Thursday, October 10, 2013

Getting Stuck

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

  1. He has a meltdown.  It’s over and you ask him to talk about it or do something totally unrelated.  The meltdown resumes.
  2. He can’t let an issue go.  He has to talk, shout, of communicate his displeasure about it.
  3. 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.