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#82: Reduce frustration with Preventive Teaching: Part 3


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Parents only have so much time and energy in a day. Preventive Teaching helps parents use their time and energy wisely instead of spending it addressing and fixing problems. This keeps parents from feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

When parents use Preventive Teaching they are able to address problems before they become bigger. The bigger the problem the more energy required to deal with it. By addressing them before they get out of hand, parents have energy to spend on things that enrich and rejuvenate them. Such as reading a book, meeting up with friends, going for a walk, exercising, or watching TV.

When parents aren’t spending their time dealing with negative behaviors, they can channel that energy into building a stronger relationship with their child. Which is incredible. Instead of having fights over homework or chores, you’re able to spend that time talking, playing a game together, going for a walk, what will that do for your family?

We can tell you what it will do. It will increase cooperation, understanding, empathy, and trust. Your child will start to see that you have their best interest at heart and that you are there to help them be better. They will see you as an ally and not as a foe.

We love Preventive Teaching for what it gives parents. By making small changes and addressing problems before they start, you and your kids will gain so much.

Episode Transcript

Free ADHD coaching mini-session

This is episode 82. Let’s begin.

Smarter Parenting welcomes you to our podcast series, The Parenting Coach for ADHD. Here to heal and elevate lives is your Parenting Coach, Siope Kinikini.

Hello, my friends. How are you? I hope you’re doing well. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, especially with everything that’s happening in the world. I’ve received a lot of phone calls and a lot of coaching sessions. For some people, it’s just one phone session we’ve needed and for some others, it has taken a lot more time. But keep those calls coming in because that’s what we’re here for, here at Smarter Parenting, is to help you and help your children during this difficult time. This is a followup series for the two previous podcasts.

If you have not listened to the other two podcasts that came before this on Preventive Teaching, I highly recommend you jump back and take a listen because this is part three and we’re going to talk more about Preventive Teaching and why it’s so important and effective in helping children and helping parents.

Now during this podcast, I’m going to give you the reasons why Preventive Teaching is so important for you as a parent. Number one, Preventive Teaching will save you and your child energy. Now think about it this way. We only have a certain amount of energy throughout the day that we can expend and the more energy that you save, the more you can use that energy in other ways and with other intentions. And so reserving your energy for the things that are most important for the positive interactions that you are going to have with your children is going to be so powerful.

Now the second reason why Preventive Teaching is great is because it will save you a ton of time in addressing behaviors and it will speed up the process by which your child is going to be able to move forward. And number three, this actually increases your child’s positive behaviors with you throughout the day.

So I want you to think about Preventive Teaching and what we’ve talked about in the previous two podcasts and understand that number one, this skill will save you the energy that you are expending every day. And who doesn’t need more energy? I mean we all need more energy throughout the day.

Number two, it will save you time because you’re not addressing the same behaviors over and over again and you’re not being inconsistent. You’re actually are being very consistent with the way that you are spending your time in working through this skill

And then number three, it will increase your child’s positive behaviors with you. This is something that you absolutely want to do with your children, is increase your child’s positive behaviors and your interactions with each other throughout the day.

Now in the two previous podcasts, I was talking about Dawn and working with her and her son who has some special needs issues, working through some their problems and while I was wrapping up with Dawn and talking to her about things she could plan for in the future, I immediately recognized that I was using Preventive Teaching with her.

I was using Preventive Teaching because we were anticipating the things that were going to happen in the future and preparing for them. That’s exactly what this skill does. What you’re doing is you are looking ahead and you are planning strategically how you’re going to engage with your child should something come up. And so with Dawn, we did that. We planned ahead, “Okay in the future if this happens, what are you going to do? How are we going to do this? Let’s Role-play this, let’s practice this together.” And that’s the way that we interacted and engaged with each other during our session, our coaching session. I just want to give a shout out to Dawn. She was fantastic by the way and she did really great in helping her child and also in increasing her abilities.

