Chucking a wobbly, spitting the dummy, cracking it, losing it – most mums and dads have probably suffered through tantrum-prone toddlers and troublesome teens.
But life in lockdown has taken the usual parenting challenges to a whole new level.
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According to Clinical Psychologist Andrew Fuller, young people have had a decade of upheavals packed into one year.
His new book, Tricky Behaviours, offers mums and dads some much-needed handholding through the headaches and hurdles of 2020.
“People have been on a heightened alert all year long, and then suddenly they’re going, ‘Wow, this has really affected me’ – it’s a really big change,” Fuller said.
Importance of rituals
According to Andrew, moody or difficult outbursts by our kids can often be masking anxiety.
“We have to think about how we can change the behaviour of the family,”
“One of the ways of doing that is to have some rituals so there’s some certainty in family life, even if there isn’t in the world.
“On Friday nights you can grab some pizza and popcorn and watch a movie, for example.
“Having something that you can centre life on is incredibly important for kids and their resilience.”
And when it comes to managing their emotions, Andrew says that’s up to the child, and not the parent.
“We need to have a strategy to help them gradually over time, and as they start to mature, they can start to understand these feelings and how to overcome them,”
“Otherwise you end up becoming the ‘police’ in your family all the time.
“I set out a method called RESOLVE – where the plan is to gradually lower the intensity of the emotion.
“In the psychology language, we call it emotional regulation.
“It’s an incredibly important skill to acquire in life.”
Andrew Fuller’s book Tricky Behaviours is out now.