“Play is a uniquely adaptive act, not subordinate to some other adaptive act; but with a special function of its own in human experience.”
Families with children with behavioral disorders...
...may not remember how to play, have fun, and spend peaceful times with each other. Rather, energy is spent in repeating relationships.
When I step in to coach this type of family, who have forgotten, the concept of joy and family time is often painfully absent. Rather, focus is shaped amidst the turmoil and enormous energy spent caring for a child with difficult behaviors.
As parents practice new skills to calm their internal landscapes as well as the environments of their homes, they must also re-learn how to have fun. A vital part of healing the family is reintroducing fun, connective activities, joy and humor into the schedule. A new module in the Coaching Families With Special Needs In Behavioral Regulation provides practical information to help coaches and parents co-create a plan for repairing relationships through family fun.
The other day, when I was in town, I witnessed a shocking event. A funeral procession was slowly making its way down Main Street.. The hearse appeared to have engine trouble at the top of the hill. Suddenly, the back doors of the hearse burst open, and the coffin flew out the back of the vehicle! A few people screamed as the coffin skidded down the street and crashed into a pharmacy at the bottom of the hill. Remarkably, it came to a stop right in front of the pharmacist’s desk. In a flash the lid popped open, and the guy inside asked the pharmacist, “Doctor, doctor! Can you give me something to stop this awful coffin?”
NOTE: What just happened in your brain and body?
Some significant processes occurred in your neurophysiology that have the power to alter not only the way you feel, but also your perception and outlook on past, present, and future situations.
How does the joke relate to self-regulation and repairing family relationships?
[ctt template="5" link="ueYc6" via="yes" ]Laughter IS the best medicine. No, really! It’s true. We had a decent laugh over the joke I just told, and each of you are still benefiting from its effects. @parent_coach[/ctt]
Laughter and humor cause the brain to release ‘feel-good’ endorphins that flood bodies and minds with well-being. Laughter causes us to breathe deeper and fills our lungs and bodies with stress busting oxygen. The wonderful combination of endorphins and oxygen culminates in a feeling of happiness.
Studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic as recently as 2013, show that laughter and smiling relieves depression, anxiety, and helps the body to produce natural painkillers. Additionally, positive self-affirming thoughts, release neuropeptides that improve our immune systems and help us fight stress. This strikes at the heart of our topic.
Neuropeptides make it easier for us to cope in difficult situations. Here are the chemical reactions we WANT to occur more regularly in the brains and bodies of disorganized and dysregulated families and children. This is just the prescription families need to coax them back to emotional balance and relationship; only, they do not know if you are a parenting coach, who arrives to model and teach this concept.
[ctt template="5" link="bza94" via="yes" ]Now, here is the challenge. How do you coach the long-suffering, overwhelmed parents to initiate a plan to have fun while they are still suffering the after effects of secondary trauma and high stress? @parent_coach[/ctt]
Here are some of the challenges you face.
- Some parents do not believe they will ever have fun or smile again.
- Others ache to smile light-heartedly and long to regain some of their previous carefree lives.
- Some parents have convinced themselves that a strict schedule where the child accounts for every minute of the day is the only sane way to keep their child on the straight and narrow; therefore, they do not have time for fun.
- Others are resentful and angry because of the extreme difficulties a behavioral child brings to the family dynamic, resulting in radical changes in lifestyle.
- Parents, brothers and sisters have learned to live compartmentalized and disjointed lives in the chaos and conflict that sometimes ensues when living with a child with disruptive behaviors.
All of these caregivers may believe the simple pleasures of life are long lost. It is likely that none of them know how to break current ingrained negative patterns of interacting and bring family together again in playful ways.
Been There Too!
Referring to my personal experience, I recall feeling old, tired, depleted, and played out. (No pun intended!) However, the words of George Bernard Shaw are appropriate here:, “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”
We know that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and this is true for parents and kids alike. The ramifications of a life without the emotional glue of experiencing happiness, love and joyful interactions with those persons who mean the most to us are profoundly limiting.
So, how do we draw our hard pressed and pressured caregivers out of their old paradigms and beliefs and into the lighter side of life? Here is the four step secret formula to help families begin to have fun together, even while dark clouds linger.
- Administer fun in small measured daily doses.
- Monitor frequently for signs of heightened stress or conflict.
