10 Simple Ways to Build an Unbreakable Bond With Your Child, by Angela Pruess

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Our connection to our children means everything.

It means the difference between a confident child and an insecure one. It means the difference between a cooperative child and a defiant one. Our early attachments and ongoing connection to our children fostered through love, nurturance, and guidance is a strong predictor of our child’s success in many areas of life.

We’ve heard a lot about attachment, so the concept and importance of bonding with our baby seems obvious. Just because your little one has grown to become a lot bigger, smellier, and sassier doesn’t mean your bond and connection with them is any less vital to their development. In fact, it continues to be of the utmost importance throughout childhood.

Life with kids is busy. It’s not uncommon at the end of the day to find yourself wondering whether you even sat face to face with your child. Here’s the good news: You’re likely already engaging with your child in activities that promote a strong parent-child relationship.

Reading

We all know reading with children is a simple way to improve their language and reading skills. But research also shows that reading with children actually stimulates patterns of brain development responsible for connection and bonding.

This makes sense when we consider that story time usually involves cuddling, eye contact, and shared emotion. If you make reading together a priority in your home, you are without a doubt connecting with your child.

Art

Engaging in art or craft activities with children is an awesome way to provide not only a fun and enjoyable experience, but a therapeutic one as well. No matter their age, you’ll be hard pressed to find a child who can’t find an art medium that interests him.

When engaged in a creative process with children, we provide an outlet for them to express their thoughts and feelings. This is especially true with younger children, who aren’t yet able to verbalize their complex emotions. When your child has access to acreative outlet, odds are that interactions between the two of you will be more positive.

Music

Whether listening to them play an instrument or dancing to the “Trolls” soundtrack together, music offers lots of benefits for both parent and child, including bringing our awareness into our bodies and into the current moment. Your kids will be practicing mindfulness without even knowing it!

It’s pretty difficult to focus on a mistake at school yesterday or the test coming up tomorrow when we’re busy processing auditory input as well as coordinating our motor skills.

Nature

Feeling stressed? Stress is often a huge barrier to parents engaging with their children. Spending time with your child out in nature will go a long way to increase emotional health and physical well-being for both parties.

Research tells us that exposure to nature reduces our blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, as well as the production of stress hormones. Nature is no joke. Even if you don’t have time to go for a hike, simply water a plant together. These studies show similar effects can be derived from even small amounts of nature.

Play

Play is the language of children, so it only makes sense that we should try to connect with them though something that comes so naturally. When parents enter their child’s world and follow their lead in play, they open up the possibility for many positive outcomes, including taking on a different relationship role and seeing our children from a new perspective.

(To read more of this post, please follow the link below…)

http://www.parent.co/10-simple-ways-to-build-an-unbreakable-bond-with-your-child/

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Fear and Anxiety – An Age by Age Guide to Common Fears, The Reasons for Each and How to Manage Them, by Karen Young

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It is very normal for all children to have specific fears at some point in their childhood. Even the bravest of hearts beat right up against their edges sometimes. As your child learns more about the world, some things will become more confusing and frightening. This is nothing at all to worry about and these fears will usually disappear on their own as your child grows and expands his or her experience.

In the meantime, as the parent who is often called on to ease the worried mind of your small person, it can be helpful to know that most children at certain ages will become scared of particular things.

When is fear or anxiety a problem?

Fear is a very normal part of growing up. It is a sign that your child is starting to understand the world and the way it works, and that they are trying to make sense of what it means for them. With time and experience, they will come to figure out for themselves that the things that seem scary aren’t so scary after all. Over time, they will also realise that they have an incredible capacity to cope.

Fears can certainly cause a lot of cause distress, not only for the kids and teens who have the fears, but also for the people who care about them. It’s important to remember that fears at certain ages are completely appropriate and in no way are a sign of abnormality.

The truth is, there really is no such thing as an abnormal fear, but some kids and teens will have fears that are more intense and intrusive. Even fears that seem quite odd at first, will make sense in some way.

