Many parents set up an appointment with me when they are feeling frustrated, exhausted, helpless, or a multitude of other emotions. Most come in to our sessions with an open mind and an open heart, and are willing to try almost anything to make their situations better. One of the first things I tell parents is that “change takes time.” After a child has lived for 18 months or 2 years or 5 years finding success with tantruming or talking back or hitting, its going to take time to learn an alternative. Children need modelling and instruction of positive alternatives. They need opportunities to be successful, and consistent and continual reinforcement when they make a “good” choice. Even when all of these things are in place, children tend to show an initial backlash to the change in a parents reaction. Research shows that true change in any behavior (for a child or an adult) takes 14 days. During this time I am in frequent contact with parents. They need support and encouragement during this process.
Parents: Stick with it! You can do it! Your family will be happier and healthier for the effort!