More than anything else, a loving relationship is what enables cooperative behaviours to be stretched and reshaped. Healthy connections bubble to the surface as a smile, a wink, a silly face, a nudge, a dare, a joke, saying "I love you", the zombie walk, a thumbs up, a kind or reassuring comment. The benefits arising from a quality relationship are remarkable. They provide the scope for everyone to make mistakes without causing a catastrophe, to allow the word 'sorry" to be exchanged more freely and offer us a little more leverage to influence our children to change behaviours that are not working for them.
If you see your child's performance as awkward or impossible they also are likely to be very aware of the problem. They will know that their fleeting concentration, bossiness, over or under reactions bring negative comments and responses. They too will be able to identify the issues that regularly bring about the clashes at home:
Controlling overloaded feelings at school is a tough act for many students; battling mood troubles, anxiety, impulsivity and/or learning issues. Trying to stay on task, to listen, follow instructions and deal with friendships, let alone wrestling with literacy or numeracy obstacles extracts enormous amounts of energy. Many are completely sapped by mid-afternoon. It is common for these children and young teens to hold it together until the moment they slide into the back seat of the family car. Then wham! Their frustration breaks loose, sometimes on a regular basis, with parents witnessing swearing, abuse, the kicking of car seats and the hurting and taunting of siblings.
Yet, there are ways to help them, and those in the fi ring line, to navigate around this ugly time. Begin by trialing just one new creative solution to replace one bad afternoon habit. Keep it simple. When you feel as though you're on top of that one, build the plan out and introduce another idea to circumvent another of your child's after school habits that's not working for them.
A starting point may be to arrange for a friend or relation to bring your child home from school several days a week. Car pools work beautifully because our children's behaviour is always better in the company of other adults and children. This doesn't mean they will be less frustrated when they walk in through the door once they reach home, so arrange to be "partially-unavailable" or elsewhere.
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