Damage & Repair

Ever wonder why children persist in repetitive behavior that you’ve told them time and again to stop.  A psychiatrist, Thomas Sasz said; “When you look at the behavior of another person, to you what they do may be a problem.  To the person themselves, what they do is a solution.”  Applied to children we might say; when you look at the behavior of what a child does, those repetitive annoying behaviors they present, to you may be a problem.  To the child themselves, what they do represents a solution they’ve created to cope with life.

There are many reasons that of children feeling the need to adapt to a controlling lifestyle.  From a child’s view such things as a parent being unavailable, life being too hectic with little down time, too little nurturing affection especially in times of stress, too much parental anger or over reaction to the child, traumatic events such as abuse, even too many moves.  Other damaging parent approaches include; not responding to a child as they continue to disrupt or act out, then over reacting to them, and parenting styles that use too many words and to few calm secure actions that cause a child to respond.

When difficult ways of relating exist they damage a child’s connection to parent leading.  When damage occurs repair must follow in some way to keep the connection intact.  By bringing repair to a child, trust is maintained or restored allowing the child to follow adult leading.  Without repair, repetitive control approaches develop causing the child to manage themselves and attempt to control others (even parents). 

Repair for families requires parents to observe what might be affecting the child, such as a recent move, or a parent working longer hours.  Repair might be brought by providing extra nurturing time together, increased touch (back massage), sitting together, talking about feelings and sharing them together or going for a walk.  Or in the case of more work time, taking time to have a special breakfast together during the week or spending more time together on the weekend.

Remember when damage is occurring in the child’s mind, increase the repair time.  If it’s been a stressful time for your child, increase the relationship, not the discipline.

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