- Troubleshoot prevention, intervention, and exit and salvage strategies with parents should activities show signs of spiraling downward.
- Reflection of the effects on each family member is encouraged.
See also Behavioral Regulation 2 and Behavioral Regulation 3
My Family Coach didn't have cliche, immediate answers to my questions about managing a toddler's outbursts. Instead, she asked me more questions about values and viewpoints. When we finished the discussion, i realized I was in complete harmony with my parenting values. Her viewpoint allowed me to talk through my fears of parenting too strictly.
Every day in your families, you may operate from the perspective of doing the best you know how to do in dealing with the challenges and opportunities. That is so true for everyone, even your coach, who probably came to her profession because of similar experiences. Would you choose to work with a coach If you knew you could and would be...
- More effective in relationships,
- More productive with your time.
- Better focused on your goals
- More successful in communication
If you knew you could accomplish your goal, then you would alter your behavior to correspond with these insights. Your family coach supports your breakthrough and speeds up your learning curve.
You Are Limited By What You Do and Don't Know
The only access you ordinarily have to change and to influence your family comes from these two areas:
1. What you know
2. What you don’t know
In efforts to achieve more or be a better person, you might learn to do something better, or try a different way you heard or read about. You try again a strategy that worked for you before. This is all good. The problem is that it doesn’t stick. The small increments of progress are just that….small, yet they can be powerful if they give you a new skill, relevant understanding, and a next step.
That is where the Family Coach enters the scenario. Few of us can make the changes personally we desire without help. We need feedback, another viewpoint, advice, a listener, a person who questions how we will get there and what will we have accomplished in our parenting.
Here is the success secret that few parents know:
Extraordinary growth comes from outside the area called “you don’t know” – your blind spots.
Imagine the big bubble right outside of your reach filled with a vast array of unusual, new ideas and advice you seek. However, you could be blind to the giant bubble of answers.
Very few family coaches will tell you what to do. In one sense, that rips off your self-discovery process for yourself and all the family members.
Instead, coaches listen, feel, observe, and ask to help you go to the inner bubble of personal knowing ---THAT is your unknown, unseen wisdom waiting to rise to the top.
You wouldn’t let your child climb on to a bike he doesn’t know how to ride without helping him balance, pedal and practice until he has a feel for the bike.
You stay balanced with a family coach until you feel the thrill of success just like your child careens downhill on his bike with hands in the air, “Wheeeeee.”
That is the thrill of accomplishment. Your child felt joyful at self-discovery, As a parent, you go through self-discovery too.
Success habits should not be set in stone because you constantly evolve. As you grow and change so do your habits because you will be redefining your goals and plans.
To create success habits, one essential is that you know what you want to achieve and why you want it. When you feel confident in your “why,” then you can make your commitment to creating it. This requires you to understand how you will change and how this affects your daily life.
You create a plan and there is an end goal.
You evaluate your plan every day to ensure that you are on the right path.
Following these two steps are prime examples of successive steps. Success habits require commitment and focus. To maintain these, you need a positive mindset and to be emotionally invested in achieving your goal. Without these, you could lose interest and momentum. Eventually, you might allow negative self-talk and behaviors to interfere with your practice and plans.
If your end goal changes then put the new goal into your plan and re-check every step to ensure that you remain committed and able to achieve the goal.
It may be that your original goal was to wake at 6.00 am every day as this would give you 2 extra hours before the start of your normal working day’s routine. Waking early is a success habit adopted by the majority of successful people as they understand the importance of time and routine. You may find that 2 hours is not enough time to complete the tasks that you feel are essential for reaching your goal and that you feel stressed and inefficient instead of positive and well planned.
You could re-plan and go to bed slightly earlier so that you can get up at 5.00 am. This would give you an extra hour in the morning to complete the tasks you feel are essential for a successful start to your day. Looking at these small changes in routines and not hesitating to make necessary shifts truly serves to strengthen your habits.
Your day can start in a positive way. This sets you up for success from the start. Develop a morning routine that works for you. It should include a healthy nutritious breakfast, as well as activity that will provide positive motivation for the day ahead. This will probably involve Planning different activities such as exercise, reading, listening to audio recordings, studying, yoga, self-hypnosis, visualization or using positive affirmations.
What works for you? Success routines take trial and error and also involve using different methods depending on the habit you are trying to create and the end goal. Being flexible is crucial. Flexibility ensures that when a change occurs, you view it in a positive light, accept it and go with it.
