Category

Behaviour

Dear Alison, I know you’ll have effective ideas for me because I remember how good your workshop ones were. You helped me see how important the connection with my son is. I would like to move a step forward by asking specifically – How do we as parents and caregivers adjust to and cope with children who are new to the school system? Those children who come home utterly exhausted, showing new behaviors or emotions that have never been present before. How can we guide them and be completely available to their needs when we only see them just in the evening? The needs we aren’t available to fulfill during the day. It can be hard to accept the changes in personality and behaviors in our children when we have laid a strong foundation already. I’ve worked really hard at it. He has a fantastic teacher and there is great communication…

My ten-year-old doesn’t want to do his part. Dear Alison, We’ve got a debate in my house…kids and chores. What are your views? I understand and agree with both sides. 1. Let kids be kids while they can.  2. They should be doing chores to learn responsibility. Is there a happy balance? Our kids are between 2 and 10. The two-year old loves to help. Not the most productive but I never discourage her. I want my kids to view chores as something that just gets done because they are a member of this family. I don’t want chores to be a battle. How do I engage my oldest son in work around the house? Thanks, Jesse McTaskmaster Teaching Life Skills Dear Jesse McTaskmaster, Great questions we’ve debated in our home, as well. I’m glad to see this topic of chores being highlighted online in recent years, as important to…

My daughter started acting out of character. After several hours of grumpiness, and what my dad would have called “sass,” I had had enough of feeling like a punching bag. Repeatedly, I fought the urge to take her behaviour personally. (Because feeling walked on is about me. Her mood is about her.) Yet, I was so close to asking, “What’s your problem anyway?!” simply out of frustration. Granted, I really DID want to know what the problem was–so I could help her find a solution–but my snarky tone would not have invited a loving exchange. Instead, I took a slow breath in, and a slower breath out; to give my nervous system the message that all was well. “There’s no emergency here. Her behaviour is only what I see on the surface,” I reminded myself. “What need might she be communicating?” “Observe. Listen.” Breathe some more. Okay, so now I…

When The Whining Starts It’s close to bedtime here. My kindergartner comes partway down the stairs to tell me about how he hurt himself. He used that whiny voice that grates on a parent’s nerves so easily. “Why is he telling me this?? It’s only a little bump!” I found myself starting to say in my head. Flashback to when I first started parenting–and even way back to when I was teaching public school–the typical recommended response was to discourage the “whining” and “attention seeking” by reassuring the child he’s fine or even ignoring it all together. The idea was that if they got no attention (i.e. reinforcement) of that behaviour, then eventually the behaviour would be extinguished. Kinda makes sense, right? Uh, yeah. Maybe for dogs. Guess what? It never extinguished the behaviour in students nor my kids. If anything, it became more frequent! And I’ll tell you why.…

If only our kids would cooperate with us, our job would be so much easier, right? I get how frustrating it can be. I also know that if we are not careful how we gain their cooperation, we can create future problems for ourselves and our kids.

These last few weeks have been a big adjustment for our family, as I imagine it has for many others. We have had a major work change for one member, public school starting for another and our youngest has started his first foray into public, group childcare. Needless to say, we have seen more than a few effects from these big changes. For our youngest, it has been difficult adjusting to being away from his home and family. It became apparent through his meltdowns at home and his clinging, begging and crying at drop-off, that he was struggling. Add to that, he outright told us that he did not like daycare! We made sure there was no actual problem with the choice of childcare venue, of course. But since he was drawing on every argument and method of convincing us that a small human could muster, and every day he…

We all get triggered. There are behaviours that set our teeth on edge or make us feel as if the Incredible Hulk is about to bust out and trash the house in a green rage. Here are just some of the things that drive lots of parents crazy: Whining Hitting another child Sass Refusing to cooperate Sounding ungrateful What sends one person into a fit though, may not bother another. That is because the behaviour itself does not cause our emotions. It is how we interpret that behaviour. This interpretation stems from the beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world. Digging deep here is how we weaken the power these triggers hold on us. We know we may be getting triggered when we feel Angry Embarrassed Judged Anxious Sad Indignant These are some pretty powerful emotions. You may know from reading or watching other content that I have produced,…

A parent asks: My five-year old doesn’t want to participate in music class. He doesn’t want to participate in anything – last year it was karate – and when he doesn’t want to participate, he says he “doesn’t feel well”. I don’t know what to do. Alison answers: You are not alone. In fact, my own family has experienced this very thing. This issue can cause exasperation for parents and a lot of stress for the child. If not addressed in a positive way, it can cause a rift between the parent and child. This rift can actually begin to erode the child’s trust in the parent that his or her parent will help when they are struggling. Obviously, this is not something us loving parents would ever intend to do! It is important to note here that children who feel connected with their parent will want to please them.…

Meltdowns may be a fact of life with small children, but the Terrible Two’s are not a life sentence. Knowing what our little ones are trying to communicate goes a long way in managing meltdowns. When they are crying or throwing themselves on the floor in an epic tantrum, they are indeed communicating. When they are little, this is normal for their developmental age. They may be telling us they are hungry, tired, bored, overstimulated or a variety of other legitimate needs. They may also need to vent some overwhelming emotions. Current neuroscience tells us that when any of us are flooded by emotion, we are incapable of logical reasoning. Have you ever had your spouse try to fix your ‘problem’ before you had a chance to share your feelings about it? Kids feel the same way yet their brains are far less developed than ours, particularly in regards to…