Parenting Misc

Remember the Child’s Primary Motivation

Understanding what children want can bring about a major shift in your thinking. If you embrace this concept, I predict your perceptions will change for the better, which then will impact your child.

So, what is your child’s primary motivation?

At the root of most of their challenging behavior, children are pleasure seekers.  Put simply, they want what they want, when they want it.

This isn’t fundamentally different from what adults want. We’re all pleasure seekers at heart. But the big difference between adults and children is that adults have learned to delay gratification and to put aside pleasure, at least theoretically.

Often parents will seek a range of psychological explanations for a child’s behavior.

While there certainly may be certain psychological and/or neurological bases for a child’s behavior, often there are simpler explanations.

Children are pleasure seekers and will do what they can to obtain it.

Yesterday, for example, in a local library there was a mother and her two small children standing in front of a snack machine.

The little girl, perhaps four-years-old, was having a major meltdown.

Why?  The mother wasn’t giving her what she immediately demanded.  Banging on the snack machine left the mother frazzled, as she desperately tried to appease her daughter, but not to her daughter’s satisfaction.

For an experiment, try seeing the behavior through the pleasure-seeking lens and see what happens (to you).

I predict that your behavior will change!

(Adapted from “Beyond the Power Struggle:  A Guide for Parents of Challenging Kids,” Richard Selznick, Ph.D. 2023)

“And Now, For a Change of Pace”

My marketing manager (my daughter Julia) has been pushing me to create more short videos to spread around.

So, as a change of pace here are two that were posted to YouTube.  TRUST ME.  THEY ARE VERY SHORT!!!!  Hope you enjoy.  Let me know what you think.

The first one was posted a little while ago.  It’s a brief introduction to the purpose of these videos:

1. Introduction: Selznick Video Productions!

The second is adapted from my new book, “Beyond the Power Struggle: A Guide For Parents of Challenging Kids.”  It’s one of my favorite tips.

2. Challenging Children? Have a Mantra.


Feel free to make comment below. 

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To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email: shutdownlearner1@gmail.com

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2023, www.shutdownlearner.com.

 

Turning Down the Parental Heat

Parents do various back flips to address meltdowns and school avoidance.

Mostly,  parental responses are reactive, delivered in the heat of the moment (e.g., “That’s it!!!  You’re not allowed on your iPad for the next two weeks,” after the child has rolled around on the floor,  not completing another homework assignment.)

I think of parent yelling as a “go-to” strategy.  (“Hey, we were yelled at as kids, so why not keep up the family tradition.”)

The thing about yelling is it largely doesn’t work.

When was the last time your child said after your yelling, “You’re right mom.  I need to take more responsibility for myself.”

Let’s take Sam, an 8 year old child who has a “soup pot” of different issues, frequently melting down over his homework.  “I hate writing,”  Sam screams.  “It’s so stupid…why do I have to do this ????!!!!! (while throwing his papers around in a full-blown rage).”

Based on a strategy we discussed, his mom, Beth, decides not to engage him with yelling, pecking or biting the bait,  as every time she does any of these they only serve to increase his raging meltdowns.

Instead, while Sam pulled out every reaction, trying to get out of doing his homework, Beth  just went about her business – zero reaction..

After about 10 minutes or so of being left alone at the dining room table with no input from his mother, Sam started to calm down, still sniveling and whimpering some, but no longer raging.

At some point when the whimpering had subsided, Beth spoke to Sam in very matter-of-fact tones, “Look, Sam,  I get it.  Writing is not fun and it’s hard for you and you get frustrated.  But, here’s the deal, even though you’re angry and frustrated,  you still need to finish your homework without banging on the table or rolling on the floor.  I can offer you some help, but there’s no screen time until you’re finished.  Let me know if you need any help.”

It may take time, but when left on their own to work it out, most of the Sam types will work through their anger  and come around when handled calmly and directly without threats.

Effectively, it’s Sam’s choice.  It’s up to him to decide.


Feel free to make comment below. 

To receive future blog posts, register your email: https://shutdownlearner.com.

To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email: shutdownlearner1@gmail.com

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2023, www.shutdownlearner.com.

The Baby is Birthed!!!

I am excited to let you know that the new baby, “Beyond the Power Struggle: A Guide for Parents of Challenging Kids,” has been officially birthed!!!

After endless doing, redoing, tweaking, feeling frustrated with it, filing it away, bringing it back out again, I am excited to let you know that the baby has been officially and is now available.

To get the book, check it out on Sentient Publication’s website:   SENTIENT PUBLICATIONS.

You can also get it on Amazon or Barnes & Nobles:

Amazon:  AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Barnes & Noble:  BARNES & NOBLE

If you do get the book , I would appreciate your leaving a review..  (The reviews don’t need to be long.)


