So what do you need to know in order to manage aggressive behavior? First you need to adopt a philosophy of behavior management, then provide consistency and create a predictable and therapeutic environment.
It is important for the child and the family to be fully involved in planning their “system”. All aspects of the child’s “system” must be able to be understood by the child himself. Realize that all behavior is an attempt to meet a need and therefore has meaning. Relationships between the child and parent should provide opportunities for him/her to learn and practice appropriate ways to express feelings, manage daily tasks, and get needs met. Remember, children are best served by parents and families who practice teamwork.
What is Blending? Blending is a concept, which uses the strengths of the family, child, and the community.
- Physical Blending = force with force/passive resistance
- Verbal Blending = using non threatening and supportive language
- Non Verbal Blending = using non threatening and reassuring techniques
Let’s have a look and get a better picture of Verbal and Non-verbal blending and become familiar with the roadblocks to these types of blending.
Here are some examples of Verbal Blending below:
- Call the Child’s name and pull them to the side rather than redirecting them in front of their peers
- Get information by asking questions
- Use appropriate voice, tone, and volume
- Use non-judgmental statements or questions
- Use “We” statements rather than “You” or “I”
What are some common Roadblocks to Verbal Blending?
- Maintain a neutral and respectful facial expression
- Be aware of your child’s spatial preferences
- Walk away to avoid power struggles
- Keep your arms out front or at your sides with your hands open
- Look at your child, but don’t stare
- Take slow, deep, easy breaths
What are some common Roadblocks to Non-Verbal Blending?
- Eye rolling/Neck rolling
- Disrespectful or disinterested facial expressions
- Pointing, crossing your arms over your chest
- Talking to your child while engaged in another tasks rather than giving them the attention they need
Let’s talk about realistic expectations. What are our expectations of our children and are they realistic? There can be a danger in having too high of expectations as well as having to low of expectations. See some of the effects of both below.
Danger! What happens when my expectations are too high?
- My child feels like failure
- I feel frustrated
- My child’s self-esteem is eroded
Danger! What happens when my expectations are too low?
- My child may begin to doubt all abilities
- I may see my child as lazy or irresponsible
- My child may cease to grow in one or more areas
Now, with all that said, let’s stick to keeping expectations realistic! How do you do this?—by understanding adolescent development and how it affects behavior, modeling through my behavior to match expectations, and adjusting my expectations to match my child as a whole.
Avoiding the Misuse of My Power
As parents, the misuse of your power can render a child powerless, feed adolescent impulse control (aggression), and aggressiveness in the child—power struggles emerge, child becomes passive or over compliant, and depending on the aggressions, resulting in them being institutionalized.
Keys to Avoiding the Misuse of Your Power
- Be aware of your own stress level.
- “I will not say “no” when “yes” is just as easy.”
- Analyze your own use of power.
- “I will not use my power as a last resort to win a struggle with my child.”
- Some questions to ask when faced with a struggling child.
- What are you doing?
- What are you supposed to be doing?
- What’s going to happen if you keep doing what you are doing?
- Do you want that to happen?
- What are you going to do now?