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Friday, December 11, 2015

book - Bloom - 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids

Bloom - 
50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top kids 
by Lynne Kenney, PsyD and Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD 

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This was such an incredible book! A great resource for parents and anyone who works with students. This was an easy to read book (I actually read it in one day, that never happens as a busy mom!), and one that had plenty of fun visuals and quotes to help you stay focused and inspired by the authors' suggestions.

The authors talked a lot about instead of dictating what our children need to do, we should be more like behavioral detectives, figuring out the reasons why our kids are behaving in certain ways and supporting them.

"With Bloom we help our children develop critical thinking skills so they choose their thoughts more and are controlled by their thoughts less," the authors wrote on page 5.

They suggest that high intensity children need time over and over to practice the skills we are teaching them. They need patience to be order to do this and make mistakes.

"The basic Bloom Parenting Method is about building cognitive, social and behavioral skill sets instead of using consequences and punishment to manage behavior." (page 8)

Difficult behavior needs more love, understanding and patience from parents.

"If a flower is wilting, we don't pluck it out of the garden, we give it a little water and TLC and bring it back to a thing of beauty. Sometimes our kids need a little 'perking' up, too." (page 10)

This book is set up in chapters explaining concerns that parents have and solutions that may work, things we can say or do to support our children through those situations. I love this! It's an easy way to follow the advice given in this book.

Morning Chaos

  • Look at your children when giving instructions, don't parent from the other room in the mornings. 
  • "Our children feel stressed, worried and scared when we are in the habit of rushing in the morning. This can make everyone defensive, angry or anxious." (page 13)
  • By managing our own tasks and time the night before, doing everything we need to do then as much as possible, laying out clothing, etc. it sets the tone for our children to have a calmer morning. 
  • Developing routines and structure, steps to follow in the mornings, helps everyone know what to expect and easily comply.
  • Collaborate- work WITH your child. Give choices, talk through things. 
"As parents, we set the sensory, emotional and behavioral tone in our families." (page 14) 

When asking for things like the bedroom to be cleaned, talk through what it would look like if it were clean, what the bed would appear like, the dresser, etc. Talk through it first before just saying "clean your room." Ask for their input, ideas, suggestions, and let the child lead a lot of the process. (page 30)

There are GREAT chapters in this book about why kids bite and hit others. Great resource for anyone going through this! 

Biting, for example is a way kids communicate when they can't express words. That's helpful to know! (page 43)

We need to help our kids process, talk even when they can't find the words. 

"If we can breathe and develop the habit of empathizing with and validating our children's feelings before we take any other action we can help them to develop better internal self-regulation skills while improving their ability to problem solve at the same time." (page 45)

On page 50, the authors provide a great process for teaching children how to handle behavioral situations. 

Step 1: Empathize with what you see… I see… I understand…. You may be feeling… It's hard….
Step 2: Offer new words or actions… I'd like to help you… We can do this instead….
Step 3: Practice… Let's try this… Let's see what it looks like…

"We cannot punish children out of undesirable behavior. We teach them into more pro-social behavior." (page 51) 

Notice what's working! Particularly when you see kids hitting or having a hard time, praise them when you see them doing it RIGHT. 

"Children have over-the-top feelings, when they don't have the skills to cope in the moment." (page 56) 

The authors don't agree with forcing kids to apologize, but rather you say sorry for them and model it, encouraging them to learn how to apologize themselves when they mistreat a peer.

I went through this with my son when he was a toddler. A child who hits is very challenging to handle and so emotional for a parent. These authors offered great ideas on why it happens and what to do about it. 

"When children resort to hitting, their behavior is telling us that they do not have the tools to solve their problems. You can imagine that your child is saying to you, 'Hey Mom, my feelings are HUGE and I can't handle them. Here, you hold them for a second and maybe you can manage them better.'… Hitting is a form of communicating things are not feeling right." (page 65)

Some kids feel territorial and so they hit when someone gets into their space. Helping them learn to keep in their own space or move away if others come closer is a helpful way to teach them to avoid hitting. 

This was a really interesting chapter to read about on page 81, explaining that sassing or back talk is really about a child feeling "lost, alone and unlikable." I've not thought of it that way before. Sometimes they feel poorly about themselves or powerless, the authors wrote about. 

The authors wrote that parents can imagine when kids sass, sometimes it means, "I cannot hear you, understand you or respond politely because you yell too much, speak too loudly and listen too little." (page 81)

Sassing can mean:
"My emotional needs are not being met."
"I'm overwhelmed." 
"I'm being disrespected."
"You are not hearing me so I'm creating an attitude."

"Don't personalize your child's behavior. He is not 'doing something' to you; he is communicating with you. What does he most need from you when he's struggling with his feelings?" (page 106) 

I highly recommend buying this book! It's a great, easy read, that offers TONS of information, way more that I did not review here. I commend the authors on their innovative ideas. 

I know you will benefit from reading this book with the children in your home or those you work with. It's geared for ages 3-12, but I think you could use it sooner than that. 

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