For example, a child who does not want to be separated from you is likely to be thinking the same thing we all think about the people we love – what if something happens to you while you are away from them? A child who is scared of balloons would have probably experienced that jarring, terrifying panic that comes with the boom. It’s an awful feeling. Although we know it passes within moments, for a child who is still getting used to the world, the threat of that panicked feeling can be overwhelming. It can be enough to teach them that balloons pretend to be fun, but they’ll turn fierce without warning and the first thing you’ll know is the boom. #not-fun-you-guys

Worry becomes a problem when it causes a problem. If it’s a problem for your child or teen, then it’s a problem. When the fear seems to direct most of your child’s behaviour or the day to day life of the family (sleep, family outings, routines, going to school, friendships), it’s likely the fear has become too pushy and it’s time to pull things back.

So how do we get rid of the fear?

If you have a child with anxiety, they may be more prone to developing certain fears. Again, this is nothing at all to worry about. Kids with anxiety will mostly likely always be sensitive kids with beautiful deep minds and big open hearts. They will think and feel deeply, which is a wonderful thing to have. We don’t want to change that. What we want to do is stop their deep-thinking minds and their open hearts from holding them back.

The idea then, isn’t to get rid of all fears completely, but to make them manageable. As the adult in their lives who loves them, you are in a perfect position to help them to gently interact with whatever they are scared of. Eventually, this familiarity will take the steam out of the fear.

First of all though, it can be helpful for you and your child to know that other children just like them are going through exactly the same experience.

An age by age guide to fears.

When you are looking through the list, look around your child’s age group as well. Humans are beautifully complicated beings and human nature doesn’t tend to stay inside the lines. The list is a guide to common fears during childhood and the general age at which they might appear. There are no rules though and they might appear earlier or later.

Infants and toddlers (0-2)

•   Loud noises and anything that might overload their senses (storms, the vacuum cleaner, blender, hair dryer, balloons bursting, sirens, the bath draining, abrupt movement, being put down too quickly).

Here’s why: When babies are born, their nervous systems are the baby versions. When there is too much information coming to them through their senses, such as a loud noise or being put down too quickly (which might make them feel like they’re falling), it’s too much for their nervous systems to handle.

 

(To read more of this article, please follow the link below…)

heysigmund.com/age-by-age-guide-to-fears/

Five things pediatricians want dads to know about how important they are to their kids, by Megan Daley

 

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Pediatricians have a message for fathers: You’re more important to your child’s health and well-being than you — and we — might have realized.

After assessing more than a decade’s worth of psychological and sociological research, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a new report about fatherhood and the things doctors can do to help the nation’s 70 million dads reach their full parenting potential.

Fathers aren’t just back-ups for moms. Their presence in their children’s lives is beneficial in and of itself.

For instance, a 2012 study in the journal Development and Psychopathology looked at pairs of sisters who had differing levels of father involvement. Researchers found that the chances of teen pregnancy and other early sexual experiences were lower for daughters who spent more quality time with their dads.

A review of multiple studies found that kids who grew up spending time with their fathers were less likely to have behavioral and psychological problems. They were also more likely to be independent, intelligent and have improved social awareness.

See the most-read stories in Science this hour »

“The role of fathers, and fatherhood, is in the process of changing,” said Raymond Levy, a clinical psychologist and executive director of the Fatherhood Project at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Traditional roles are merging, with moms spending more time in the workplace and dads spending more at home.

The new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics takes an expansive view of fatherhood. It defines fathers not merely as men who sire children, but as the male adults who are most invested in the care of a child. That can include a biological or adoptive dad, a stepfather or a grandfather.

Here’s further proof that modern dads don’t necessarily resemble Jim Anderson, the insurance salesman patriarch of the TV series “Father Knows Best” — today, fathers account for 16% of America’s single parents, a number that totals 1.9 million. In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that nearly 200,000 married fathers are stay-at-home dads.

The authors of the new report considered the special needs of specific groups of fathers, including those in same-sex relationships, those coping with military deployment and those who have spent time in prison.

“We’ve looked more broadly at our totally diverse groups of fathers,” said lead author Dr. Michael Yogman, a practicing pediatrician who studies father-child relationships at Harvard Medical School. “We’ve realized it’s really important to encourage fathers to be involved.”

Here are five things dads can do to take their parenting to the next level.