As you change and your business evolves, your routines may also change. You will want to evaluate which success habits you need. Don’t be afraid to change them, as the changes will create more commitment and focus. For your ultimate goal to be achieved you need to undertake the constant evaluation of your mindset, your habits, strengths, weaknesses, motivation, and goal. This constant re-evaluation will help you create success habits that work for you and not against you.
Success habits should not be set in stone. In fact, they constantly evolve because you will be redefining your goals and plans.
For you to be successful in creating habits, know what you want to achieve and why you want it. You need to committed to creating it and this requires you to understand why it is important to you. How it you change as a result? How will your life evolve?
Success habits require commitment and focus. To maintain both, create a positive mindset and to be emotionally invested in achieving your goal. It is too easy to lose interest and momentum without those goals lingering in your thoughts. If your end goal changes then put the new goal into your plan and re-check every step to ensure that you remain committed and able to achieve the goal.
It may be that your original goal was to wake at 6.00 am every day as this would give you two extra hours before the start of your normal working routine. Waking early is a success habit adopted by the majority of successful people as they understand the importance of time and routine. You may find that 2 hours is not enough time to complete the tasks that you feel are essential for reaching your goal and that you feel stressed and inefficient instead of positive and well planned.
You could re-plan and go to bed slightly earlier so that you can get up at 5.00 am. This would give you an extra hour in the morning to complete the tasks you feel are essential for a successful start to your day.
Start your day in a positive way! This sets you up for success from the start. Developing a morning routine will work for you.
Do you a healthy nutritious breakfast?
Do you have an exercise routine?
Do you read inspiring affirmation for your positive mindset?
Do you hold a specific goal in your mind that represents the day’s accomplishments?
Do you have life activities for reducing stress and promoting positivity, such as exercise, reading, listening to audio recordings, yoga, self-hypnosis, visualization or using positive affirmations?
It is important that you find what works for you depending on the habit you are trying to create and the end goal. Being flexible is crucial. Flexibility ensures that when change occurs you view it in a positive light, accept it and go with it.
As you change and grow, creating the success is so deeply satisfying. For your ultimate goal to be achieved, continue to evaluate your mindset, habits, strengths, motivation, and goal. This constant re-evaluation will help you create success habits that work for you and not against you.
Parents, Coaches, and Consultants can teach you to consciously choose your attitude each day. Would that help you manage stressors and feel better?
If you're like most people, you may tend to let circumstances choose and shape your attitude. Have you forgotten your personal power to shift out of the stressful, painful, or hegative circumstances.
Instead, choose your mood and attitude for the day. Heck, choose a positive mindset for the whole week and see what spontanous changes appear.
We're in a good mood as long as we get up on time, the kids cooperate, get to school on time,and the car starts without a problem. Then there are traffic jams, heavy work load, and systems to juggle throughout the day. Yep, this system can work fine as long as everything runs smoothly in our lives, which is does not.
But that's not always the case, is it? Situations don't always adhere to our expectations. Accidents happen. Delays occur. Spouses and bosses can be difficult to please. Vehicles break down. Kids may resist our efforts to keep the schedule running smoothly.
What happens to our attitude then? If we don't make the effort to consciously choose a positive attitude, we run the risk of developing a negative one at random.
How would our lives change if we consciously chose a positive attitude each day? For starters, we'd feel much happier about our lives. We'd feel more motivated about pursuing our dreams because we'd believe in the possibilities for making them a reality. We'd be able to enjoy the time spent with our friends and families more, because we'd want to share our joy with others. We'd feel strong and empowered in our ability to do anything we set our minds to. We'd be able to overcome challenges with ease because we'd have a strong belief in our own skills and abilities. We'd be able to love deeply and completely without fear of rejection or betrayal. We would pause to enjoy the smaller, more precious moments in life, without feeling pressured to do more, be more, or prove our worthiness.
Wow, it sounds awesome, doesn't it? Is it really possible to feel that way all the time? Yes, but probably not in the way you're imagining it.
Choosing a positive attitude is a process.
We don't just choose it once and expect everything to be perfect from that moment on. We will still experience setbacks, delays, accidents, frustrations, arguments, fatigue, and fear. The secret is how we choose to react to these experiences. Do we want to let them ruin our day, or do we choose to pick ourselves up and look hopefully to the future again? We do have the power to choose.
