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Developing understanding, expectations, and boundaries for children

Do you find that your child is often impulsive, is easily frustrated, and demonstrates behaviors that you do not know how to explain? You are not alone. I have received several calls in this past week from parents looking for advice regarding the onset of "behavior problems" in their children.

Every child has an innate need for structure and for sensory experiences. Every child has a need to be listened to and understood. Every child has a need to understand and to interact with his or her environment. Unfortunately, these needs are not met for many children, especially in the fast-paced, get-up-and-go culture of American society.

If your child regularly comes home from school with bad reports or regularly exhibits signs of discomfort of misbehavior at home, ponder these things:

1. What specific things happened today that could have caused my child to feel misunderstood, ignored, or to feel as if his needs were not met? Think through the whole day, especially on days that your child has a hard time after school. Ask your child about his day. Even if he cannot speak, talk to him. Validate his feelings. Try to put yourself in his shoes for a moment.

2. What was my child's behavioral response to each thing that happened today? (hitting, biting, spitting, pushing, throwing, yelling, etc... be specific about each behavior or action)

3. What was the consequence of the behavioral response? (Did someone comfort him? Was he put in time out at school or at home for this behavior? Did someone yell at him?)

4. How can I create a routine response to this behavior (at home, at school, and in all other environments) so that my child knows what to expect from others and what others expect from him?

I would love to converse in more detail about this topic with each of my readers! I look forward to hearing your thoughts and your specific experiences with your child. I also look forward to working with you and your child to help you to create an atmosphere of understanding with loving boundaries. It is my desire and passion to help your child to be the most successful he or she can be in everyday life and to foster a peaceful and joyful home environment for you and your family!