Parent Coaching: Child Won't Go to Class
I had a coaching call the other day.
The mother explained that her son wouldn't go to his class at church... he would cry, throw a fit and then end up in class with her week after week. It was a fight she didn't know how to fight. He was inflexible, and she needed him to go to class, so she could do what she needed to do.
Many people had told her, I think he just wants your attention. He wants you to stay and wants you to be by him. But something in the pattern of his behavior told me different.
We talked about the patterns of behavior.
We talked about what it looked like, what worked and what had been tried in the past.
And within a few simple exchanges, I told her. I think he's trying to escape class. When he cries, he knows he can escape class... so we are reinforcing that behavior each time;
We can't simply stop letting him come to class... because the behavior will escalate, the child will FEAR church and the mom will feel guilty.
Helping a child with challenging behavior is MORE THAN rewards/punishments or consequences. It's about identifying the function (in this case escape) and teaching the missing skills.
So the next step was identifying ways we could prevent challenges, and teach missing skills.
We came up with a list including having his own book he took with him, talking with his teacher prior to class, giving him a job within the classroom, and then supporting him as he made this transition by staying for 10 minutes for the first week, and then less time each week following.
He was going to class by himself within a few weeks.
The mother felt 0 guilt at the end of the church day.
And the child, learned a new skill... was brave... got through a FEAR and anxiety.
This couldn't been handled with force, rewards, punishment... a candy bar for staying. But with this method, he was able to develop emotional regulation and conquer a fear. Learning new skills and ways of dealing with challenges is a LIFE LONG skill that will serve him and his family forever.
What are you waiting for?
Jump on a parent coaching call with me for challenging behavior.
Let's remove the guilt and find the skills your child needs to get through challenges.
xolaurenpace.com/coaching (use code xolauren for a discount on your first call)
PS this boy didn't just "go to his church class finally..." he was able to process something he anticipated with anxiety and get through it with self-regulation and confidence. I'm SO PROUD of this family for their work to reframe behavior and develop these skills together.