Moving kids past the hysteria

August 9th, 2012 § 1 comment

The rapid transition from upset to easy communication is remarkably stark in this video.

Courtney, the baby’s mother, summed it up quite well.

She starts getting frustrated, she screams and is about to cry, until I remind her how to ask for more grapes. The moment she realizes she can effectively communicate what she wants, the panic goes away and she calmly asks for “more.”

For older kids that have already mastered basic language skills the same level of frustration is found with emotional communication. For Brody it generally begins with an external event that leaves him frustrated, sad or angry. He doesn’t know how to deal with that emotion so he falls back on the easiest form of communication; cry until your parents figure out what’s wrong.

The first step to getting past the upset is to help him name the emotion that he is feeling. After that we try to get him to take a deep breath. If we can get him that far then we are generally in the home stretch. At times it is quite difficult to convince him, but the simple act of breathing deeply has a rather dramatic effect on his emotional state. After that helping him to rephrase what it is that he wants or needs is quite easy.


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