Kimberley discussed the pros and cons of being an only child with Kate O’Toole from Triple J’s Hack program. You can find out more information about only children by visiting our resources page or discussing it on our forum.
Most parents have experienced their toddler’s challenging behaviour at some point whether it’s the “terrible twos” or for that matter, threes, fours or more. Watching your child scream, kick or throw himself to the ground in exasperation is never easy, yet as a parent, what’s important, is being able to look beyond the red-faced anger and recognise what your child is actually trying to communicate.
Many young children throw tantrums when they are experiencing a range of emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, frustration and jealousy. Regardless of your child’s motivation, it is important for parents to help their children understand that tantrums and associated behaviours such as biting, pinching and hair pulling are not always acceptable and that there are better ways to express their feelings.
Ways to Manage Toddler Behavior:
Use a gentle yet firm and fast response. When your child acts aggressively, unclamp your child’s hand or mouth, and say something like “no hurting”. Then, temporarily remove them from the situation, or away from the stimulus. It may take a few repetitions for children to understand that what they are doing is not allowed.
Consider the triggers. Sometimes children act aggressively because they are bored or seeking attention. If parents are able to recognize this then they may be able to target why the behaviour is occurring, and deal with it accordingly.
Use feeling words. By assigning words to your child’s feelings or emotive states, they will eventually learn to identify how they are feeling themselves, by using such words. Although this may take a long time especially if your child is very young, eventually your child will be able to use these words to both describe and take control of her own feelings without resorting to tantrums or violence.
Be Consistent. It is important not to give in to whatever your child was wanting which triggered the tantrum.
While some parents may think that in order to get their child to stop a behaviour they should show them how it feels by doing it to them, this is certainly is not the recommended approach to take. Parents should never bite, pinch or pull their child’s hair just to show them how much it hurts. Regardless of the parents’ intention, this is actually a form of child abuse and is punishable by law.
How to prevent tantrums from occurring
Teach your child to use ‘feeling words’. Give him the tools to communicate what’s going on so that he doesn’t need to resort to tantrums or violence.
Try to avoid taking your child on outings when he is likely to get hungry or tired. Always have a snack handy.
Distract her from potential tantrum triggers with a story or another activity she enjoys.
Take note of events that trigger tantrums and try to understand what causes them in your child.
*Information for this article was gathered from Kimberley O’Brien – Child Psychologist, the Raising Children Network, Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service and NSW Department of Community Services
When a child experiences the death of a loved one, be it a close relative, friend or even pet, it can often be difficult for adults to help the child deal with their loss and grief. While children may differ on their understanding of death, based on their age and other contributing factors, it is important for parents to remain open and honest with their child. Encourage your child to ask questions about the death that has occurred and try to answer them as honestly as possible. This will assist the grief and loss process.
Below you will find some helpful hints on how to help your child understand death in an age appropriate way:
Younger children often view the world in very literal terms. This means that adults may have to explain death to the child in terms of a body that has stopped working. Children may also have trouble understanding that everyone eventually dies and that death is final. Therefore, this concept may have to be repeated multiple times. It is important to continually explain to the child in a calm manner that the person or pet cannot come back.
It is important to avoid euphemisms when explaining the concept of death to a child. As children think in a literal manner, such euphemisms may cause them to become fearful that when someone “goes to sleep” or “goes away” that they too will die.
Ages 6- 10:
Children at this age often start to understand that death is final. While they may not realize that every living thing dies, and may often personify the concept of death, they are best able to deal with death when they are given simple, clear and honest explanations about the death of a loved one.
By the time children reach their teenage years they begin to understand that everything eventually dies, despite one’s greatest efforts. When dealing with the death of a loved one, teens may also begin to consider why people die, the meaning of life, and mortality.
It is important for adults to remain empathetic and encourage teens to both express and share their sadness and grief.
If you would like some assistance in helping your child deal with the grief, loss or death of a loved one, please contact our Reception on (02) 9362 9297 to arrange an appointment.
Kimberley discussed how to help your children deal with the death of a pet with Vanessa Murray from The Sunday Telegraph’s Sunday Magazine. You can find out more information about grief and loss in children by visiting our resources page on grief and loss or discussing it on our forum.
If you have a story and would like to discuss it with us, please contact us to schedule a time. Kimberley O’Brien enjoys sharing the best of her therapeutic moments with the media. Visit our shop page for getting unbelievable offers on our therapeutic resources. Thank You.
Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist, presented our parenting workshop ‘Playful Approaches to Problem Solving’ to parents from St Philips Christian College, Port Stephens, and surrounding areas.
Participants and Kimberley discussed strategies such as the importance of family communication, and how to use media and play techniques to help children express themselves. The presentation was a great way to connect with parents and professionals outside Sydney.
Kimberley was invited to St Philips Christian College as part of their Centre of Gravity (COG) initiaitive. COG aims to provide free parenting and information seminars to parents and professionals in Port Stephens and surrounding areas.