Plan Ahead, Stay Ahead, and You Won’t Lose Your Head

Families and children are frequently stressed by trying to do too much in too little time. Keep a calendar close by and use it to plan ahead and schedule, or limit activities as needed – your family health and wellness depends on it. Another way to stay ahead is to anticipate your child’s behavior and plan a course of action to accommodate or prevent it. Is your son falling asleep easily during school or showing signs of depression or sleep disorders?  Be sure he has adequate sleep every night and limit his food intake prior to bedtime.

The first of basic skills for parenting is planning ahead. Having a plan, sticking to it and staying in emotional control (maintaining your own mental health and wellness) when things don’t go according to plan – are essential to being an effective parent. Parenting is a process that works best, is most rewarding and fun, when time and energy are directed to planning and thinking ahead about our actions. Stress, anxiety, worry are all minimized when we take the time to plan ahead.

Thinking ahead will actually make you more efficient and effective – able to handle challenges, triggers and family matters easily and resourcefully. It will create more time, energy and wellness for you.  The time you now spend on inefficient worry and the emotions you expend in frustration and anger will be reduced. Your time will not only be more happily and efficiently used, you will actually have more control over your life.

There are several important areas where thinking ahead and planning ahead will have significant benefits:

1. Becoming aware of the images, hopes and dreams you desire for your parenting and for your family.
2. Increasing your child’s willingness to do what you ask.
3. Understanding what is meaningful and important to your child.
4. Improving the positive atmosphere of your home.
5. Minimizing stress, depression and anxiety, worry, bullying and other mental illnesses.
6. Maximizing the potential for family health and wellness.

Behavior as Communication

Children communicate through their behavior. The behavior of younger children should be viewed as a means by which the child affects his or her environment and also, perhaps more importantly, as a way in which the child communicates comfort and discomfort.

The behavior of children – what they choose to do- is deliberate and necessary, even though it is not intentionally communicative in a direct sense. Thus, we need to be prepared to interpret the meaning of our children’s behavior. In the child’s world, the behavior we see is a guideline to his or her underlying emotion. It typically communicates in a direct fashion his or her feelings and motivation. Thus, do not ignore aggressive or obsessive compulsive behavior, bullying,  regression, yelling, temper tantrums, hyperactivity, anxiety symptoms or other behavioral problems or onsets of developmental disorders.

– by Frank Doberman, PhD

Dr. Frank Doberman is Co-Founder of Karner Psychological Associates (KPA) and is a leader in the fields of clinical psychology, is a Licensed Psychologist, Certified in School Psychology, Educational Administration and is a regular contributor to News 10 WTEN.

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