Be a role model

Children look up to their fathers and have a tendency to imitate their behaviors. That’s why pediatricians want dads to be conscious of how the actions they take — whether it’s lighting a cigarette or buckling a seat belt — will influence their children as they grow and learn to make decisions on their own.

Fathers should get involved with their kids right from the beginning, by playing with them or just talking to them. That lets them see their dads as supportive companions and teachers.

“The old expectation that men were inadequate mothers, and that they had to do everything just like mothers did with young children, was unfair,” Yogman said.

He encourages fathers to find their own relationship with their children and figure out what works best for them.

(To read more of this article, please follow the link below…)

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-fathers-pediatricians-20160613-snap-story.html

All you need is Love Bombing, by Oliver James, psychologist

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In March 2010 I received an email from Miranda. She wrote that her son Tim, nine, “seems to not like himself and has no focus. He says he hates himself and that he’s rubbish at everything”. A bright boy, Tim refused to do his homework and was prone to temper tantrums.

The solution I proposed was love bombing, a method I developed to reset the emotional thermostats of children aged three to puberty. It entails spending a period of time alone with your child, offering them unlimited love and control. It works for a wide variety of common problems, severe or mild; from defiant – even violent – aggression to shyness, sleeping problems or underperformance at school.

This is not the same as “quality time” – just hanging out with your child. When you love bomb, you create a special emotional zone wholly different from normal life, with new rules. More than 100 families have tried it, nearly all with positive results.

So, how exactly does it work? First, you explain to your child that, sometime soon, the two of you are going to spend time together, one to one, and have a lot of fun. Your child is going to decide what they want and when they want it, within reason. You give the message that this is going to be a Big Event: It’s Coming Soon … How Exciting! The child then draws up a list of things to do. It doesn’t matter if it includes lots of SpongeBob SquarePants: the key is that your child has chosen it.

Throughout the experience, you are trying, as much as possible, to give them the feeling of “whatever I want, I get” – of being in control and of being gratified, as well as bombed with love.

You may be thinking: Is he mad? My child is a tyrant – rewarding him like that is just going to make it even worse! This is understandable. Love bombing seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom, which often recommends more control, not less, when a child is not complying, and stricter, firmer reactions to undesirable behaviour.

(To read more of this article, please follow the link below…)

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/sep/22/oliver-james-love-bombing-children

An Introduction to Attachment Play By Marion Badenoch Rose

 When you dreamt of becoming a parent, did you imagine going on picnics with your child/ren, laughing in the sunshine, snuggling up to them, reading stories, and gazing into their eyes?
I imagine you didn’t visualise power struggles when they wouldn’t put their shoes on or brush their teeth, or feeling incredibly frustrated when they didn’t listen to you, jump up and down on the bed before sleep, or refuse to eat any vegetables?
Often the spark and joy of being a parent can leave us, and at moments we may feel intense frustration, anger, powerlessness, and despair.
All because our toddler won’t get into the car seat, or bites or hits us or another child, or asks incessant questions.
Is this you?
You’ve done all this incredibly gentle, compassionate, loving parenting when they were babies, and when they got older and don’t cooperate, you sometimes don’t know what to do?
You don’t want to get harsh, or threaten, or punish, or give rewards, or disconnect with your child, but how on earth can you help her to WANT to cooperate?

And what about those times when she doesn’t seem to want to be with Dad, and tells him to go away, or there’s a dentist visit looming, or suddenly she’s afraid of dogs, or is reluctant to start school.
It’s at times like these that we can be at our wits end.
How do we help our child, without just giving up and feeling hopeless that we’ll ever get out the door/ get them to sleep/ help them go to the dentist?
OR, perhaps you find yourself feeling so deeply frustrated that you use your bigger power over him, and force him into the car seat, or forcibly brush his teeth, or speak harshly when he doesn’t put his shoes on, and then you feel deeply uncomfortable afterwards, because this just wasn’t how you wanted to be when you became a parent?
Enter, Stage Left, attachment play.
Attachment play is an incredible resource, created by Aletha Solter, Ph.D., in her book of the same name, (www.attachmentplay.com).
Attachment play actually works at the ROOT CAUSE of why children do all those things that we find most challenging – the not cooperating, the running around, the swearing, the biting, the apparently not listening, the doing-something-they-know-we-don’t-want-them-to-do, the jumping on the bed before sleep, etc. etc. etc!

