Infant Mental Health Part 2: Challenging Behaviors
The 2000 National Institute for Mental Health study identified the following skills as important for children:
¤Capacity to develop good relationships
¤Concentration/Persistence on challenging tasks
¤Ability to effectively communicate feelings such as frustration, anger and joy
¤Ability to listen to instructions and be attentive At the heart of secure attachment is a child’s recognition that they have a parent who can be counted on to lovingly provide tenderness, comfort, firm guidance and protection during the inevitable difficulties of life. If the truth be told, all of us have this need some of the time, no matter what our age.
CONNECTION CALMS (Dan Siegel Models) 1. Set loving limits - “I can see that you are upset and you’re having a hard time controlling your body. Let me help you” (relationship) [When children feel seen, safe, and soothed, they feel secure and they thrive.] 2. Below Eye Level - Next time your child is upset or out of control emotionally, we recommend that you try the “below eye level” technique. “I know you’re upset, I’m here.” Not only will your words and body language combine to convey empathy and connection, this relaxed, non-threatening posture can actually calm down you as well. 3. Practice Re-Do or give the alternative - “When you’re angry, you can squeeze this ball or do some jumps” In addition to flexibility, problem solving, considering context, and fixing our mistakes, it is most important for children to understand the lesson at hand, empathize with anybody they’ve hurt, and figure out how to respond to the situation and prevent it in the future “Too often we forget that discipline really means to teach, not to punish. A disciple is a student, not a recipient of behavioral consequences” - Dan Siegel, The Whole Brain Child