This Sunday is Mother’s Day and it gives us an opportunity to think about the joy of parenthood, the joy of children and the value of family connections in our lives. The gift of a child’s love, joy and time shared is one of the simplest but most beautiful gifts a Mother may receive on Mother’s Day. Sometimes however, difficulties that a child is facing may get in the way of sharing and experiencing this precious gift.
As a child psychologist, I help many mothers deal with the social, emotional and behavioural problems that their children are experiencing. Often it is mothers who are the primary contact for their child’s schooling, and mothers that are dealing with practical day-to-day difficulties their child faces, such as toileting, tantrums, bad behaviour, anger issues or anxiety. As a result, I notice that mothers are often the parent who brings the child to appointments for these difficulties.
When a child is experiencing issues, whether this be at home or at school, the main conversations that the parents have about the child are often focused on the problem. In addition, both before and after professional help is sought, a parent will spend a substantial amount of time with the child, helping them to overcome their difficulties. In this case, the parent’s attention toward the child can often become focused on the problem. Many parents comment that home life now revolves around the problem. When this occurs, it can be easy to miss out on time with your child that is focused on positive experiences.
This coming Mother’s Day represents a symbolic reminder of the importance of sharing positive experiences as a mother and child. So while Mother’s Day is often seen as a time for children to show their gratitude and love towards their mothers, it can also be a chance for a mother to spend enriching, quality time with a child that is focused on shared joy, rather than the difficulties that the child is having. So take the opportunity to share time with your child that is not centred on helping them with their difficulties, and enjoy experiencing all the positive attributes of your child.
Three tips for noticing and encouraging positive behaviours in your child
- Praise your child for good behaviour (e.g., that was very nice of you to share your toy with your sister). It can be easy to focus on just telling off after poor behaviour
- If you have disciplined your child for poor behaviour (e.g., they have just finished a time out), find a chance to catch them being good soon after they have returned to play, and reinforce their appropriate behaviour.
- Allocate your child small jobs that will to give them a sense of achievement, and give you an opportunity to thank and praise them (e.g., putting grocery items in the trolley).
If you are concerned about how to deal with child behaviour problems, anger issues, tantrums, anxiety or other concerns and would like to learn effective behaviour management strategies, Dr Caitlin Hitchcock or one of our other child psychologists would be pleased to help you and your child with these issues. Feel free to contact us today to help your child and your relationship.
Our skilled child and adolescent psychologists will teach you practical strategies and give perspective on a problem that allows you to make more room for the positives and improve family relationships. Subscribe to our blog and watch out for Caitlin’s upcoming blog on tantrums for some more tips….
Happy Mother’s Day to all…. Remember to share some joy on Sunday. Take a moment to appreciate all that you have together.
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