SO, WHY DO THEY DO ALL THOSE CHALLENGING THINGS?
Is it like the behaviourists said, in the 1950’s?
Is it because children are inherently ‘bad’ and need to ‘learn’ how to be cooperative, compassionate, connected human beings?
Do they need to be told, over and over again, that hitting hurts, or that we don’t want them to play with the lamp, and that we really do need to go to the shops so we can get some food?
When they do those things, are they doing it deliberately, to ‘wind us up’ or ‘make us feel mad?’
I know that sometimes, those are the thoughts that can come up for us when we are incredibly frustrated,because those are often the paradigms that we were brought up with, and at times of stress our conditioning can return.
In comparison, attachment play is based on a very different set of beliefs about children, and all human beings.

From an attachment play perspective, which comes from Aware Parenting (www.awareparenting.com), when children do things that we find most challenging, it is usually because of one of three reasons:
  1. They have unmet needs (in particular, for connection and choice);
  2. They have a need for information;
  3. They have pent up uncomfortable feelings which need to be released.
As adults, we tend to think that the main cause for challenging behaviour is number two.
If our son keeps pulling the cat’s tail, or our daughter keeps being rough with her baby sister, we may find ourselves saying, “gentle, gentle” over and over again, and being surprised that they are STILL not being gentle, and may actually be getting rougher over time!
And that’s when we might feel perplexed or flummoxed, and be thinking;
“Why DOES she keep doing it?”
And that’s when we might start getting frustrated, and trying to make her stop, or getting fed up and just giving up and letting it continue.
But IF we remember the other two reasons, we can solve the issue at the ROOT CAUSE.
HOW CAN WE SOLVE THE ISSUE AT THE ROOT CAUSE?
We can use attachment play to meet unmet needs AND help our child release uncomfortable feelings.
How do we do that?

ROOT CAUSE ONE –  MEETING UNMET NEEDS

One of the most magical things that we can do is to give them what I call Present Time, and which Aletha Solter calls non directive child-centred play.
 
PRESENT TIME
What is it?
It’s a set period of time, where we offer deep presence and connection with our child.
At this point, you might be saying, “But I already give my child lots of connection.”
And I know you do, but there is something magical that happens with Present Time.
 
Why is that?
Because it is set up to meet a child’s need for connection and choice, which are two of their main core needs.
(Remember that one of the three main reasons for challenging behaviours is unmet needs!?)
And because it meets those needs, it can dramatically reduce those challenging behaviours.

What precisely do we do?
  1. We check in with ourselves first and see if we really can give our child connection and choice. (Ideally, we give ourselves PT first, so that we’ve done something that we choose to do);
  2. We tell our child what it is. (parents often give it their own name, like “Sam’s time”);
  3. We set up the parameters. (eg. no hurting anyone, no screens, no sweets)
  4. We set the timer. (This is part of the magic. It means that we know that we are only being fully present for that length of time, which makes it easier for us.)
  5. We give them choice about what happens;
  6. We follow their lead, we offer our full presence, our exuberant love, our adoration, and our full engagement;
  7. We let them know when the time is coming to an end;
  8. We stay present with them when the timer finishes, and either help them with what happens next, or if they feel upset, we stay with them and give them empathy for their feelings, eg. “You feel really upset that PT has finished, sweetheart? I’m here, and I’m listening.”
 
When can we use it?
The beauty of Present Time is that we can use it preventatively, strategically, and in the moment, when things get challenging.
For example:
If your child is showing some challenging behaviours in general, you could offer Present Time every day, for 20 or 30 minutes, and notice whether this changes the challenging behaviour;
If your child has something new coming up, like a new sibling arriving, then daily Present Time can help him have reassurance that he’s still loved and cared about, and keeps his connection cup more full.
If there are separations, such as for daycare or playgroup or nursery school or kindergarten or school, the doing some Present Time before and afterwards can help with the separation and reconnection. Even 5 or 10 minutes of PT can make a real difference.
If your child is starting to get a bit antsy, or showing the signs that you’ve noticed lead to biting/hitting/doing things you don’t enjoy, you could put in some Present Time right then. Again, even 5 or 10 minutes can make a big difference.
 