So, this is why I think it’s important and I think it’s important for us to discuss now because the more calls that I receive from parents, the more I’m hearing consistently kind of the same thing, which is, “I’m out of energy. I just don’t have a ton of time because I’m running around doing so much and I just feel like I’m always nagging my child.” So Preventative Teaching again is addressing those things and I’m telling you, using this skill and using it effectively is going to save you energy, it’s going to save you time and it’s going to increase your positive behaviors with your children.

Now you’re probably sitting back going, “Okay, how is this skill going to absolutely help me do that? How is this going to work for me?” It’s very simple, you are going to take some time to anticipate the things that are going to be happening with your child and then you will prepare your child with the way you want them to act in those situations so you can address them more readily.

As I mentioned before, Preventative Teaching is all about looking ahead, preparing for something that is going to come. If it’s a difficult thing or it’s a hard thing or a new thing, you’re always thinking ahead, “Okay, what is my child going to experience in the next little while and in what ways can I work with them to improve?”

So I’m going to give you an example with a different family that I was able to coach. And this family. I’m not going to give any names because I only give names if the parents are okay with me sharing their names. But in this case, we are going through the skill of Preventive Teaching and why it’s so important for them to use it. And in our discussion, we were talking about anticipating all these things that were going to be coming up and in what way they could address those issues. And in our communication, what we realized is by writing down the specific things that were to come up the day, this is scheduling, they were able to recognize every day something that would possibly cause a reaction with their child.

And so we took each of those items for each of those days and we came up with the behavior that the parent wanted the child to exhibit when they were feeling frustrated or upset. And what we realized is they wanted the same behavior for every day. In fact, what they wanted was for their child to be able to let them know that he was frustrated and upset and that he needed some time to separate and be away and then come back and address the issue.

So we took this calendar, everything we’d written out, we anticipated the things that were going to come and now came the Role-play. So I Role-played this with the father and I said, “Okay, let’s start with Monday. This is what’s going to happen on Monday, right? You’re going to get him up and get him ready for school and he’s going to throw a little tantrum. So how do you want him to respond in that situation? And in what ways can you use each of the steps of Preventive Teaching to address that behavior?”

And so we went through this whole process. Now I’m going to name the steps because I think it’s important for you to get the steps again. For those of you who are new listening to this podcast, it’s important for me to go through the steps. But for those who have listened for a long time, I’m going through the steps again because it’s going to be helpful for you. Regardless if you’ve heard me for the millionth time or the first time, going over these steps is important.

So the first step is to say something positive about the child’s behavior or express empathy about how they may be feeling.

Step number two is to describe how you want your child to act. Now this includes avoiding telling your child how not to act, what you don’t want. You don’t want to do that. You want to tell them how they should act.

Step three, you want to give a meaningful reason to your child to behave that way and that meaningful reason has to be important for the child.

Number four is to practice that. So you’re practicing this beforehand. You’re not waiting for the behaviors to happen to make corrections. You’re actually practicing it beforehand.

Step number five is to find something positive during this practice, during this Role-play and to correct if he needs correction.

And then step number six is to continually practice this.

Now, what does it look like with a parent and me in the coaching session? So step one, say something positive about the child’s behavior or express empathy about how they may be feeling. So getting the child up to study for school and he’s going to throw a tantrum. We already anticipated this. This is what the parent knows this child is going to do. So we’re going to address it early. We’re going to head it off.

I would say it with the father, “Okay, I’m going to take your role, you’re going to take the role of your child and let’s practice this. And then after you hear me do it and you experience that, we’re going to flip it and you be the parent and I be the child, and then you do what you need to do by following each of the steps so you’re used to it and practicing it.”

I want you to think of how clever this is because I’m actually using Preventive Teaching with him, right? Think about it, we are anticipating a child being out-of-control and so I’m teaching this father what to do to address that behavior, but I’m also teaching this parent how to engage with a child about engaging about that. I mean, that is so. Think of how many layers we are going here. This is like some of the deep stuff. Very deep stuff that you get into when you sign up for coaching.