You may be asking what is the point of a positive attitude. If we'll still experience negative circumstances, why bother with choosing a positive attitude? Ah, that's the true beauty of the creative process. What we choose to focus on the most, we create in our lives.
By choosing a positive attitude each day, we are actually attracting more positive experiences, and reducing the likelihood of negative experiences. You may have noticed that each experience often determines the quality of the next one, causing a chain reaction in our lives. If one little thing goes wrong, it can throw off our plans for the rest of the day. In this context, it's easy to see how a positive attitude would be powerful. Rather than allowing one little thing to ruin our day, we would be able to shrug it off and continue on without a hitch.
Over time, this resiliency begins to strengthen and empower us, which will show through in our demeanor. We begin attracting people and experiences that more closely match our attitude, and our lives eventually transform into more positive, fulfilling expressions of joy.
All of it starts with attitude. This is a process, simply focus on developing a stronger awareness of your attitude moment to moment in your daily experiences, and begin choosing a more positive one more often. It takes time to realize the full benefits of this type of mindset, but it is time well-spent.
Before you know it, you'll be one of those people you used to admire for their tenacity and strength, and your life will transform in amazing ways.
Good communication is a key to understanding your child better. Togther, parenting coaches and parents review the steps to maintaining a harmonious relationship that keeps the parent-child relationship healthier and flourishing.
Firstly, be genuinely familiar with your child's language especially during times of conflicts and confrontations.
Familiarize yourself with your child's words, the tone of voice, and emotional responsivity. Does the chid's speech tone suggest a specific emotion like anxiety, shyness, fear, or the need to dominate or be shy?
Secondly, learn how to accept the full range of your child's emotionality.
- How do you take the chid's overall behavior?
- Can you receive the emotions and feelings of your child?
- As you succeed in understanding his feelings, you are better able to guide him to express his unpleasant and unlikely feelings appropriately.
- Encourage a child's real feelings in conversation. Suppression of emotions and feelings are not healthy.
Thirdly, I have observed that not each parent shows a speaking child the courtesy of attention. Interrupting, bombarding the child with questions, or flinging anger and accusation signals that the child maintains her distance. Explain and make him realize that interrupting any speaker is considered rude by some adults.. This is also a way of instilling him some part of good values.
Fourthly, always be approachable. As much as possible, help your child know that she can approach you and not to hesitate to discuss any problem or requests. If the child realizes that open communication between him and you is always possible, imagine how much respect your child has for you!
Fifthly, ask questions so you gather further information, but not in an interrogating manner. Try to ask questions that solicit honest and direct answers from your child. How do you act and speak to your child, so that she feels confident with you.
Lastly, provide useful, helpful and assuring responses to your child's questions. Apply the principles of reflective listening. This way, you could have a clear and actual grasp of what it is your child is trying to tell you. Reflect on his words and the manner by which he talks. Understanding your child entails setting a good pattern of open communication between you both.
One sensitive issue parents contend with is their child's temperament. Understanding children's inborn traits is a key to better parenting and happier children, especially in the development years.
Before my daughter was born, I imagined her to be a specific type of a good-natured child. As she grew up, I realized my always viewing her as good-natured was a pre-conceived idea I had. Her childhood moods meandered through creative, sensitive, emotional, and even defiant in the early teen years. And she was good natured about most events in her life.
Understanding her temperament enabled me not to blame my self for her situations. Instead, I learned strategies to deal with difficult circumstances or conditions. One point of discipline I followed was to diffuse challenging situation so as not to escalate into major conflicts that might cause harm.
Temperament information helps you see how your child learns, responds, reacts, and behaves. Through the earlier years of development, you see reactions begin to form into a pattern of values, needs, and fears:
+++++ One child needs closeness, touch, and assurance from parents.Thus, he values following his parents, climbing in their laps and being cuddled or held.
His fear of not having the needs met, or when his needs are not met, he feels, hurt, lost, or angry.
+++++ Another youngster values being by herself--independence.
She plays with her dolls and likes doing so by herself.
Her need to learn through trial an error means that she pushes parents away sometimes with the familiar, "I can do it."
+++++ Children, who readily and quickly shift, show adaptive temperaments. They learn more by doing and practicing.
+++++ Children, who have slower-to-warm temperaments, learn by watching and rehearsing internally.