WORKSHOPS & Q & A CHATS If you’re a parent (or a grandparent)  who is interested in setting up an online talk/chat, please reach out to  others who may be interested so we can set something up.  Please email me at shutdownlearer1@gmail.com to discuss getting something off the ground

SOCIAL MEDIA: Behind the scenes we’ve been ramping up our social media presence, with fun videos, tidbit tips and other stuff:

Check out:

(Hover cursor over each link to activate.)

INSTAGRAMINSTAGRAMSELZNICK

FACEBOOK:    FACEBOOK SELZNICK – SHUTDOWN LEARNER PAGE

LINKEDIN:  LINKEDIN – SELZNICK

X (formerly TWITTER):    SELZNICK ON ‘X’

YOUTUBE:   YOUTUBE – SELZNICK


Enjoy the holidays – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all who celebrate.

Thanks for your support and being a follower of this blog.

See you in 2024.

 

“Beyond the Power Struggle: A Guide for Parents of Challenging Kids”

Exciting News!!!!!

Over the next few weeks, my latest book, “Beyond the Power Struggle:  A Guide For Parents of Challenging Kids” is scheduled to be released.

If you are a beleaguered parent or know a beleaguered parent, you might want to get a copy.

Here’s a link to the the full cover with the  endorsements:

(Click Here)Beyond The Power Struggle 2023

Please spread the word and share.

“Beyond the Power Struggle” (Structure & Leverage)

As noted in the previous blog, with children showing challenging behaviors causing you tremendous stress, you were encouraged to adopt a mantra helping you remain in  your center, as you speak one “Didja” (e.g., “Didja you do your homework?”) after another.

The mantra  (“They need structure; I need leverage.”) is meant to keep things simple.

Of course, each child and family situation are different, but from what I can tell the leverage with modern kids really comes down to one thing – their screen usage.

Screen access (in whatever form) is the ruling passion, therefore it’s your leverage.

As I note in my soon to be released new book (yay!!!), “Beyond the Power Struggle: A Guide for Parents of Challenging Kids,”  without resorting to punishment you are encouraged to look at your child’s landscape of what they take for granted.

By about nine or ten or so, most kids have easy access to gaming systems, iPads, and many have their own phones.

For those children who are not sustaining mental effort, showing poor time management, ask yourself have they really earned the right to all of those screen distractions.  Are they really supporting your child’s “executive function deficits?”

While they gorge on Fortnite, TikTok or YouTube, and while you are exhausted trying to get your child to complete schoolwork or to do some reading  do you feel that things are out of whack?

My guess is the answer is a resounding, “Yes.”

Look at the family landscape.  What’s the structure?    Is it all one sided toward the child receiving pure pleasure while they give little in return?

Keep repeating, “They need structure! I need leverage.”


Feel free to make comment below.  To receive future blog posts, register your email: https://shutdownlearner.com.

To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email – rselznick615@gmail.com

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2023, www.shutdownlearner.com.

“Boy, You’re in Hot Water”

Recently, 8-year-old Marty showed some signs of misbehavior when his mom exclaimed, “Boy, you’re in hot water now.”

Marty started having a meltdown, screaming and crying, “I don’t want to be in hot water!!!!!!!  I  It will hurt me!!!”

Seven-year-old Marissa became upset after her mom told her that her dad was not going to be home for dinner because he was, “tied up in traffic.”  “Why are they tying him up,” Marissa cried? “What did he do?  Who’s tying him up???”

When Walter started to get frustrated with his math assignment, his dad told him, “Oh, come on Walter, it’s a piece of cake.”  Walter looked at his father like he had lost his mind, saying his math work was a piece of cake.  What did he mean by that?

Georgette came home from school upset that children were making fun of her on the school bus.  “OK, Georgette, tell me about it.  I’m all ears.”  Horrified, Georgette started picturing her mother growing ears on her head, which then shut the conversation down.  Her mother was simply too weird to talk to her about anything.

Freely interspersed within our everyday language, we sprinkle different expressions and other figurative language such as similes and metaphors.  Such language can be quite lively and descriptive.

For many children, though, they don’t readily translate and they have no idea what’s being said leading to a form of communication breakdown.

What’s the solution? It’s not to stop using them.

One answer is that you make sure you are aware of your usage with such language. If your child’s eyes start to glaze over in confusion, then back up and ask, “Do you know what that means?”  If not, then clarify.

Takeaway Point

Make no assumptions about figurative language.  Many children will have no idea what different expressions, similes and metaphors mean.

Use the opportunity for enhancing your child’s language facility.

Don’t miss that boat!

Strike while the iron is hot!


To receive future blog posts, register your email: https://shutdownlearner.com.

To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email – rselznick615@gmail.com

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2023, www.shutdownlearner.com.

