Introduction: Present Moment Parenting is a concept that Tina Feigal from ParentingMojo.com works with to coach parents who are rearing children with many types of behavioral challenges. Her methods have been proven to raise children’s self-esteem, to calm them, and to help them navigate life’s trials in a much more peaceful and successful way.
What type of issues do the kids have?
Her parent coaching clients have kids of all ages who have ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, giftedness, adoption or foster care issues, and even those with no diagnosis at all.
She shares some of her wisdom here for parents who might be worrying about what will happen to their child when they reach adulthood.
So often when I offer parents techniques such as speaking in softer tones, not getting upset, listening deeply, and showing respect to a child, they say, “Well that’s not how it will be in the ‘real world.’ What about when he gets a job and his boss tells him what to do, and he’s just supposed to do it?”
Stop. Wait. We left something out of this picture. It’s called “child development.” The point is that a child is not a “young man,” even though we often call him that. He’s a developing person, so our expectations need to match his developmental phase, or we will definitely have a fight on our hands. When parents make unreasonable demands of their children, they rebel. This is not unnatural, as the “organism child” knows what it’s capable of, and it knows what it’s not. This is more of an instinct on the child’s part than a willful decision. In other words, it’s not conscious.
Let’s take a look at expectations. Would we apply the same argument about the workplace to other areas? The man in this picture climbs to electrical wires 80 feet above the street to repair them. So should his parents have started teaching him to shop for clothes, buy tools, drive to work, climb into a cherry picker, and know what to do up there to avoid electrocution when he was 8? Probably not. But we often get caught in this trap of expectations when it comes to “controlling your behavior” and “showing respect” when we are equally off the mark regarding the child’s capabilities.
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Tina Feigal, M.S., Ed. is the Director of Family Engagement at Anu Family Services/Center for the Challenging Child. Formerly a school psychologist, and a parenting coach since 2000, she can help you overcome some of the major difficulties you have rearing your challenging child.
Many parents of challenging children find it’s more convenient being available when the school calls unexpectedly, or when other demands clamor. That’s why working from home is often the best option when you have a special child. Some are finding that parent coaching is a natural fit for them. You can check it out here.
Wonder if becoming a parent coach is a good fit for you? The best way to find out is to identify your life values. The Values Arrangement List (The VAL) is a great starting place when you are making a decision as important as a new career. To identify your best options click on this link.
Picture the 8-year-old. He’s not a developed man, as you know. He has no facial hair, beard, or pronounced jaw. He has no job, no mortgage, and only a third grade education. He looks innocent, and he is. If he crosses his parents, it’s because he doesn’t see the big picture yet, nor does he have the brain development to stop his impulses all the time. If he’s had trauma, or a diagnosis like ADHD, Asperger’s, autism, or an attachment disorder, he’s a lot younger than 8. He could use some softer tones, calm demeanor, listening deeply, and yes some respect, until he gets to the point where he needs to answer to a boss.
In fact, all children need those things. And even adults do. There’s no hard and fast “world out there” that’s guaranteed to chew your son up if you’ve been gentle with him during childhood. But if he does encounter such a world, your gentleness has given him time and space to grow, mature, and become the kind of man who can take the inevitable knocks of life with grace and not anger. The children who can’t respond well to adversity are the ones who were asked to “grow up” too soon.
Having your unique needs met when you’re 2, 8, 16, etc., opens the path to all your educational, social, emotional and worldly maturation. There’s really no other way to get there.
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