Does your child cry easily, get angry at a yes or a no, won't listen to instructions, sulk, shout or yell?
You are facing situations that demonstrate your child's ongoing brain development and it is important to be careful how you react to emotional storms (mood swings, outbursts).
Learning emotional regulation (emotion management) is a long process in child and adolescent development. It is now shown that the human brain is in an intense period of development and structuring until the age of 25 (Siegel and Payne Brison, 2016). So, when your child finds himself “making the bacon” on the supermarket floor when, just 5 minutes ago, you were having a big talk with him, that is confusing, isn't it? This is related to immaturity of different parts of his brain.
This may cause you yourself to feel angry, frustrated, impatient, or helpless not knowing how to handle the crisis. You may be tempted to want to repeat the rules, enforce a consequence, escalate, ignore, or take physical action to stop the behavior. All his reactions can be explained by beliefs that have been widespread sincemany years in the field of education and by the intensity of the feeling of powerlessness that the crisis situation arouses in the parent. With the advancement of scientific knowledge about brain development, we now know that its reactions are neurophysiological and NORMAL in the development of your child.
In order to develop the management of emotions in children and adolescents, new approaches advocate calming strategies in order to restore calm to the brain. A calm brain is able to learn, to make connections, to exchange with the adult and to find solutions as well as compromises.
What is meant by appeasement strategy?
How can we calm the brain of a child in crisis on a daily basis in order to see difficult behaviors decrease? At first, it is important that the adult looks at his own inner state and uses means to be himself in a calm state, since the emotional state of the brain of the adult directly influences that of the child.. To do this, the optimal strategies are:
- Taking a step back on the situation
- Decoding what we feel
These strategies will allow you to have a calm brain capable of analyzing the situation and you will therefore be able to help your child weather this storm. Once a state of calm has been regained, now what to do to support and soothe your child?
Provide a role model, “be a role model”Be calm yourself (be smiling, warm, reassuring, speak softly, step up of the child)
Offer hugs, be physically close to the child
Doing it, showing how “Come here, mom will help you put on your sweater”, “We will clean up the playroom together! »
Accompany in breathing, in visualization
To create a diversion, change ideasTo draw attention to something he likes.
Reflecting emotions, putting words to what is happening “You are angry”, “you are sad”, “you are disappointed”.
Offer a compromise to the child “Come here, you will be able to put on your sweater alone and mom will help you put on your pants. »
These intervention strategies will allow you to find a calmer child and, afterwards, you can discuss with him if the situation requires it. The way you will have to accompany him through the crisis will help him to continue the structuring of his brain. This is not a power struggle where the parent would lose; it's more about calming your child to help him recognize and properly manage his emotions.
If necessary, consult a psychoeducator to help you understand the child's behavior. He or she will be able to suggest interventions to put in place on a daily basis for him and your family.
YouYou can also consult a psychologist who will be able to assess and understand the emotional experience and needs of your child and thus propose various interventions promoting his well-being and that of your family.
Joint evaluation and monitoring of these two professions can also be considered in order to adapt the interventions to your child's reality and, subsequently, to find a better family balance.