Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Parenting Patterns

Kids are expected to work on themselves while in a program such as Logan River Academy. It is helpful to know that parents can assist in the overall process by working on better understanding themselves as well. Parents often fall in common patterns when their kids act out, but many of these patterns are not helpful in aiding the child in progressing and growing positively.

Common Patterns Parents Assume:
u  Rescuing: doing whatever possible to remove the child's discomfort in order to make the child happy.
u  Yelling: using blame, guilt, or threats in order to get the child to listen.
u  Withdrawing: resorting to silence and isolating from your child or the conflict.
u  Finding distractions: always looking for something else to focus on, keeping busy and planning future events.
u  Stoicism: removing yourself emotionally form any conflict and responding in a detached, unaffected way.
u  Workaholism: seeking out reasons to avoid home in order to stay at work, where you feel more at ease and in control (or working out of the home, while avoiding family interactions).
u  Lecturing: focus is to solve or explain the problem – telling the child what he or she ought to do and what should be taking place.
u  Addictions: indulging in something that provides an escape: gambling, alcohol abuse, excessive internet and computer use, etc.
u  Worrying: consistently assuming the worst-case scenario, endless feelings of unrest, and anticipating a catastrophe.

Parents Can Break Their Patterns:

1) Self-knowledge: Since we all have blind spots, parents may not be aware of any or all of the patterns they may fall into. It is much easier to identify other peoples’ patterns than our own. Seeing ourselves more clearly or accurately comes through asking a trusted friend or family member.
2) Self-attunement:  A parents' reactiveness to their child's moods and emotions. Well-attuned parents detect what their children are feeling and reflect those emotions back in their facial expressions, voices, and other behavior.
3) Accountability: Parents be willing to own their own pattern in order to break it. Many kids seem to focus more on their parents’ behavior above their own. The reverse also holds true.
4) Responding in a New Way: One effective way is Reframing.
** Remember the goal is to disrupt an existing negative pattern**

Reframing is a way of attuning, seeing, validating, and empowering your child to meet their own needs.  It’s a way of communicating the problem in a new way, by shifting the responsibility for the problem back onto the child.” - Krissy Pozatek (Author of “The Parallel Process.”)

7 Steps for Reframing:
1)      Listen closely to your child and attune to the underlying emotion.

2)      Remember – the underlying emotion and tone is more important than the content.  The content may be the child arguing over social media use, wanting to come home early, or get some new clothes.  Getting locked exclusively into the content can lead to missing the real issue.

3)      Reflect and mirror the underlying emotion back to your child.

4)      Validate your child.

5)      Keep yourself out of the problem, since parents sharing their opinions and thoughts can often lead to power struggles and can lead to the child feeling disempowered.

6)      Place the responsibility of problem-solving back onto the child.  (How do you want to proceed?  What helps when you feel this way?  How will you cope with this?

7)      If you have already attuned to your child and they continue to push the content, then it is time to set a boundary.

**Does not often escalate to this stage if the previous stages were applied