What can you do when your child throws regular tantrums? When you’re at the grocery store and your child is screaming (because you keep putting back the things they grab off the shelves), it can feel like you’re under a spotlight. “What do these other people here think is going on? Do they think I’m a bad parent, or worse, do they think I’m abusing my child? Is it better to try to ignore the tantrum or just go home? What am I going to do about groceries this week?”
No one ever said being a parent was easy (or if they did, they were wrong). Parenting can be wonderful and rewarding, and at the same time frustrating and thankless. It can be especially frustrating and defeating when our children are ill-tempered or have problem behaviors. It’s hard to feel like a “good parent” when you keep getting phone calls from school about your child’s behavior. How do you stop the problematic and also not screw up your kid for life?
Every interaction you have with your child is a learning experience for them. They learn what to expect, and also what they can get away with. When a child exhibits a problem behavior, it’s because the child has learned that the behavior at least sometimes gets them what they want. Whether it’s attention, access to an object or activity, escape from a disliked activity, or simply because it feels good, all behavior has a function. In therapy, I work together with parents and other caregivers to determine the function of a child’s behavior, so we can develop a plan to shape and change behaviors while still meeting the child’s needs. This is complicated by the fact that most children don’t know what they need; they don’t know why they do things they know they’re not supposed to do. Children frankly just don’t have the brainpower yet to be able to know that stuff.
Imagine you always knew just what to do to respond to your child’s tantrums. Imagine talking to your child’s teacher and thinking, “I know just what adjustments to make at home to address this.” After only a few sessions with me, you will have learned and practiced the skills necessary so that you will be able to start addressing these behaviors. It is not uncommon for my clients to report seeing marked improvement in a few weeks to just a few months.
Sound interesting? Call me today at 402-325-0117 x4 to find out more or to make an appointment, or book an appointment online!