Parent Coaching: Peer Orientation In A 6-Year-Old ChildMay 18, 2021
"It's probably been going on for the past two, maybe two and a half years. As I said, my son is six and a half years old and any time we're in a social gathering, social setting, he goes into a kind of hyperdrive, on a regular basis."
This week on the 3D Parent Podcast, we're going to listen in on this live parent coaching session where I will be working with the parent of a 6 year old boy, which is having some trouble handling being in social situations and participating in large social gatherings.
Together, we'll learn:
- the history of this particular challenge for this parent
- identify the root causes of what may be causing this
- and problem-solve solutions with the 3D parent approach in mind (the 3d parent approach is my method of parenting with dignity, direction, and deep connection).
I hope the tips in this episode are helpful, not only to current parents, but for anyone who is embarking on their own parenting journey, and for you as well.
Things You Will Learn
[00:33] I start off our live parent coaching session with Elizabeth. Here, I inquire about her and her family’s background, their ages, and the activities and things their family loves to do to connect with each other.
[02:09] Elizabeth and I dive right into the parenting challenge that they encounter. Their son, who is six and a half years old, goes into a kind of hyperdrive in a social setting, and at social gatherings. He would squirm, wiggle, and try to get away from his parents each time. This leads to frustration on the part of both parties and now, their child is not having any fun and ignores his parents which is not their normal interaction.
[07:12] Elizabeth shares the solutions they tried so far which haven’t worked as we attempt to shed more light on the situation. Here, she lists the solutions they’ve tried, and I touch on some tips like, the dangers of making empty threats to your child. Elizabeth continues to explain further how difficult their child’s behavior gets especially in public/social settings and social gatherings.
[11:43] We break down the possible causes of this type of behavior and unique energy that is often showcased by children. We also touch on a hard and fast rule which presents a dynamic between kids and parents. I break down some of the things that set apart the types of kids’ behavior when they’re alone with their parents and when they’re out in public, or in a social environment. To conclude, we’re going to provide you insight on what to do in these instances when your child is not naturally following your lead and focuses instead on the attention of his peers.
[15:15] I want to take the time to discuss the one-on-peer orientation stated by Dr. Gordon Neufeld from the field of Developmental Psychology. We will learn more about your child’s natural instinct to be more connected, and seek the approval of their peers more than the adults who have taken care of them up until this point. The good news is, there are several things that you can do to reverse this dynamic, given your child’s age, which at this stage is still very much redirectable.
[20:00] We uncover why these problem behaviors occurs and why your kids become peer-oriented in these situations from the perspective of it being a cultural norm. Here, we emphasize the importance of your children having an attachment to you as their parents, which needs to be more than their attachment to their peers. Though, a lot of times as parents, we really encourage our kids to make friends and just try to help our children connect to their peers at very young ages. In the end, nurturing the relationship between you and your child should have more focus and more importance than having lots of focus on peer relationships.
[26:16] Here, we list another reason why kids become peer attached. This might be an indication that in certain moments, the attachment comes in when they’re insecure or that your child is experiencing too much separation from you or their primary caregiver, with the separation being both real and perceived. In addition, we will also discuss how your discipline techniques might feel wounding to your child which leads to them opting for social isolation.
[31:01] As parents, you need to recognize that a lot of what you’re doing in these instances is trying to control your child’s behaviors. Once you realize that you can’t, when they’re out of control, that’s the time that it becomes so triggering and frustrating. A shift in the way you approach these problems might help you feel less triggered and a little bit more in control. You may try to approach discipline in a way that is not about trying to control your child’s behavior, but more of trying to address what’s causing these behaviors to manifest in the first place.
[32:37] I am going to give you a tip on what to do or more specifically, how do you get your foot back in the door and get your child to start orienting towards you again when someone/something else already has a hold over them? I will let you know why occasional playdates and limiting the amount of time your kid is spending with peers is okay, good even. But, so is being more mindful about where he is right now in the stage of development and repairing anything between you and your child that might need repairing to deepen your connection. Finally, I’m going to introduce you to the no-buts apology.
[36:33] Elizabeth talks a bit more about having a physical separation with her kid who is now in first grade and so went from being with each other almost all the time a year ago to being the complete opposite this time around. We’ll talk more about the instances when you have less time to work on that connection with your kid and why it’s really up to us to make all the difference there.
[39:17] I give you the first thing to ask yourself when your child seems to be spinning out of control in social settings or when he’s around his peers, as well as ways on how to redirect that energy when your connection and attachment with your child isn’t working for you. We’ll offer ideas that aren’t usually the norm, such as going in and trying to connect with your child through play or something else that might work better for you and your child to generate that connection again. Here, we revisit the importance of engagement, even eye contact, and the technique called, “collect before direct.”
[43:28] We will take a close look at these two contrasting parenting styles: One that has really high standards, very much consistent, has rules and expectations, but at the same time is empathetic and responsive to their child’s emotional needs. The other being more of a, “you’re in trouble”, rules, and punishment, without actually ever getting to the root of the issues, type of parent. I’ll let you in on some techniques to become a nurturing alpha rather than the opposite of that.
[47:04] Finally, we’re going to explain why talking to your child through the expectations, on how he’s going to behave at a party, for instance, is much better than giving out threats, especially now that he’s young, impulsive, and immature given his current age.
Hold on you your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter more than Peers- Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate
When Peers Matter More Than Parents - Deborah MacNamara
Healing Broken Attachments with Our Kids - Deborah MacNamara
Quotes From Episode 22
"There's kind of a hard and fast rule when it comes to parents and children and the dynamic there that kids instinctively want to follow, obey. Listen to those to whom they feel connected to and attached to in a given moment."
"When kids become too peer attached, they kind of resist learning from us. Instead of being interested in what we have to share with them, the influence we have over them, they reject that. They push it away and they're just trying to connect peer to peer and as we know, peer relationships are inherently problematic because they're volatile."
"No parent wants to feel powerless. And that's, again, probably a big trigger for you, is when you feel like you don't have anything else to do but to yell or to threaten or to punish because you're feeling powerless in those moments."
"You're basically trying to control him (your child) because you have no control, and as I said, the control is one hundred percent in your parent-child connection and attachment."
"This is not forever. This is where we are right now. You want to be building upon his successes instead of continuously coming up upon these frustrating situations."
Let's work together! I provide 1:1 support for parents motivated to make positive changing in their parenting and gain confidence and increase fulfillment in their role as parents. If this sounds like it might be what you've been looking for, book a free consultation today.
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