Frequently Asked questions
Below are a list of questions we have answered for parents in the past that we think could help other parents:
We are so sorry to hear this, and can already say that by getting in touch and asking yourself the question, it shows you are doing a great job!
We can often feel that the way our child thinks, feels or behaves is our fault and it really isn’t.
Yes, we can model certain things to our children, but unless we are literally the only person or thing they see in life then we cannot be completely responsible for who they are!
Our children make choices from the moment they are born.
We also need to remember that none of us are perfect, NONE of us!
Of course, our children will pick up things from us, some things we may wish they hadn’t. But they will also pick up on lots of great things too!
When we are anxious, we can often be very empathic people, sensitive to other peoples needs (often at a cost to our own which we can work on!) Anxiety is not catching, or something we are born with, so the good news is, we can make changes towards feeling less anxious for both us, and our children!
Our advice would be to get support for yourself, so that you can work on feeling less guilty and responsible for how your child feels. Then you will be able to see more clearly what they need, and how you can help, as we often end up in a cycle where we can feed each other’s anxieties!
In order to show empathy to your children, which will help them feel calmer and more grounded, you need to be empathic with yourself first!
It must make things very stressful for you as a family, and we are so glad you got in touch, as we find that often when trying to manage our child’s behaviour, it can feel quite instinctive to do the opposite of what we might recommend!
You will need to trust us on this, and we always say give it a try, especially if what you are doing right now isn’t working, because what do you have to lose? We developed a number of systems and approaches to help give parents structure to managing behaviour.
You will find many videos on our Facebook pages and groups but give us a shout if you can’t find them!
If your child has outbursts and they seem angry or frustrated, then the best way to deal with this is through empathy, which can feel so unnatural when we just want them to behave, it can be more instinctive to want to tell them off and get angry and frustrated ourselves. We recently wrote a blog about understanding the difference between anger and rage (here). Also make sure you subscribe to our newsletter (on the right hand side bar or at the bottom of the page) as we give away a free download of our LEAVE approach Ebook and this will explain a structured way in which to show empathy in these situations. This will start to enable your child to regulate their feelings better and more effectively communicate what they need!
One of the things you can do from now going forward is to recognise and praise the things your son IS doing that you appreciate. However small they may be. Getting dressed in the morning without a fuss for example. It can help us focus on the positives rather than feeling overwhelmed by the negatives.
We all do this at times so our children will too. It can be so hard as a parent to hear our children, who we love and admire, be so harsh on themselves!
However, saying to them ‘no you are not’ or ‘don’t say that’ will not necessarily help.
If they are particularly critical at times, this may indicate that they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed about something, so rather than focusing on what they have said, ask if everything is ok, or how they are feeling at that time.
They may be overthinking to avoid how they are feeling. It’s always important to consider which emotional development stage your child is at. You can access these under the files section (on the left hand side) of our free private support group on Facebook (here), this may help explain what is going on for your child. For example, your son is 8. At this age he is in stage 5 – skills and structure, and some of the development here is around learning to be ‘good enough’, practising thinking and doing, developing internal controls as well as testing ideas and values, so it’s no wonder they can be experienced as being critical and harsh at times, as they haven’t quite found their settled place with all of this.
It’s important to encourage him to think for himself, but also let him know that you are there for him when he gets distressed and overwhelmed. Talk Talk Talk!