I’m keen to share the latest great book that a webinar on positive parenting uncovered :
“Listen” by Patty Wipfler and Tosha Schore M.A.
Its a gem with a clear and simple message ie “Five simple tools to meet your everyday parenting challenges” with many real-life examples:
- “Special time” which is much like DIR Floortime with the principle of regular child lead play with the parent fully engaged with the child (often rough- housing but not always) – it can be as short as 5 to 10 minutes,(with a clear start and end time) but is invaluable to have to set the child up for cooperation and feeling ‘heard’
- Staylistening – listening all the way through your child’s upset (not easy but again effective in defusing and getting to the bottom of emotional outbursts
- Setting limits – kids need these and ultimately like them overall. ‘When you follow ‘no’ with listening, your child’s judgment will improve over time’. Undesirable behaviour viewed from the lens of ‘disconnection and hurt feelings’ leads to limits with understanding eg “I know you really want it, but you need to give it back” followed by listening to the upset/disappointment will reap benefits, especially if you can remain playful.
- Playlistening – involves laughter and the child feeling in charge. (best used when the child is shy, whiny, or being aggressive, sucking their thumb or pacifier, or when child is calling names – also when two children are having a dispute or at the beginning of a playdate/family gathering (often times of high emotion) Its a humorous playful way to make light of a tense situation and again make the child feel ‘heard’. eg “throwing the child over your shoulder and run around saying “Me want cookie” when they have been whingy.
- Having a mutual listening partnership with another parent to whom you can vent and who understands (very important outlet to enable you to keep on the very important parenting role). This is a chance for you both to offload tension – it shouldn’t be a relative or particular friend but someone you can trust and who can be supportive and non-judgemental.
The book outlines many many examples of how this approach has been effective in very difficult situations, with ideas of how to tackle challenging scenarios. Further resources are listed at the back of the book – this is for every parent!!
I’ve also got resources from Kim West “THe Sleep Lady” to help with sleep issues – but that’s another post!
These resources are valuable to discuss with your occupational therapist, to be used hand-in-hand with sensory/self-regulation strategies