Sometimes, it’s just a day gone wrong. Other times, it feels like you’re in a parenting rut. When we’re out of ideas, patience, and creativity, it feels lonely and overwhelming to parent someone whose behaviors are challenging.
If you find yourself repeating phrases to children in your home that your parents told you growing up, you’re not alone. We learned most of our parenting techniques and discipline skills from our parents.
Unfortunately, many of those techniques don’t seem to work well with children and youth who have histories of stress, trauma, abuse, and/or neglect. The good news is that that our parenting skills can grow and change—and after all, isn’t growth what we’re expecting from the kids in our care, too?
When things feel out of control, we’re often looking for that magic answer. One tangible thing that might help you is to learn about specific triggers and feelings of the youth in your care.
Sometimes the best way to do this is to take a notebook and write down simple observations throughout the day. By taking notice, you might gain some objective insights instead of reacting in the moment.
Some other things you might want to pay attention to include:
- When did the children follow through with your requests?
- Are there certain times of the day or places when they don’t follow through with your requests?
- Are there any unmet care needs (food, sleep) that they may have at specific times of the day?
- What triggers them to have a negative response?
- When do they become overwhelmed?
- How much stress can they handle before acting out or displaying behaviors?
Also check out our tip sheet, The Importance of Documentation.
Self-awareness begins by knowing and understanding how our values can effect the interactions we have with children in our care. [Continue Reading]