So I’m preparing this parent to prepare this parent to speak with the child, to prepare this child for the event. And you see how much prep work is in there? Now you’re probably saying, “Wait a minute, didn’t you say this is going to save me time?” I am absolutely telling you it will save you time because the more foundational work you put upfront, the more freedom you’re going to have throughout the week. And I’ll explain that as I continue this interaction that I had with this parent.

So I started off with steps one, say something empathetic or something positive. I would say, “Thank you for coming to the table. Thank you for sitting at the table nicely with your books ready to start the school day.” I could even throw in an empathy statement for step one, which is, “I know you’re tired and it’s difficult to get up and do your schoolwork.”

Now these statements, step one is meant to help decrease the argument and actually say, “Hey, I understand I’m on your side. Look, you’re doing good.” And it’s to break down those walls so the child feels connected to the parent and what the parent is going to be talking to them about. Now step number two. It’s as easy as that for step one. You don’t need to go elaborate. You just need to make a statement to let the child know that you understand or that you feel empathetic for their situation or that they’re doing something positive.

So, step number two is, describe how you want your child to act. So, in this instance, we wanted the child to be able to take a deep breath if they started to feel anxious or upset. So in this Role-play and talking to this father, I was stating to the father, “Okay, if you start to feel upset, what I want you to do is to take some deep breaths and we’ll take them together. We’re going to breathe in through our nose and hold it and then we will let it out. But we’re going to count to four each time. So four in, four hold, one, two, three, four, four out. And we’re going to do this three or four times, but we’ll do it together.” I’m giving the parent an exact instruction of what I want the child to do in that situation, right? So if the child starts to feel upset or angry or agitated, that’s what they want to do.

Now I’m going to give the child a meaningful reason for step three, “If you’re able to do that, take the deep breaths, I will more than likely be able to give you your star.” So, we are using charts and stars for this child. You could choose to do something else. Earning a star was really motivating for this child. If he was able to get stars, he felt accomplished throughout the day and he got a reward at the end of the day, “So if you’re able to do this, I’m going to give you a star.”

Again, Step number three, give your child a meaningful reason to behave that way and the reason must be meaningful for your child.

Then we move on to step four. “Okay. Now we’re going to practice it. Okay? So you’re going to sit down, you’re going to start to feel like you’re going to throw a tantrum and you’re starting to get, uhh. We’re going to deep breath together. I’m just going to look at you. We’re going to deep breathe. Okay? Breathe. Four in, four hold, one, two, three, four, four out, one, two, three, four. And we do this four times.” And so we do that. I do this with this parent.

And then what I do is step number five, find something positive they did during that Role-play. I’d say, “You did a great job taking those deep breaths, holding them and letting them go. Good job.” So I’m describing what they did well and I’m saying you did well, right? I can correct at this stage if there was anything that needed to be corrected, but he did it well, so I’m going to praise him and then say, “Okay, we’re going to practice this a few more times, so we’re sure you get it. When you start to feel anxious and you start to struggle, that’s what you’re going to do when it’s time to do your schoolwork.”

That whole interaction doesn’t take more than five minutes. It really doesn’t. I mean it’s super quick. And in fact, if I was Role-playing it with you right now, this is the way it would sound. I would say, “Thank you for coming to the table and getting ready to do your schoolwork. I know it can be frustrating and when you start to feel frustrated, what I want you to do is take a deep breath in, hold it for four, then you’re going to breathe out for four and we’re going to do this four times. The reason that it’s important for you to do this is if you are able to do this, I will give you a star on your chart, which is something I know you like. So let’s go ahead and practice this.”

Now, if you’ve noticed in that short period of time, I’ve actually gone through step one, step two, step three and step four. And then the practice is going to take a little bit more time. Then step five, I would praise him for what he did well or if he needed to be corrected, I’d say, “Okay, you did this well, but let’s try this and see if you can do this a little bit better.” And then step six is to continually practice so he’s used to it.

