Summer is an awesome time with our kids but it can also be a very trying time. Usually by mid July I’m ready to start packing the PB&J lunches and put my kids back on the school bus! That’s why I was thrilled when child psychologist Dr. Stuart Shanker shared with me his new book, Self-Reg – How To Help Your Child (And You) Break The Cycle And Successfully Engage with Life.
Here are three solutions for all of us thread bare parents who are dealing with our cute little children who are acting like assholes this summer.
1. The So-Called “Bad” Behavior: Shouting and Screaming
Why it’s actually normal: Kids get hyper-aroused and when that happens impulse control goes out the door
What parents can do: Go into soothing mode: soft voice, kind eyes, get quiet, slow things down
2. The So-Called “Bad” Behavior: Hitting
Why it’s actually normal: This kid has gone into fight or flight mode (in this case “fight”)
What parents can do: Turn off that limbic alarm by getting out of the situation, find a place to cool down (Switch from the fight to the flight and get out of there!)
3. The So-Called “Bad” Behavior: (Impossibly) Selfish
Why it’s actually normal: Kids empathy has shut down under too much stress
What parents can do: Reduce or remove the stressors and simplify by temporarily taking child out of the group / classroom (NOTE: Don’t force your child to share – this backfires. Once you reduce the stress, the desire to share will come back naturally when the child’s empathy comes back online)
For more advice from Dr. Shanker, check out his twitter party TONIGHT at 7:25pm. I’ll see you there!