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One thing I wish to avoid is to give parents the advice to focus on the positive, just for the sake of focusing on the positive. Many parents have challenged this proposal and have vigorously asked me to focus on what is wrong. But perceptions matter and there is benefit to broadening your view of the reality of the situation. You can understand your child by looking at the background. My next advice is this.

Do not focus entirely on the Problematic Behaviours. There is more to this story, surely.

Challenging behaviours have a tendency to appear and feel enormous. In our experience as parents, our children’s behaviours can be so big that it may obscure our perception of reality. In other words we end up seeing only the bad behaviours. Whilst this is understandable, it does impede you from seeing options that may be available. Broadening your view and taking some time to really take stock of what is happening in your child’s life can be enlightening. You may be better able to understand your child and progress slowly towards finding a solution. Any effective solution requires us to seek resources and options, both in the immediate environment (helpers, therapists, etc) and in the person (skills of the child to conduct appropriate behaviour) which may seem bleak or even disappear in times of crisis. So if you feel that your child’s behaviour is colossal, take a step back and consider what is happening in your life and in the life of your child.

 

-steve@willingness.com.mt