(***Please note:  All blogs represent the opinion and perspective of Dr. Richard Selznick.  Comments and questions are welcomed, but are blocked by the hosting site.  Please email questions or comments: rselznick615@gmail.com)  

“‘Every Picture Tells a Story (Don’t it)'”

Picking up on last week’s theme with Marla where we talked about her “anger issues (“Marla and Her ‘Anger Issues’”), there were other interactions with the world telling a similar story.

A day or so ago, I was with our dog, Ella, in a pet store. Ella was on a pretty tight leash.

The same could not be said about the two children (probably age three and five) who surprised Ella (and me) from behind, wildly squeaking toys at her.

Worried about how Ella might react to the children surprising her, I firmly told the children to not get so close, while their mom stood idly by watching, but doing nothing.

The children seemed taken aback that I wasn’t applauding their antics.  The mom looked quizzical that there were boundaries being set. (It was like her internal computer programming was locked up with the concept of limiting her children – “This does not compute…This does not compute.”)

Thankfully, Ella was probably the most mature creature in the place (including me) and didn’t react.

Most interactions like this tell a larger story.  It doesn’t take much to reveal an underlying philosophy.  Usually, one picture tells many or in the wisdom that you may remember from the famous song by  Rod Stewart and the Faces, “Every Picture Tells a Story (Don’ it).”

It certainly did in this case.


(***Please note:  All blogs represent the opinion and perspective of Dr. Richard Selznick.  Comments and questions are welcomed, but are blocked by the hosting site.  Please email questions or comments: rselznick615@gmail.com)  

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2022, www.shutdownlearner.com.

To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email rselznick615@gmail.com.

To receive future blog posts, register your email: https://shutdownlearner.com.

“Marla and Her ‘Anger Issues'”

One of my favorite kids, Marla, age 6, came in to see me.

Nearly six and going into first grade in the fall, I had tracked Marla since she was three. As the mental health professionals like to call it, Marla’s had issues with, “behavioral self-regulation.”

Marla’s difficulty with “behavioral self-regulation” usually appeared as her having difficulty keeping her hands to herself and frequently melting down when things were not going her way.

Marla came in to chat about summer camp, which was just starting.  Marla tells me that there is a counselor in her bunk who was assigned to her specifically “because of my anger issues.”

Marla’s frank statement of her “anger issues’ pulled me back a bit and I raised an inquisitive eyebrow and asked her, “Oh, yeah.  What are your anger issues?”

With a sly smile, she says very little and shrugs.

I encourage her to draw me her anger issues.  While Marla loves drawing, there was not much content that illustrated her anger issues.  I compliment her on the drawing.

I am not dismissing the idea that young kids like Marla can have “anger issues,” but there are a considerable percentage of kids who may not have anger issues, though it looks like it in how they behave and interact.

My interpretation of Marla’s “anger issues” was simple.

When she does not get what she wants Marla gets angry.  There was a small word that frequently results in Marla reacting poorly.   In short, Marla struggles with “no” and it makes her angry.

Too often, children like Marla are quickly diagnosed with ADHD and put on medication before understanding their difficulty coping with something like  the “no” word.

In Marla’s case a lot of work focused on both Marla and the way her parents managed her challenging behavior.

Over time Marla incrementally started to face reality that it wasn’t always going to go her way and that, yes, there is a no and you have to deal with it.


(***Please note:  All blogs represent the opinion and perspective of Dr. Richard Selznick.  Comments and questions are welcomed, but are blocked by the hosting site.  Please email questions or comments: rselznick615@gmail.com)  

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2022, www.shutdownlearner.com.

To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email rselznick615@gmail.com.

To receive future blog posts, register your email: https://shutdownlearner.com.

 

“‘What’s the Matter With Kids Today?'”

“The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think nothing but of themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.”  (Peter the Hermit, circa 1250)

Well, since he was a hermit, perhaps he wasn’t tuned in to the leading technology of the day, so what did he know.

Many centuries before Peter, Hesiod also despaired about the future and the state of youth at the time:

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous young people of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words.  When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful) and impatient of restraint.” (Hesiod, 8th Century, BCE).

A few hundred years after Hesiod, Socrates, as quoted by Plato, started to document ADHD in the classroom and the challenges that the beleaguered teachers faced.

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; and they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, and are not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”  (Socrates,  circa 870 BCE)

(Man, can you imagine if those hooligans in Socrates’ time had iPhones!!!!!!)

Plato built on Socrates and started his own documenting of oppositional defiant disorders and conduct disorder.

“What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders. They disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying.  What is to become of them?” (Plato)

Takeaway Point

The more things change, the more they remain the same.


(***Please note:  All blogs represent the opinion and perspective of Dr. Richard Selznick.  Comments and questions are welcomed, but are blocked by the hosting site.  Please email questions or comments: rselznick615@gmail.com)  

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2022, www.shutdownlearner.com.

To Contact Dr. Richard Selznick for advice, consultation or other information, email rselznick615@gmail.com.

To receive future blog posts, register your email: https://shutdownlearner.com.

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