Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day: Helping Children with Developmental Opposition

Happy Fourth of July!!!  I hope you are enjoying this time with family and friends!  What a great reminder every year to celebrate our freedom! 

One thing I think of when I consider Independence Day is the Conscious Discipline Power of Free Will.  This is one of the most difficult Powers for me to really practice.  I have a deep rooted belief that if I go about it right I can still make others do what I want.

Don't we all wish sometimes that children would just cooperate?  We want them to do as we say without complaint.  I shared a post on Prek and K Sharing today about how to help children by offering Two Positive Choices.  BUT I bet we all know that child.  You know, the one that for some reason challenges you beyond your skill level.

This is the child that when given choice A or B chooses C.  Dr. Becky Bailey describes several reasons why this child may be so resistant and gives us some strategies to help us address their needs.  Over the next week I will describe the characteristics of several different types of opposition.  Today we are going to discuss Developmental Opposition and the Parroting Technique. 

Developmental Opposition
  • Individuation separation is a child's journey toward self-hood.  It transforms a helpless, dependent infant into a person with a unique identity.  Any assertive stance from an adult prompts the child to react with the opposite behavior. 
Help a child that is resistant for developmental reason by using the following strategies:
    • Avoid a power struggle by taking a deep breath, become conscious of your thoughts, and  focus on what you want the child to do.
    • Now that you are composed, choose to rely on the Power of Free Will rather than coercion to solve the problem.  Coercion is the problem, not the solution.
    • Use the parroting technique as demonstrated in the picture below.

When you use the parroting technique there are a few things to remember:

1. You must stay calm.  As you continue to repeat the choices remember to breathe.  The child may continue pushing you and attempt to engage in a power struggle.  Keep breathing.

2. If the child downshifts and becomes physically aggressive it is time to offer assertive commands and active calming strategies.  You cannot offer choices to a child in a Survival State.

3. Although you may need to leave the blocks on the floor for a few more minutes while the child calms down be sure to follow through with having her clean up when she returns.  Once the blocks are cleaned up celebrate her accomplishments with her.

You can learn more about opposition by tuning back in next week.  We will explore other types of resistance and share strategies about what you can do to help! 

photo credit: <a href="">_Hadock_</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>