Helping your child destress.
At some point in every child's life, he or she manifests symptoms of what parents often mistakenly identify as misbehavior: the temper tantrum in the store, the refusal to go to bed at the appointed hour, the inability to sit still and concentrate in school. Shanker (Psychology and Philosophy/York Univ.) helps parents realize that many times this "misbehavior" is simply a reaction to excessive stress. Demonstrating how to "[reframe] the perception of a child's behavior,” the author shows that “once you can distinguish between misbehavior and stress behavior, you find yourself better able to pause and reflect when he does something you find disturbing, rather than reacting automatically." By identifying the causes of stress or overstimulation—too much noise, light, cold, or heat, etc.—parents can then work toward reducing these issues. “Self-reg” is a five-step process: one must study the signs of distress, identify the stressors, reduce them, become aware of when these moments occur, and finally figure out what is calming and restful so the child can recover. Often, writes Shanker, it is as simple as turning off the lights and TV and gently rubbing the child's back in a safe spot such as his or her bed. The author bolsters his theories with case studies of real patients whose numerous behavioral issues have been resolved using his five-step method. He also provides plenty of scientific analysis of the way the human brain works and how humans respond to different stimuli. His information is straightforward and will be useful for any age level, from infant to adolescent to adult. When carried out as methodically as Shanker describes, his process should help many parents with children who are simply reacting to our overstimulated world.
Comprehensive data backs up a much-tested system that assists parents in getting their children to a calmer state of mind.