Early Behavioral Theories
By Deborah Beasley
The groundwork that laid the early theories for our current understanding of treating, and parenting children with emotional, psychological, and developmental disorders is about 60 years old. [ctt template="5" link="9SWqh" via="yes" ]In the last thirty years, research in the areas of trauma, stress, PTSD, and the child’s developing brain has intensified through the dedication of the superstars of the world of trauma, children, and affect-regulation @parent_coach[/ctt]
Noteworthy names include:
• John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, for their work in early parent child attachment. (Download John-Bowlby link for PDF.)
• Allen Shore for his extensive contemporary work in affect-regulation
• Peter Levine, Bruce Perry, and Bessel van der Kolk for their unstoppable research and discovery in the effects of trauma on the neurobiological and social-emotional development of children.
Their collective, groundbreaking, work is the sound philosophy of this training, backed by the science of neurobiology and neuropsychology.
[ctt template="5" link="RK_37" via="yes" ]We now know that the healing path for children and families with emotional and behavioral difficulties rests on the firm foundation of these principles: @parent_coach[/ctt]
1. Healthy relationship and attachment between the parent and child as its pivotal point.
2. Understanding affect-regulation and brain development as the fulcrum of healing in the family.
Our relationship-focused model combines the best strategies and methods of all other approaches. The results we seek in this coaching/parenting model are
• To support and maintain a healthy relationship between the parent and child and unity in the family.
• To respect the unique cultural differences in family composition, and
• To identify and build upon the individual strengths and qualities of parent and child.
This model uses the best practices of current behavioral, cognitive, sensorimotor and interpersonal approaches, as well as traditional wisdom and related modern science, to create a path to healing which best fits the circumstances and behavioral needs of individual families. We use what is usable within the context of a healing relationship and discard the rest.
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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.
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
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