Why does it work?
The power of Present Time is that, as a concise yet deep connection, it helps our child feel connected with us. 
It’s when they feel disconnected, that challenging behaviours often occur – because a sense of disconnection feels really uncomfortable and agitating for a child.

It also helps give them a deep sense of choice.
Remember that it’s a lack of sense of choice, as well as feelings of powerlessness, that feel incredibly uncomfortable for children (and adults), and is often the cause of those challenging behaviours.
It’s that double-whammy of connection and choice which creates the magic.
And there are often wonderful side-effects too!
Many parents come to me saying, “I did it to help my child, but I found that I fell in love with my child all over again, and I love it!”
Other parents say, “At the end of the day, I know that I have given my child Present Time, and that helps me celebrate myself and what I’ve done.”
 
Present Time also helps children feel closer to us, which helps them express other feelings to us more too.
You may find that your child more easily cries or has a tantrum when you start doing more Present Time.
It’s just like us – when we feel closer to someone, we often want to tell them about our deeper feelings and experiences.
So, if after Present Time your child cries when there is none of her favourite cereal left, you might choose to simply be with her and listen to her feelings and tell her that you are there with her, listening to her, loving her.
Her feelings are unlikely to be about the cereal, and more likely to be about something else that she wants to share her feelings about with you.
What if you want to learn more about Present Time?
I have a free 4 day online course called Powerful Present Time Practice.

You can sign up for it here:
To recap, Present Time is a practice, a preventative, and a problem-solver!
So, that was all about meeting unmet needs.
ALL of the types of attachment play meet children’s needs for connection, but they ALSO do what we talked about above – they help children release pent-up feelings that are often the cause of challenging behaviours.

 
ROOT CAUSE TWO – RELEASING PENT-UP FEELINGS
What pent-up feelings do children have?
Well, even if we are the most aware, conscious parents, and we do everything we can to meet our child’s needs, ALL children feel uncomfortable feelings.
They might feel overwhelmed, scared, sad, confused, powerless, disappointed, or frustrated. 
As adults, we often talk about our feelings.
But children need to express their feelings, and have those feelings heard, in order for those feelings to be released from their bodies.
How does that happen?
Well, with light fears, powerlessness, confusion and frustration, the feelings are released through laughter.
Laughter and play release feelings.
 

Have you noticed that yourself? That you might laugh in a social situation where you feel a bit uncomfortable?
Or that when you laugh a lot at a comedian, it’s about something that you fear, or feel worried about?
(I’ve been loving James Corden, especially one show where he and another talk show host play “Send to All” –  They post a rude text message on each other’s phones, to all their contacts, and then read the replies. I found myself laughing a lot. Obviously, sending a text to someone I didn’t mean to is a bit of a concern for me!)
Children are exactly the same!
Laughter is an incredibly powerful release mechanism!
 

And also a misunderstood one.
Has your child ever laughed when you got frustrated or angry, and you thought they were ‘winding you up’ or ‘laughing at you’? And if so, did you then feel even more frustrated or angry?
 

How would it be to learn that they were actually afraid, and releasing that fear through laughter?
Would knowing that help you think differently, feel differently, and respond differently?

Laughter and play are things that we can again use strategically, preventatively, and in the moment when things start getting challenging.
How wonderful is that, to know that with attachment play, we can prevent, and respond to, challenging behaviours, effectively and compassionately, without resorting to punishments or awards!?
 

What are the other release mechanisms? Shaking, sweating, crying, tantrumming, and yawning all release different feelings from the body.
What exactly is attachment play, and how can we use it to prevent and respond to challenging behaviours?
There are nine types of attachment play, and each type can be used for numerous challenges.
Obviously I don’t have space here to go into all 9 types in depth, but if you want to go deeper, you can find out about Aletha Solter’s book Attachment Play at http://www.attachmentplay.com/
and my online course based on the book, which is at http://www.attachmentplaycourses.com/join-in
What I’m going to do here is talk about a few things that parents often come to me wanting help with, and let you know what type of attachment play I would suggest.
With ALL types of parenting challenges, I would ALWAYS suggest putting in regular Present Time.
Even 20 or 30 minutes of regular PT can make a huge difference to a child’s sense of connection and choice and can really make a difference!
******
Challenge: Hitting
Your child hits, bites, or is rough with you, their sibling, other children, or the pet.
(Even though you have always brought him up with the most gentle of parenting, responding to his needs, and he hasn’t experienced roughness himself.)
Cause: Feelings of powerlessness, frustration, agitation, and fear.
(You might be thinking; “But he doesn’t look scared.” But if you reflect back on a time where you got harsh or angry with your partner, child or friend – underneath the loudness, were you feeling scared or frustrated or powerless or sad?)

