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What is Normal?

angry babyIf I could define normal, the money would come rolling in and I would be famous. When it comes to a child’s behavior, it is even trickier because children develop so very differently. I do know, however, when a child’s behavior is pointing to a problem with attachment or bonding because that is what I spent the last 15 years studying in books, with workshops and in “real time” with my own children. Truthfully, “real time” has been the most effective teacher as it is a daily course of study. I thought I had dodged the “attachment bullet at first because my little girl was so engaging with me, laughing and singing within the first 24 hours of our mother/daughter relationship. I didn’t think it was a problem that she would not face me when she took a bottle or look me in the eye when we were up close and personal. I didn’t realize that there were clues when she would just as easily go up and sit in the lap of a stranger as me after three months. We knew she was friendly but indiscriminate affection with strangers, well, that was our first real sign. Most toddlers in the 12 month to 24 months age ranges are more often shy with strangers. They may peek shyly at the lady behind them in the grocery store line and smile…but hold on to mommy or daddy. Not my little princess. She would hold out her arms to the strange man or woman in the store, the airport, or a family friend.

As she got older, occasional grumpiness turned into one to two hour rages over little things. She became aggressive with preschool friends, began biting, pushing, and hitting other children. I hired a well known and very effective therapist who taught us some wonderful skills and tricks that helped to decrease the tantrums, to improve bonding and attunement between parent and child. I am going to share 5 tricks here because what good does it do to keep them to myself when there are so many people who are searching for help.

The Fabulous Five

1. Co-sleeping is a great way to help children bond. There is nothing better than snuggling with mommy or daddy. Did you know that the US is the only country that expects children to sleep alone?

2. Use “time in” not “time out”. Children should never be left alone to just figure out how to calm down. Kids are not born with self-calming skills already downloaded into their brains. Sit them down beside you and or hold them if they let you.

​3. If your child is young enough, feed them sweet foods like bits of cookie or dried fruit and M&M’s are good. The message, “all good things come from mommy”.

4. Play games that encourage eye comtact like ball. Roll a ball from you to the child and back. Talk or sing songs about the ball or whatever comes to mind.

5. Sing silly songs with your child about whatever comes up. Humor is a great connector so use it often. Don’t worry about appearing silly. Songs with finger movements are wonderful for children under 10. Learning your teenagers music is a fabulous attachment skill too. No teen is immune to a parent who cares enough to learn their music.

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