An Important Note To Parents
The success of the Old Me New Me to change behavior will depend on a number of factors. One factor is that after a “CODE”word is chosen, the parent should use it to remind the child to calm down before the situation escalates. It is also important that the parent and/or teacher give frequent reinforcement, praise, and positive feedback when they observe new behaviors. Children need frequent positive feedback and acknowledgement of their efforts to make the necessary changes in their behavior. This may need to occur several times a day in the beginning and gradually diminish to several times a week. For example, when the child the child takes several deep breathes and calms down when you use the “CODE” word this should be praised. When the child remembers to take a deep breath, calms down, and expresses their feelings rather than getting angry or exploding, this should be applauded. Remarks like: “I noticed that you are really trying to calm down and talk problems out with your brother rather than fighting. I am really proud of you”. During times of stress, a gentle reminder done in a soft tone of voice is very important. During this time, parents need to remain calm as possible to model the behavior they wish to see from their children.
Another factor that inhibits change is the parents’ own unresolved anger from their past. Parents can direct that anger consciously or unconsciously to the child especially when the child’s behavior is upsetting the parent. That anger can be absorbed by your child and can affect the child’s interactions. Children may feel responsible and guilty for reasons they do not understand. Children can carry “left over” negative feelings from arguments at home to their interactions with other people in their daily life. The child may exhibit concentration difficulties and behavioral problems at school as a result of negative emotional experiences. Helping your child regain his/her emotional balance before leaving for school can be important for your child’s mental health if an argument or upset has occurred. If parents think back over their childhood, they will realize the truth in these statements.
Therefore, it is important that parents work at creating a positive atmosphere in the home. Discipline and limit setting should be done in a positive manner instead of a negative angry manner. Parents will find that encouraging rather than discouraging words are “Good Medicine”. Improved parent-child relations can be accomplished by listening to the audios in this program, talking about the concepts, values, and lessons in the stories, and applying these values and techniques in everyday life. Positive parent-child relationship can also be fostered by spending fun times with the child. Some parents may find that attending parenting classes can help them develop positive discipline and structure in the home. Some children have experienced a severe trauma in their life. Other children have lost one or more parents due to divorce, neglect or death. These children can present challenging behaviors and will test the adults in their lives to see if they too will leave as a result of their worsening behavior. Post-traumatic stress leaves a mark on all people that experience it. This program can help reduce the anxiety, anger, and feelings of being overwhelmed. In working with children that have experienced this trauma, parents need to set limits, be patient, and provide lots of love. When the negative results of trauma are addressed children can grow up strong, resilient, and self-confident. (To learn more about the use of the Old Me New Me in trauma therapy visit: www.createanimagetherapy.com.
Parenting classes can be very effective in teaching valuable skills necessary to deal with difficult and not so difficult children. Parents need to find ways to strengthen their relationship and connection with their children in order to alleviate behavior problems and undue heartache for everyone. This is especially true when it comes to divorce. Divorce is particularly difficult for children. It can create a great deal of anxiety for them. Extra effort needs to be made to help protect children from felling that they are “caught in the middle” of these events. For more information on helping families deal with issues related to divorce visit our website (www.calmingthestormofdivorce.org). Addressing issues related to divorce will make this transition easier and will pay huge dividends for parents and children. Don’t forget to give lots of love. It makes children feel wanted. And parents, don’t forget to say you are sorry when you know you have made a mistake. This helps to reconnect with your children, develop a strong bond, and models positive behavior for them.