You have a degree, years of experience as an Educator, OT/SLP, or Therapist, and a bunch of happy clients…but still you worry that you might offend parents with your words.
We can’t solve every problem the kiddos we’re working with experience on a daily basis, but we can increase their chances of a happy childhood if we learn communication techniques that inform and support parents’ growth.
Let’s not make mistakes that stem from good intentions but occur as a result of not being up-to-date with behavior principles.
From my own experience–along with talking to many of my colleagues and professional friends–I’ve discovered that there’s one mistake that seems to be made on a regular basis.
The #1 mistake I hear Child Professionals talking about all the time is giving parents the wrong answer as to why kids melt down, throw tantrums, and downright “lose it” at the end of a long day.
We tell parents that their kids “lose it” at home because they’re tired at the end of a long day and they “feel safe” with parents–the perfect environment for a colossal breakdown.
What provokes us to give this answer? Plain and simple…we don’t want to hurt parents’ feelings with the real reason as to why kids often “lose it.”
The correct answer is that kids melt down because of “fire in the brain”–a response that happens when a child’s “downstairs brain” gets stuck in fight or flight mode. When this happens, a child suddenly feels the need to take control and will only comply if it’s something he or she wants to do.
What’s so offensive to parents about that, you ask?
“Fire in the brain” often occurs due to parents unintentionally adding fuel to the fire. And because you’re a kind and sensitive professional, you see the dynamic but remain quiet about how they are accidentally feeding the problem they want to eliminate.
I get it. I know you’re worried about offending parents but here’s the thing…
If parents didn’t care, they wouldn’t be sitting in your office asking you for help.
Which is why, as a professional, it’s your responsibility to learn kind, honest, and compassionate language to help parents become aware of how their behavior may be contributing to their children’s meltdowns.
And it can be done in a way that’s useful, valuable, and effective for everyone!
All you need to do is teach the parents you work with not to “match their children’s fire.”
It begins with the parents’ understanding that they need to be calm and relaxed around their child. Once parents understand the power of calm, they can help their children through relaxation exercises, breathing exercises, or calming activities that help to control their fire.
The end result…happy, calm, and peaceful parents and kids.
I hope you found this information useful, and I really encourage you to give it a try the next time you meet with your clients. It’s a great tool to have on hand.
Speaking of tools, I’ve put together a Mad2Glad Parent Coaching Certification program that contains all of the tips, tools, and resources I use to truly make a difference in the lives of the families I work with.
Enrollment is open for 4-weeks twice per year — I encourage you to check out the program today!
If you schedule a complimentary Career Goals Conversation with me we can decide, together, if it’s a good fit. I hope to chat with you soon!