in the “downstairs” brain?  If so, what worked or didn’t work?

Thank you, as always, for reading and joining in.

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