Parenting Tips and Tricks: Behaviour Management Part 1

What parent has not been pushed to their limits by the antics of their children?

Be it a defiant adolescent insisting they know best, or the stubborn incoherence of a tantrumming two year old, I’m sure every parent has had at least one moment of not knowing what to do with their offspring.

If we’re honest, it’s likely that these moments occur more frequently than we’d like!

But although every parent has probably had at least one experience of shouting ill-thought out threats at their children, these sort of scenarios are not particularly effective in terms of behaviour management, or helpful in terms of relationship.

And unlike Mike Wazowski, who we see here losing his cool with the unreasonable Sulley, most of us can’t smooth over the situation by pretending we’re actually rehearsing a scene for a company play!

So what can you do to minimise these sorts of scenarios in your daily life as a parent? They’re still going to happen from time to time, but here are a few tips and tricks to help keep them to a minimum.

1. Establish clear rules and expectations.

Whether it’s the need to wash your hands before eating, saying please and thank you, taking your shoes off in the house or asking for permission before leaving the table, children need to know what is expected of them.

It may seem basic, but just as you wouldn’t expect someone to be an excellent football or netball player without understanding the rules and aim of the game, so children are much more likely to behave “well” if they know what you want of them.

Having clear expectations gives children guidelines for how to behave so that they don’t need to try to figure it out for themselves by trial and error, and that it is clear to everyone if an expectation has not been met.

For example, if the whole family knows that they’re expected to speak kindly to one another, then being rude or unkind to someone is clearly not ok.

By establishing clear expectations for behaviour, you can avoid unnecessary (or “accidental”) misbehaviour.

2. Frame it positively

It’s generally easier to work toward something than away from it. At work, most of us tend to be motivated more by the idea that we’ll get paid at the end of the week, than by fear that we might lose our job.

The same principle applies with rules and expectations at home. As a rule of thumb, it is better to establish a “do this” expectation than a “don’t do this” expectation.

For example, while setting up the expectation that we “Don’t hit” is a good principle, it’s more helpful to say “Be gentle with others”. This is a broader but more succinct concept covering not only “Don’t hit”, but also “Don’t kick, pinch, scratch, bite, pinch or pull” (particularly important for the pedants amongst us!).

Framing something positively also means that the child knows from the expectation/rule itself what is required of them. They don’t have to search for an alternative behaviour to the thing they were just about to do.

For example, the expectation “Don’t interrupt while Mum/Dad is talking” requires the child to think of what else to do. That’s fine, but it is easier (and therefore more likely achievable) for the child to do what’s required if the expectation itself states what they should do, eg “Wait your turn to talk”.

3. Keep your cool

There will be times when your children don’t follow your expectations. Many of them are champion “button pushers”, knowing exactly what to do to get a rise out of you, but when you lose your cool all you achieve is two (or more) extremely irritated people and quite possibly an escalation to the situation.

Remember, you are the adult in the situation. As much as they may resist, refuse and refute your claim to that role, you are still the adult! Your child needs you to be mature, to manage the situation, and to guide them in their behaviour.

It’s part of what parenting is.

So if you feel your blood pressure rising and your frustration soaring,

– Take a breath.

– Close your eyes for a few seconds.

– Close your mouth, figuratively bite your tongue, and count to ten in your head.

– If it’s safe to do so, step outside the room for a few moments to gather your thoughts.

– If there’s another adult there who is able to take over, now would be a great time to “sub out”, but if not just do your best to keep your cool.

And remember, even the best parent messes up from time to time, so cut yourself some slack if you’re not always perfect. It’s still helpful to aim high.

Tips and Tricks Part 2 can be found here

Psychometric Assessments

Cognitive (IQ) assessments are available for individuals from 2.5 to 90 years of age.

Adaptive assessments are conducted in conjunction with cognitive assessments in order to ascertain the individual’s emotional and behavioural well-being, as well as to determine their functional skills in day-to-day life.

Academic assessments may be incorporated into assessments for children from 4 years of age, depending on the nature of the referral. Academic assessments can also be conducted independent of cognitive and adaptive assessments.

Socio-emotional assessments and social communication screeners may be incorporated depending on the nature of the referral to assess the social and emotional functioning of the individual.

Psychometric assessments such as those listed above can be used to:

  • Identify learning disabilities such as reading disorders and mathematical disorders
  • Identify gifted and talented children
  • Identify intellectual disabilities
  • Identify the influence of the individual’s social and emotional functioning on broader functioning
  • Guide appropriate school-placement
  • Determine individual patterns of intellectual strength and weakness
  • Provide recommendations to optimize effective learning and development
  • Identify the need for any further testing for specific conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders

What assessments are used?

Australian standardised Wechsler tools (WISC-V/WPPSI-IV/WAIS-IV and WIAT-III) are used to assess cognitive (IQ) and academic ability respectively, and the Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System, 3rd Edition (ABAS-III) is used to assess adaptive skills. The Behavior Assessment System for Children, 3rd Edition (BASC-3) assesses behavioural and emotional functioning of people aged between 2 and 21 years.

What is involved in a psychometric assessment?

Assessments involve the following:

  • Following an initial brief phone consultation, a one hour appointment will be scheduled to gather additional background information and determine with the person making the referral what question they are hoping the assessment will answer.
  • Based on the first appointment, a quote will be prepared outlining which assessments are required in order to answer the referral question, and costing for this assessment bundle.
  • An assessment session/sessions will be scheduled with the individual. These generally last between 45 and 90 minutes for cognitive assessments and/or 30 to 80 minutes for academic assessments.
  • Parent, teacher and/or self-rating adaptive forms, socio-emotional and social communication screeners are usually completed prior to the assessment but assistance can be provided if needed.
  • An assessment report (including assessment results and recommendations for future directions) is provided within 2 weeks of the assessment
  • An in-person feedback session with the person who made the referral to discuss the results and recommendations can be scheduled if desired.

Costing

The cost of assessment varies based on the referral question and needs of the individual. Prices generally start at $1000.  Please contact Lynley to discuss further.

Please note: Assessments may be included under NDIS service agreements (charged according to an hourly rate) if in alignment with the individual’s NDIS goals.

Lynley does not currently offer Autism Diagnostic Assessments.

Please direct all enquiries about assessments to Lynley

directly via email: lynley.yeo@gmail.com

Lynley Yeo

Lynley gained her Masters in Educational and Developmental Psychology from Western Sydney University in 2009. She is a member of the Australian Psychological Society and a Medicare provider. Lynley is also a Board Approved Psychology Supervisor for the 5+1 and 4+2 programs.

Lynley worked in the public sector providing behavioural and mental health support to people with intellectual disabilities and their families/carers between 2009 and 2014. From 2015 to 2019 Lynley worked as a psychologist at an independent K-12 school whilst concurrently working with private clients as a sole trader at Yeo Psychology. Lynley currently works primarily out of offices at Bridges Counselling in Oatlands NSW, a private counselling and psychology practice.

Lynley is passionate about supporting people to achieve their best quality of life. She believes the best outcomes can only be achieved by working collaboratively with clients and the key people in their lives. She is passionate about working with families of all varieties and people with all levels of ability.  She particularly enjoys working with young people and their families.

Lynley uses a range of therapeutic techniques including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in conjunction with a strengths-based, positive behaviour framework and individually tailored therapeutic interventions.