If your child is old enough, ask. If your child is aware of the issues affecting him or her, you're one step closer to fixing the problem. However, kids often don't know how to verbalize the real issues at play, which means its time for...
Parent Detective to come to the rescue!
The underlying principle/philosophy of Parent Detectives is that the child is displaying a certain behavior for a reason. The behavior meets a need, is their attempt to solve the problem, or is a way of expressing an emotion. The first job of the parent detective is to figure out the underlying need/problem/emotion. Then the Parent Detective can help their child find a better way to meet the need, solve the problem, or express their emotions.
As you investigate the clues, you might find some of these common issues:
- If your child is having separation anxiety, he or she may need a transitional object to ease the time away from you, and tools to manage anxious feelings.
- If your child is feeling left out or made fun of, maybe he or she needs to be empowered to learn how to stand up for himself/herself at school. One of my favorite resources is a book called Stick Up For Yourself. (You can find it on Amazon.)
- If your child is having trouble keeping up with the work and feels embarrassed, he or she may need both educational assistance and help to express his/her feelings in a healthy way.
- If your child is having sensory issues and is overwhelmed at school, he or she may need an Occupational Therapy assessment and a plan to address sensory needs.
As you're meeting your child's needs, remember the cardinal rule of Parent Detectives: punishing or rewarding is not as effective as meeting the need. The behavior will stop once its no longer needed.
Last week I shared about the basics of understanding difficult behaviors in my post "Beyond the Behavior." Check it out for additional insight. If you're still struggling, call a counselor for their assistance. Their fresh perspective and clinical insight can be invaluable in helping your child. As always, my contact information is listed under the information tab and I am happy to be of assistance.