Four tips to build resilience and help parents with children's behavioural difficulties.
Dr.Mona Delahooke, PhD is an American clinical psychologist dedicated to understanding children and helping parents who struggle to manage their children's challenging behaviours.
I admire deeply her work and have been learning a lot from her books.
The four tips I am posting here are from her latest book "Brain-Body Parenting How to Stop Managing Behaviour and Start Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids", Sheldon Press, 2022.
Resilience-Building Tip: Children's (and our own) behaviours are an outward reflection of the complex working of the brain-body connection, their platform. When we stop to consider what their behaviours are telling us about their platform, we have our first clue for building resilience.
Appreciate children's behaviours and emotions as a reflection of their subjective detection of safety, challenge, and threat. Humans need to feel loved and safe. There is no greater gift we can give our children than meeting these two essential needs, which will help form the basic foundation of resilience for years to come.
Pay attention to signs in your child that provide information about the state of your child's platform. These include the color pathaways that represent feeling safe and calm (green), feeling agitated (red), feeling disconnected (blue), or feeling a combination of the colors. The non-green pathways indicate that your child is vulnerable and needs additional emotional and relational support. The pathways of your child's nervous system can guide your parenting decisions, including how you set limits and follow through on expectations - both of which are compatible with empathy and understanding.
The most important tool in our parenting toolbox is our own emotional and physical well-being. But that doesn't mean we have to be perfect; the key to developing the awareness to identify your needs, finding self-care strategies that work for you, and having compassion for yourself as you do so. Valuing your own mental health and the ability to feel emotionally stable is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your child.
We can't provide our children with calm and understanding if we don't have it ourselves. To offer safety and affection, we must recognize them as fundamental human needs that we deserve too.
In order to raise a well-adjusted child, it is crucial that we possess the ability to regulate our own emotions and behaviors. This means being compassionate towards ourselves and acknowledging our own struggles, as well as making a conscious effort to prioritize our physical and mental health. Only then can we provide our children with the love and support they need to thrive.