+++++ Children's challenging temperaments cause us to regroup:
- Ask what is the child going through?
- Is this a temperament trait or learned behavior that needs to change?
- Are the child's needs being met?
- Are fears causing issues?
- Has the child's value been diminished in any way?
This child views the world through optimistic eyes, adapts quickly and maintains positivity well. He is a natural learner, eats and sleeps regularly (has no trouble sleeping), is pleasant and cheerful, and displays a low-intensity mood.
Because this child feels deeply in certain situations, he has few significant emotional outbursts. This type comprises about 40% of all people.
The Feisty/Difficult/Spirited group of children comprises about 10% of the population. This grouping is the opposite of the flexible children. Feisty children are slow to adapt to the routines: napping, eating, homework, quiet time. Moreover, bowel movements are not regular. The spirited child has preferences for parents to discover and manage. On the hand, the child shows his mastery for specific tasks.
The feisty child has tantrums, is fussy, and can be unpleasant in disagreements. With high energy, this child explores with intensity and can get into mischief, On the other hand, he or she is bursting with energy and explores the surrounding and people intensely.
The third general temperament type is aptly called Slow-To-Warm, and 15% of the population belongs to this category. Slow to warm types are shy or highly-sensitive persons (which they sometimes are. They watch their world and usually observe on the outside of things before joining. Their internal clock is disrupted easily and shows up in irregular sleeping, feeding and other personal habits. This child seems to be always enjoying things or doing them at his own sweet pace.
The rest of the 35% of the population are combinations of several temperaments. They exhibit traits of all three temperament types and cannot be categorized into a single trait pattern. The feature they share is that they have characteristics of all three temperaments.
In all these temperament types, you will also find yours. Understanding children and their temperaments include understanding your own. Doing so will open your eyes to the many areas where you can connect to that of your children, or whether you are compatible with each other or not.
Parenting the whole child implies that we honor our children’s wholeness while we dissect and discuss the parts of the whole—physical body, mind, emotions and spirit. It may indeed be paradoxical, but it’s our way of understanding how the parts contribute to the whole and our job if we work with parents, families, and children.
We consider our children’s wholeness when we:
- Bear in mind the emotional and mental factors that contribute to strep throat.
- Look to a biochemical problem associated with a child’s temper
- Consider the negative self-talk and thoughts that can float around in the head of a depressed teen.
- Regard childhood patterns from a holistic perspective. These can include a child who falls down all the time, one who has allergies, one who is shy and sensitive, one who doesn’t want to be touched, and so on. We want to help, but do we help their biochemistry, their behavior or their spirit?
- Think about how children spend their time, and if their activities are balanced between stimulation and quiet.
Bundles of Energy
The foundation of whole-child parenting is understanding that our children are bundles of energy in the form of thoughts, physical activity, emotional expression and spirit. Rather than thinking about managing our children, think about managing their energy.
The energy of the body needs food, touch, air and water. The energy of the emotions needs positive input like optimism, smiles and support. The energy of thought needs inspiration and imagination, or it gets bored. The energy of the spirit needs connection, faith, compassion and quiet. It needs calm moments of awareness.
Most of us know these things and have our own intuitive ways of mothering and fathering our children. In fact, the joy of parenting the whole child is discovering how much you already know and do. The ease of whole-child parenting is that when one avenue doesn’t work, there is always another way. For example, because we know that the nature of emotional energy can be chaotic, we can find several ways to structure and channel positive emotional energy with our child. We might follow schedules, share meals, read books or see a heart-warming movie.
A Soul Living in a Child’s Body
Thinking of a child as an “energy bundle” helps us take our parenting less personally when a child screams, “I hate you.” What we want to take to heart is that this soul is living with us in a child’s body. We are responsible for helping this child to develop in the best, most fulfilling way possible.
Parenting is really about educating the mind and body so our children are happy, successful and healthy in body and soul. Working with the mind-body connection is the foundation for parenting the whole child.
If you read this post till the end, you probably are kind of person who wants to help folks live to their maximum potential. Your hunger for having an influence on people forced you to read this article and much more that you already read. It’s just the right time to take a step further and become a certified parent coach and give your purpose a meaning. Have a look at our coaching certification and decide which one suits your talents best..
See also Coaching Whole-Parent and Whole Child 1 and Coaching Whole-Parent and Whole Child 2
Parent-Family Coaching Programs