Solution: Power-Reversal Games
What are power-reversal games? These are where you play being the less powerful, less competent, more scared one, and you let your child play the more powerful, more competent, scary one.

There are SO many ways that you can play this.
~ They can chase you round the house, and you can keep running away, pretending to be scared, and then letting them catch you, falling over in a big pile, and being mock-surprised at how fast they are;
~ They can be on a swing, and you are in front of them, and each time they come towards you, you pretend that they have knocked you backwards and you go flying backwards in mock surprise about how strong they are;
~ You can have a pillow fight, and each time they hit you with the pillow, you pretend to go flying and again be mock surprised or scared.

Like all attachment play, you are probably doing these kinds of things lots anyway.
The difference with attachment play is now that you know what it is doing, and can use it strategically to help your child.

As with all challenges, I’d always suggest extra Present Time, which increases feelings of connection and choice and reassurance.
Tip: Go with the giggles
If your child is laughing, then keep doing what you are doing!
IMPORTANT NOTE: we do not recommend tickling.
Even though a child may laugh when he is being tickled, the sensations are often overwhelming and can actually lead to more powerlessness.
If you were ticked as a child or teen, you will probably remember that for yourself!
******
Challenge: Feelings around separation 1 – being with Dad
Your child has feelings around being with Dad.
Cause: Feelings of sadness or loss if he goes out to work or is away a lot, or other pent-up feelings that don’t get to be expressed with Mum.
Solution 1: Power-Reversal Games.
Similar to above, only in this case, Dad pretends to be the one who doesn’t get to choose the level of closeness.
He could say, “PLEEEEEEEEEEASE let me play with you? Please? Can I look at you? Could I even just touch your toe? How about your ear?” And in a mock-silly voice, try out all these silly ways of connecting, and perhaps mock-crying about not getting to do any of these things.
Solution 2: Separation Games.
(see next section)
******
Challenge: Feelings around separation 2 – being with other people
Your child has big feelings about going to daycare, pre-school, kinder, nursery school or school.
Cause: Past feelings of loss or past separations that are coming up now, or fear, or powerlessness.
Solution: Separation Games
Separation games play with the edge of connecting, separating and reconnecting.
With babies, peek-a-boo is one of the earliest forms.
As children get older, we can play forms of peek-a-boo, like the “where is he” game – such as when he is on your back and you wonder where he is, and then you suddenly see him and say, “Oh THERE you are!” with joy and delight!
Hide-and-seek type games are also separation games. With younger children, they will need to hide with someone, otherwise there’s too much separation. Every time you get found, or find them, you could jump in the air with mock surprise.
Again, follow the fun!

******
Challenging behaviour: Not cooperating
Cause: Feelings of powerlessness, frustration, and other pent-up feelings that create disconnection
Solution: Nonsense Games, Power-Reversal Games, Present Time.

Nonsense games are all about feelings of competence.
Feelings around ‘rules’, ‘not getting it right’, and ‘not being able to do things’ can all cause a lack of cooperation, such as not doing school work.
When we play a goofy game of being the one who is incompetent, silly and goofy, our child can laugh and release their feelings around these things.
The “No puppies on the couch” is a lovely example of a combination between nonsense play and power-reversal games.

