Tuesday, 29 January 2013

What is your child really saying when he says he can’t?

What is the difference between what your child can do and can’t do? Will do or won’t do?

What should a parent know in order to help make sound parenting decisions. 

Gather information
It is very important to gather the information correctly and find out exactly what your child will and will not do. Keep track of the times that the child will cooperate, initiate or take the risk to begin activities. Simple pieces of information can be helpful such as is your child overly sensitive to loud noises?  Does the attendance of a certain person or group of people help or hinder your child’s attendance?  Do you have to be involved in organizing your child’s attendance?  More complicated observations may include things like has the child’s behavior in the situation changed?  You may need to access information from other adults in order to make proper assumptions and draw appropriate conclusions.  Knowledge is the key.  It is critical to find out this information so that you can assess if your child is being obstinate or displaying anxious behaviors. 


Age appropriate behaviors
Are you sure that the behavior that you are asking the child to participate in or display is in the range of normal for the age and stage of development of the child? 

Is the child avoiding?
There is a moment of time that a child makes a decision to either do or not do an action.  Are they going through elaborate measures to evade certain activities?  Look for any repeated headaches or stomachaches, misplaced notes and permission slips from school, patterns of dress, etc. 

Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Do you think that the child truly believes that he or she cannot do the action required of them?  What are they thinking might happen if they do?  Will they be pushed to do more?  Will they be left on their own to manage? 

Are you an enabler of your child’s can’ts and won’ts?
Do you write notes and help your child make verbal excuses for what they “can’t or won’t” do?  

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