- Communication with a young child should ideally take place at their height and eye level. This can be achieved by kneeling or sitting down, taking one of their hands in yours and trying to ensure eye contact.
- Speaking in a calm but firm voice without shouting or losing your temper is the ideal standard. Of course, we are not saints; rather imperfect beings which when stressed can become vulnerable ourselves. But, losing our tempers with small children only teaches them it is okay to lose control when things don’t go their way.
- Children are pretty much like sponges; they absorb everything. They are also very intuitive and so will often respond to the moods of their primary caregivers.
- Body language should not be threatening, e.g., waving a finger in a child’s face, swearing and other bad language should also be avoided. These behaviours foster aggression in children and increase the risk they will go to school and repeat the same behaviours to others.
- If your child is out of control the last thing you want to do is also lose control.
- Reflective listening can be highly effective. For example, “I can see by the way you are getting hot and bothered that you are upset right now. I understand that you are angry, and I am really pleased that you are not losing your temper or biting or kicking. I am really impressed that even though you are cross you are making good choices right now”.
- Encouraging the child at a calm moment to sit down with you and help write a few sentences or volunteer information while you write on what constitutes “Good Choices” versus “Inappropriate/Poor Choices”. Visual examples are always encouraged.
- Encouraging your child to make a poster and draw examples of desired behaviours (e.g., be kind to my sister) versus undesired behaviours (e.g., biting my sister) is the first step for them in understanding the types of behaviours that are rewarded or face consequences.
The children at school complained about my behaviour and sometimes so did their parents. Mum said it was hard at times for other people not to be negative about my behaviour because it was so extreme. In my early school reports I was described as ‘wild and energetic’. Often Mum would complain that she felt like tearing her hair out. This made me really sad.
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