I checked out this book from the library: Transforming the Difficult Child: True Stories of Triumph by Jennifer Easley and Howard Glasser. The whole book is one success story after another of how parents, teachers, counselors and schools have helped a difficult child get back on the road to success. I began reading it and couldn’t put it down. Now I want to get the original book that tells the steps in dealing with difficult children.
One of the techniques I read about was using “video moments”. The adult comments on what he sees the child doing, i.e. “I see you’re concentrating hard on that puzzle” Or “This picture looks like you were enjoying drawing.” You are validating their efforts and making a positive statement to them about them.
Another technique is to refuse to energize negativity. Again, it’s focusing on the positive traits your child has, and the positive things they do. Tell your child how strong and brave he is to get up and get ready for school when he doesn’t want to. Tell your daughter how thoughtful she is to tend the baby so you can fix dinner.
All the while I read the stories in this book, it made me think of how I could respond to my children. They, themselves, are not “difficult”, but they are often having “difficult times” in their lives. How can I help them? I can validate that they are having a rough time. I can tell them they are brave and courageous to deal with their employment situation. I can tell them what great parents they are to care enough about their children to discipline them and try to work out problems.
In the end, everyone--regardless of their age-- needs to be validated for what they are going through and given a positive outlook on how great they are.