Do you have a child who gets “stuck?” You may ask yourself, “What does that mean?” Well, here’s a definition. Everything is going great and then kaboom, something happens. It may be a huge disappointment, change, hurrying the child or what you view as a minute thing. It’s not a small thing for the child even if it is tiny to you. The child shuts down from doing anything productive. Here are some possible examples
- He has a meltdown. It’s over and you ask him to talk about it or do something totally unrelated. The meltdown resumes.
- He can’t let an issue go. He has to talk, shout, of communicate his displeasure about it.
- He is immobilized emotionally. He can’t do anything.
What do you do? You have to let the child know he can move on. This is a slow process. If he’s been unsuccessful in the past, he lacks confidence in even trying. Once he has a few successes, you can say, “Remember how you did that when we were on vacation when it rained after your nap. You did a great job getting past your disappointment. I know you can do the same thing this time."
When he lacks confidence, he will often have a big reaction. The parent often disciplines the behavior. I’ve found that it is helpful to avoid discipline and say, “It looks like you have a problem. It's my job to be a problem solver. Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong and I bet I can help you solve this problem.” It will be a time consuming and slow process but it has proved effective for our son.