So I Role-played it with a parent three or four times. They actually got sick of it after the third time, but I’m like, “No, it’s good for us to continually do this so you know exactly what you’re going to do when you’re going to do this with your child.” So the plan was for them to teach their child how to do this Sunday night and do each of the steps and do it exactly the way that we R,ole-played it. Then they were going to do it again before bed. So this is in preparation for Monday morning when he would get up and get ready and go to school at home because we’re all in quarantine, and in preparation for that morning. And in fact, I also recommend that they practice it even before he sits down to do the schoolwork like when he’s eating breakfast, just run through it really quick.

Again, what we’re doing with Preventive Teaching is we’re preparing and anticipating for what is to come. It doesn’t take very long to do, right? You saw me go through that fairly quickly and we Role-played it three or four times and then they went and did it with their child two times on Sunday and once in the morning on Monday, in preparation for Monday when it was time to go to school. And by that time the child knew exactly what they needed to do when they started to feel upset in doing schoolwork.

Let me tell you how this saves time because we were able to do this one exercise and this one teaching interaction, practicing this one skill over and over and over again, it’s cemented in the child what they should do in any situation that they started to feel frustrated or upset. And in fact, throughout the week, the different moments when we already planned out, he would react a certain way. We actually went back to this original way of responding and use that for each of those situations. So they would practice for Tuesday’s event on Monday evening and prepare in preparation. And what they found is that the interactions were more positive with their child. It saved a lot of time because they weren’t dealing with tantrum behaviors as much. They were dealing with having him reign it in and go back to what they had already taught him. And he was able to bring it back in and remembered, “This is what I need to do.”

And it saved the parents energy because they weren’t always reacting to things. They were being proactive and doing things and anticipating things before they occurred. Can you see how powerful this is? I mean, this skill really is super powerful when you can save energy when you can save time when you can increase your positive interactions with your children. It’s a powerful thing for you as a parent, especially now as there’s just so many demands on parents to do so much with so little.

I wanted to stress how important it is to use this skill. This is something you can use right now with your own children. Anticipate, what are the things that are going to pop up.

I highly recommend you write it down. Write down for each day what are the things that are likely to come up during the next week. Once you have those, I want you to choose one of those items and use the skill of Preventive Teaching.

Now you are going to have to come up with what you want your child to do instead. With this family, they wanted him to a deep breath, and that actually translated to everything else throughout the rest of the week. But you are going to have to come out and figure out what exactly you want your child to do to be able to do in those situations. And remember we’re not telling our child what not to do. Don’t get trapped into that. A lot of parents do that where they’re like, “I know what I don’t want them to do.” Yeah, try flipping that and saying, “This is what I do want you to do,” and being very specific about it.

So that’s going to be probably the more challenging part, but you can take this step one, step two, you’re going to give them a meaningful reason that’s meaningful for your child to do that specific behavior. And then you’re going to practice it over and over. And I recommend practicing it the night before and even the day of before the situation happens. That way your child is well-prepared. And you will have more opportunities to praise them for the positive things they’re able to do during that interaction.

It’s amazing how powerful this skill can be when implemented correctly with a child. So choose those items throughout the week, choose one item, and address that one. What you are going to find is your child’s positive behaviors will increase because they were able to figure it out for one instance and it will apply to other instances that may arise in their life.

I know. I think a lot of people are listening going, “Wow, that’s a lot of work.” It is a lot of work upfront. It is a lot of work, I get it. But it’s not that difficult. This really is something a parent can do. I’ve seen it done with parents all over the place. I mean, having been a parenting coach for years and years, I have seen parents pick this skill up and use it and see success and see their child actually being able to change their behaviors rather quickly and then the parents moving on to other things and addressing other issues and other problems. And then being able to move on and not feeling stuck, not feeling like, “Ah, we’re doing this again today? We’re going to go through this again today? I don’t have energy for this today.”

