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How To Prevent Problem Situations With A Child

19 February 2016

By Maaret Auvinen

Many of us parents were brought up in an emotionally unsafe environment of blaming and shaming, telling off, shouting, belittling, concentrating on the mistakes instead of success, etc. As adults we now know that this kind of behaviour is dangerous for a child’s emotional and mental well-being, and we have decided to act differently with our children.

Unfortunately it is always not that simple. It is easy to be the best parent on the planet when the sun is shining on our lives. When the storm comes we very often start acting just like our parents did. You may have difficulties at work or the child refuses to eat your carefully prepared food. Maybe the child is tired and probably you too, which means that either one is acting out or you both are.

Here are two practical ways to change your behaviour permanently:

Learn from your mistakes

Recognize the situation before things start to escalate. Learn from your own behaviour and from your child’s as well.
For example, if you are tired, get some rest. Explain to your child that you need a little time for yourself. This may be trickier with younger children, but there are ways. For example, tell your partner that you are really tired and you want to avoid conflicts and ask him to take care of your child for a while. Usually the partner would do anything to avoid conflicts.

If a partner is not present, give your child something he enjoys doing. You may be lying on the couch close by, but he will be in his own world concentrating on something he enjoys. Even if your child is watching a children’s program and you find watching TV harmful for her, 15 minutes of that is less harmful for the child than an evening with a cranky parent.

When you rest, as much as you can, let go of the roles of a parent, partner, taking care of the home and forget about your work. This time is for you and essential for your well-being and the well-being of your family.

If the child is tired after school or day care, let her have her own time and do her own thing for a while before doing homework or something else that easily creates conflicts.


Take responsibility

Own your feelings. Understand that the child is not making you feel or do anything. For example, the child doesn’t make you angry. The anger is already in you, and he just pushes the right button to release the emotion. Most of your patterns were created in your childhood. You are programmed to act, think and feel in a certain way in certain situations. Your child ‘s behaviour simply triggers a memory of something that happened to you ages ago and as a result you react: for example get angry.

It is important to recognize that you are not alone. We all are imperfect parents, and you do not have to be perfect either. Just do your best and build on that.

About the author:

Maaret Auvinen is a writer, musician and a Life Coach. She is also a mother of three children. More about her: http://www.maaret.es.

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