Friday, March 11, 2016

Do you have a defiant child or teen? I have a little meltdown strategy....

So, Madonna had a custody dispute with her ex-Ritchie over their son's refusal to live with his Mum anymore.

So it went to court.

At the basis of the argument, would be the rationale... 'Does a 15 year old get to decide his fate?"

Yes?  No?

Let's look at the assumptions behind this argument:

1.  That the mother has a right to parent a child?
2.  A father has a right to parent a child?
3. The child has the right to tell one or both parents which parent they prefer to reside (predominately) with?

Let's look at the behaviours behind these assumptions.

Would Madonna have taught/ shown her son that he was:
  • very special
  • his opinion was valid
  • that he could do, be or have anything he wanted in this world.
Madonna may be able to say, yes, she has taught her son some of these realties.  Or, maybe we can assume that Rocco has seen his Mum's mega success and what behaviours she uses to take what she wants, when she wants it, because that's how highly motivated people roll.  

She may have taught her son that it is ok to ask for something, even if it hurts someone else's feelings.  Or maybe, even despite it.  Or maybe, even to hurt someone's feelings.

Should she go back through time and change anything - HELL NO!!!!  That's ridiculous.  Children are sent to us as our greatest teachers and our best reflection of the reality that we create around ourselves.

So before we judge our children's behaviour, or force them into a state of submission or compliance, could it be helpful to see what our children may be seeing and replicating in our lives?  Because there is only one person I can change in this world... me.  I am the only person who I can control.  And that is a fundamental truth.  As it should be.

So, a parent who says, "I have been through so much, I deserve so much better..." will be given the ironic manifestation of a child that grows and says to that parent, "I deserve so much better.... (than you Mum/ Dad.)"

Is that wrong?  No.  Nothing is really wrong or right, if we look a the assumptions behind most of the arguments that we have with each other (or with ourselves, in our head).

So I teach something special at Australian day care centres as a strategy to this defiance - otherwise know as a 'tantrum' in the early education world.  If you have a toddler having a meltdown, you have to try this, get down on their level and say, "Yes, this made you angry.  Gosh dang it.  Stomp and shout.  Let it out...."

Or another great example, "Suzy has the shovel and bucket, and you wanted it!  I know how much you were enjoying it.  Oh no!  You can have a cry, and a shout.  That's ok, let it out!"

No judgement, no lectures on the virtues of sharing to a two year old that has just pee'd their pants, is dehydrated, and wants a hug or a cool fan but doesn't have the words to tell you.  Leave those lessons for later when they are dry, cool, hydrated and calm.

Just sit with them in their defiance.... and watch it all ebb away.  Without you being drawn into the drama.  Because if we do get drawn in... what does that say about our love of drama?  Am I right?

Get through this parent: we need you in the front line.  
Tackling the big stuff that makes everyone poo in the nappies: like tantrums, personal protection and sexual assault prevention.

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