In this game, they pretend to be puppies, and we pretend that there are to be “no puppies on the couch!”
We say something like, “I’m going to turn away, and when I turn around again, I HOPE I am not going to see any puppies on the couch!” with a huge smile on our face and in a mock silly voice.
(Younger children may need some help to understand that we are actually happy for them to be on the couch!)
Then we turn away, and when we turn back, we pretend to be shocked and horrified that they are on the couch, “Noooooo! I said no puppies on the couch!” in a silly, over-the-top, voice!
Tip: Change the games to suit your child, and create your own versions together
******
 
Challenging behaviour: Not cooperating with teeth or hair brushing
 
Cause: Feelings of powerlessness, disconnection, or general pent-up feelings
 
Solution: Nonsense Play

There are lots of different versions of these games that you can use!
You can play the “Silly Toothbrush” game, where you pretend that you don’t know where their teeth are, and you say something like, “Oh I know where your teeth are!” and try to brush their arm, and they keep trying to show you where their teeth are and you keep on getting confused about where their teeth are.
You can do the same with brushing hair.
******
Challenging behaviour: Gun play and swearing
 
Causes: Feelings of fear, confusion, discomfort.
Most often, children have seen other children playing with guns or swords or swearing and they need to understand what was going on, and release feelings about being the recipient.
Solution: Nonsense Play and Power-Reversal games.

We can again combine these two types of play, for example:
they pretend to shoot us and we pretend to be scared, or we pretend to die all over them whilst kissing them,
or we pretend that the gun is broken and is just making us love them more (this is from the Love Gun Game by Lawrence Cohen).
With swearing, we can pretend to be shocked every time she says the word, and jump in the air, or fall over.
We can run around the garden or trampoline together, saying the words over and over again (as long as you aren’t worried about what the neighbours will think!)
There is deep power in CONNECTING with our child when she is trying to understand something and release feelings about it.
Home then becomes this safe and healing zone where your child can bring her challenges because she knows that you will help her with them.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember the cause of these challenging behaviours?
The cause IS NOT because they need to learn to be warm and compassionate, nor is it because they are deliberately trying to be annoying.
It’s because they need connection, they need to understand what happens to them, and they need to release uncomfortable feelings and heal from painful experiences.
If we try to stop the behaviours, such as hitting or biting or swearing or gun play, without dealing with the actual cause, then we are likely to find that those behaviours keep happening, or other more challenging behaviours occur.
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Challenge: Upcoming dentist or doctor visit, or previous trauma around medical procedures, including during and after birth.
 
Causes: Feelings of fear, powerlessness and confusion
 
Solution: Role Play, Power-Reversal games and Nonsense Play

Again, we ask them to play the dentist or the doctor, and we do mock silly things, like show them our hand and say it is our teeth, or if they give us medicine, we pretend to be disgusted and vomit it all up, and other silly things.
Tip: Again, watch your child. If she is close to tears, stop the attachment play and listen to the feelings.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If your child is already crying, it is important NOT to try to get her to laugh.Tears are releasing other feelings than those released by laughter, and she needs you to be present and listen to hear tears, not to distract her from the feelings.
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Attachment play can be used to prevent, or respond to, pretty much every challenging behaviour in children, from not eating vegetables, to not doing homework, to jumping on the bed before bedtime, to not getting in the car seat, and so on and so on!
These examples are just a small proportion of the game types and game examples.
And the beautiful thing is, once you understand the philosophy, you and your child can make up your own, tailor-made attachment play games.
If you want to find out more, I recommend reading Aletha Solter’s book Attachment Play (www.attachmentplay.com)

(this is a picture of me and my son on the cover!)
And my four week online course, the Attachment Play Course, is at http://www.attachmentplaycourses.com/join-in

And the MOST BEAUTIFUL thing about attachment play is that it brings back the connection, joy, fun, laughter and wonderment of family life, which is probably what you envisioned when you thought of becoming a parent!

Here’s to more fun, more connection, and more cooperation!!

Marion Rose
Ph.D. Dip.Couns. Dip.Psych. Level Two Aware Parenting Instructor
I’m a Mum of two (they are now 14 and 9), and they have two siblings, twins who are 4.
I’ve been researching, studying and generally fascinated in learning about babies and children and how our early experiences affect our lives, for 28 years now.
I’ve trained in lots of things over the years, like  developmental psychology, Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy, HypnoBirthing, Private Subconscious-mind Healing, Calm Birth, Aware Parenting, NVC and Field Training.
I’m a Level Two Aware Parenting Instructor and you can find out more about my gazillions of online courses at http://www.marionrose.net

Pictures © copyright Marion Rose 2016