So take some time to do the work upfront and do it, do it well and you will find that down the road you’re going to just reap rewards from this skill. This skill is also a skill that you use with children when they’re young. You can use it with teenagers, you can use it with your spouse. I mean, I want you to think about using this with your spouse, your partner.

If there is something that is difficult that is coming up, you can use Preventive Teaching to anticipate and to help your partner or your spouse know exactly how you want them to react or behave in a certain way in preparation for that. So it’s a wonderful skill and one of those foundational skills that for me I feel all parents need and I always put in a plug for it because it also gives them the power to know exactly what to do in teaching a child how they should behave and what they should do. Super, super powerful.

Now in the last two episodes, we talked about Preventive Teaching with a specific family, with Dawn and her child, and how powerful that was. This is a wrap up of those other two podcasts because I wanted to be able to address some of the concerns that are popping up in the coaching sessions I have been receiving in the last couple of weeks.

This is a skill you can do. You can absolutely do this. I have faith, I have confidence in your ability to do this!

You can get all of the information for Preventive Teaching on the Preventive Teaching lessons page on the Smarter Parenting website. You can go ahead and do that. What I would love to do though is coach you through it. I would love to be able to coach you and guide you through this whole process using your specific information, your individualized plan for you and your child.

Every family is just a little bit different. Every family, every child functions just a little bit differently and when we are able to stick in that piece that makes it individualized, there’s a lot more power behind it. So I’m going to suggest that you sign up for coaching. You can sign up on the Smarter Parenting website. Your first session is free. Let’s meet, let’s chat. It’s a Zoom call. You’ll be able to see me and I will see you. We will talk about what’s going on and I will guide you through this entire process and help you.

Now, of course, there are other things that we can talk about and we can work on as well, but if you are particularly interested in Preventive Teaching, then let’s work on Preventive Teaching and start using that in your family and with your children, it’s going to work. I’ve seen it work so many times and with so many kinds of families. It’s amazing. Even cross-culturally, I’ve worked with a lot of Hispanic families because I speak Spanish, “Yo hablo Espanol,” and if you sign up for a coaching session we can do it in Spanish too. But I’ve seen it with Pacific Islander families because I also speak Tongan and I’ve also seen it with families that are hearing impaired and deaf. I’ve worked with those families as well.

Seeing them be able to implement Preventive Teaching into the way they interact and engage with their children has really made a huge difference in their lives. And parents feel empowered by being able to do this.

Again, Preventive Teaching will help you save energy because I know that that is something that’s being sucked out of a lot of parents nowadays. There’s just so much to do and so little time.

Number two, it will save you time in the long run because you will do teaching upfront and you’re going to find that things are changing. And as they change, you’re going to have to spend less time with that because your children are going to be able to pick it up and figure it out.

And then number three, which I think is super important is your relationship with your children is going to have more positive interactions. You’re going to have better relationships with your children by being able to approach things this way. It also teaches your children that when they have something that’s coming up, they can address it early. Being able to address something early, being able to anticipate things that are going to come up and how to react and how to prepare for that actually helps reduce anxiety. And it prepares children, it prepares children to really think ahead instead of just reacting in the moment.

We live in such a microwave society where things are just so quick and we’re just going through things as they come up. If we can plan ahead and if we can teach our children to plan ahead, they are that much more able to cope with what is going to happen and with themselves and with life and how to function. So use this skill, Preventive Teaching. I cannot plug it enough and I cannot thank you enough. Thank you for calling in. Thank you for reaching out. Please, if you need help, if you want someone to guide you through this, sign up for coaching, sign up for coaching and let’s get this started. I’m anxious to meet a lot of you and to talk to you and to find out in what ways I can help. That’s it for me and I will catch you next time. All right, bye.

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Podcast Transcript

The transcript text is below. You can also download the PDF file of the transcript here.