Top critical review
Poorly organized book, but in a nut shell: Calm, Teach/Redirect
Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2019
CONNECT = Help calm the kid down, sooth, safe, loved and supportive. Use empathic voice so they feel understood and listened to. Soft facial expressions. Stay at or below eye level. Gently touch them. Acknowledge feelings as real and important, even if you don’t feel they are. “You really wanted to watch another TV show. Are you feeling sad or mad? Yes, that is hard. I get it. I’m right here and understand.” Smile. The child only moves back to balance and regulation after the experience and they believe your empathy and connection at a deep level. Kids misbehave because they cannot control their emotions, not because they do NOT want to. The behavior is the message that they don’t have the skills that is causing the frustration or anger.
TEACH/REDIRECT = (The child MUST be calm before starting this.) Explain what happened, or let the kid do so, discover together. Redirect toward better behavior and decision-making, and talk about other strategies to try next time a similar situation comes up. Hold them accountable for their behavior, including making things right and engaging in appropriate behavior/repairs. Have a “Re-Do”. Success relies heavily on our being calm and attuned to his feelings. Teach them that they can tolerate discomfort. Show them and tell them you have complete faith in their ability. Children must always be held accountable and respectful even if the kid is stuck in bad feelings. You can stop destructive behavior and remove the child before you teach/redirect. Do not focus on punishment but on teaching. Teach kids to repair after conflict-teach them to be responsible.
LEARN to CONTROL ANGER = What are other BETTER ways they can express that anger. Teach them to become aware the moment when they get upset, pause and then use calming techniques. There is nothing wrong with getting upset, it is normal. How we express that anger is important. And how quickly we calm ourselves down is important. Teach them to use calming techniques: put hand on stomach and heart and listen to it and calm both down. Slow breathing. Count to ten. Have a cigarette. Body awareness.
Roll play trigger situations with your child can develop skills. Teach them resilience: the ability to bounce back when life’s inevitable problems and struggles arise Roll play or play games so the child loses, and get the kids to use these skills then. Practice small frustrations and move to more difficult situations. Know the triggers that cause your child to imbalance. Notice how long it takes for the child to calm down. Recognize and congratulate small accomplishments. Let them wrestle with indecision, discomfort, discouragement and disappointment. Do not rescue them from these, our job is to walk them through their difficult moments with connection and empathy, to be active participants in the problem-solving. If we push them too hard before they are ready it can backfire, making them more fearful.
Kids need play time. Avoid excessive electronics! Kids need connection/game time with family/friends-critical for their emotional and neurological success. Kids need physical time-aerobically. Get your children into many social interactions, very important for human brain development and health-for the rest of their life-even as an adult. Long term isolation is very unhealthy. Constant hours of TV or internet watching or reading books for hours on end is unhealthy. Stay connected socially.
Withdrawal – Stress behavior. Due to social contact, new situations, feeling uneasy, lack of self-confidence. Calm, reassure and redirect. Roll play for practice. Listen to what is NOT said. Body language.
Empathy: Understand the perspective of another, help or take action to make things better. Ask questions like “Why do you think that baby is crying?” or “That woman wasn’t very nice to us, was she? Do you think something happened that made her feel mad today?” Teach kids to recognize other people’s point of view. Roll play. Avoid, “You should care more about…” Bring attention to victims with your children, discuss the event or situation. Teach the child to apologize empathically, not just “I’m sorry.” But “I can see how you must feel sad that I pushed you down the stairs and that was very scary for your, I am sorry and won’t do that again.” Children are selfish, self-centered and can be taught to be caring and compassionate for others, it takes time and practice. Do not overact to a selfish child. Live in the now, correct in the now, not something that happened hours, days, weeks ago. Let that go and only “live in the now”. Children will relapse into being selfish. Never tell a child, “You will never learn to…”
Parents who come from bad relationships/families can learn and use these techniques on their children and on themselves. Parents can and should learn to use empathy toward everyone including themselves. Modeling the empathy to the child is very important. The brain changes through repeat.
Sound decision making – get your kids to do this on their own as much as possible by enabling choice. Young children get choice between two good decisions, but keep pushing dilemmas to challenge them. Why did you make that choice? Why did you feel that way? Why don’t you think you’ll do well?
Recognize and celebrate all the small successes in life everyday!!!!