Val Mullally is delighted to be accepted as a Parenting Expert on YourTango.
This evening (12 November) Val Mullally is the keynote speaker at Douglas Community School, sharing some helpful insights and practical tools re how parents can support their teens’ emotional well-being.
How does a parent respond when their child attacks with words like:
‘I hate you’. Our latest post by accredited Parent Coach Val Mullally
Mary smiled wryly. “I’ve had those outbursts too. When did our little darlings morph into monsters!”
Jane could sense that the other parents knew what this experience was like.
One of the first things that they had discovered in the Parenting programme was that this was a safe space to share their concerns about the day-to-day issues that arise in their homes.
‘So what do we already know that could be helpful when your children turn their anger on you with words like this?’ the facilitator asked.
Within a few minutes the mood of the group lightened as they recognised that they had already gained helpful insights.
“I guess I’d need to climb off the ‘Oh no, she hates me’ bandwagon, ” said Jim. “It’s easy to think that my child doesn’t love me when I see that angry face.”
“Yes,” added another parent. “Rather recognise that she’s saying, ‘I hate a particular behaviour of yours.”
In a few minutes the group had made several suggestions.
1) Strong emotions are contagious, so focus on your breathing so that you don’t ‘hook in’. Don’t let the anger stick.
“Don’t be like Velcro,’ chuckled Don, “Be like Teflon; let your child’s anger roll off you!”
They remembered the core neuroscience and emotional intelligence insights the facilitator had discussed. This prompted further ideas:
2) Recognise that when he’s this angry the ‘thinking part’ of his brain is not engaged.
3) It’s no good trying to reason with him at this point; that can only come later once his anger subsides.
4) Don’t try to persuade her that she doesn’t hate you. She wants to let you know that something isn’t okay for her right now.
5) Recognise that anger is always a signal ‘I need change.’ Ask yourself what is the change your child is asking for.
The facilitator added a few other thoughts to the discussion:
6) Help your child to NAME, CLAIM and TAME his emotion. In other words, see the emotion that is under the attacking words and respond to that: ‘You’ re very angry.’ When he has a NAME for his inner experience he can CLAIM it; recognise that that is what he is experiencing. And when he can CLAIM it he can TAME it – bring it back under control.
7) Also recognise that there are other emotions underneath blanket of her anger – probably fear or disappointment. It’s easier to connect with your child when you can picture what probably lies under the anger.
Jane smiled. When she had signed up for the Parenting programme she hadn’t realized how much the new learning would positively affect their everyday life in the home. She knew that by the end of this session she’s be going home with a different outlook and a more helpful way of responding next time her child had a meltdown.
Helping families to:
– think more clearly
– connect more compassionately
– behave more response-ably
– live more joyfully
Please note: This story is fictional and does not record an actual event.
8 sessions commencing:
Douglas, Cork Thurs 26 Sept 2013
Thursday evenings 7.30 – 10 pm
Kilkenny Wed 25 Sept 2013
Wednesday mornings 10am – 12.30
Investment fee: €187
Early Bird: €169 (pay by Mon 23 Sept)
For more detail email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Val 087 7609355
For details CLICK HERE.
To read Koemba’s latest blog article ‘When Anxiety Attacks- Starting School’ by accredited Parent Coach, Val Mullally CLICK HERE.
‘I don’t want to go to school’
Jamie had been excited about going to school until the big day came.
Suddenly she was clinging onto her mum’s shirt, her arms wrapped tightly around her as though she would be washed away by the tide of excited new pupils.
Her mum was embarassed that her ‘big girl’ was suddenly reduced to tears.
‘Now what do I do?’ she thought. The thoughts raced through her head, ‘Traffic’s going to be heavy today. Got to get to work. Can’t leave her here like this. What do I tell my boss? The other kids are going to laugh at her if she’s blubbing like this.’
Four year old Amy wasn’t as vocal as Jamie about her protest. But in the last few days before school started, she’d been very quiet and seemed to lose her appetite.
Both Jamie’s and Amy’s parents are worried about whether their child will settle at school.
What can a parent do when your child’s anxiety is eating away at her like a mouse with cheddar cheese?
The good news is that you, as parent, can make a big difference in how your child copes with school.
I came across a magical little formula about Anxiety recently on the cover of Chip Conley’s book, ‘Emotional Equations’.
Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness
Even though this isn’t a Parenting book, Conley’s approach can be helpful in responding to unhappy children. A parent can reduce a child’s Anxiety by increasing their sense of Certainty and reducing the sense of Powerlessness.
There’s a number of ways that you can help your child with this. Here are a few Parenting tips if your child’s anxious about starting school that will increase your child’s sense of certainty and give a sense of having some power in the situation, and this can significantly decrease your chid’s uncertainty.
1. Firstly and most importantly, no matter what stage of schooling your child is at, ensure that your child knows that his experience matters and that you are trying to understand. (Discover more about how to connect with your child so that he feels heard and validated: Childcare Concerns: How to Listen to Your Child)
2. Think what choices you can give him:
- Discuss if he would like to meet a friend at the gate and go in together.
- If he’s anxious about saying goodbye to you ask if he wants to say goodbye at the school gate or if he wants you to walk to the classroom door with him.
- Give him a choice of what he’d like for his snack.
3. Ensure that he has the information and skills he needs, e.g. where’s the toilet, what’s the teacher’s name, how to open his snack box
4. Make sure he is being collected by someone he has a secure and warm relationship with. (Ideally Dad or Mum, or someone your child has a close, connected relationship with). Explain who will be there to meet him, and make sure that the person is there well ahead of time.
A final tip:
Remember emotions are contagious. If you are stressed, frustrated or anxious your child is very likely to ‘catch’ that emotion.
So prepare everything well ahead of time to avoid last minute stress and focus on being calm and centred.
Keep in mind:
Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness
I’d love to hear what other ideas you suggest.
P.S. For practical support on being the Parent you’d love to be, discover our online Parenting course:’ BEHAVE-WHAT TO Do When Your Child Won’t’ and face-to-face training offered by accredited Parent Coach Val Mullally MA.