A challenging child

Boy Pouring Water Over Friends Head In Garden

Do you ever wake up in the morning and wonder what you are going to be faced with today? 

Do you feel like your stress bucket is already nearly full before the day has even started?

Do you wonder if you will get another call from the school or another violent outburst from your child?

For parents who have to cope day in – day out with a child who has  a challenging behavior disorder such as RAD, (Reactive Attachment Disorder)  ODD, (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)  Severe anxiety, and certain levels of autism, life can be so stressful that at times the mother (or father) that it can feel almost impossible to carry on.

At my two clinical hypnotherapy clinics for children, (London and Berkshire) I see children with all sorts of emotional and behavioral problems. Many of the children I see have been adopted and are suffering from RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) which is something that stems from them having a very difficult first 4 or 5 years of their little life! Neglect, both physical and emotional, abuse, physical and sexual, being left in a cot or bed for hours (or even days) on end with no food, no clean nappies etc. Their behavior as they start to develop, perhaps with a lovely “forever family” can be so bad that it affects not only the new parents but any other adoptive siblings in the family. 

I always say to the parents who present with a “challenging “child: 

“What self-care do you have in place for YOU?”  and if they say none – then we have to work on that first!

But How do you do that when you have this child that is so badly behaved?

Well, it isn’t easy but the first thing to do is to make a list of all the things that are causing ANY form of stress in your life.

  • Think of the self- care one; what can you do to help yourself feel better? Do you get enough sleep? If not, is there a way you can get an extra hour? Do you eat well enough? If not, make a start and look at your diet! Do you get enough exercise? Could you at least do a ten minute walk every day?
  • Could you make life a little easier for yourself by taking some of the pressure off; Do you have a friend or another school mum who could pick your child up from football practice /ballet/dancing etc?
  • Longer term de – stressing goals could be to do a bit of meditation or yoga – or a mindfulness course.
  • If we think of each of each of our stressors as a cup of water, it’s easy to see how we can wake up with our stress bucket almost to the top. If your bucket is already three quarters full, you don’t have room for a screaming child, a broken television, or a child swearing and lashing out at you. You see, once that bucket is full and it starts to overflow over the sides of our bucket is frustration, anger, guilt, and lots of tears!
  • Bringing up a “ challenging child” can be so overwhelming and all time consuming so much so that other siblings get neglected to a certain extent, this is why, as a parent we must be strong enough, healthy enough, and resilient enough to handle the stress that goes with it.

So, take a bit of time for YOU, write that list of stressors – with some solutions at the side. See if you can keep that stress bucket down as low as possible!

But what about therapy for my challenging child?

There are many different types of therapy that could possibly help your child. Therapies to help calm him or her down for example such as mindfulness classes or junior yoga or meditation sessions. At my hypnotherapy clinics I work on the child’s subconscious mind – getting him to realize that he DOES actually have a choice to behave in a good or bad way but that he first has to recognize that his behavior is not acceptable. Parents can also help by perhaps asking the child to do something in a totally different way, so that the child thinks he is the one making the decision. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make a big difference when you are dealing with a child with severe behavior problems – like keeping your sense of humor or not allowing a situation to get out of hand. However, YOU – being resilient is going to be the best resource you could possibly have!

For further information: www.focus-hypnotherapy.co.uk

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