Dare to Care. Challenging behavior and the mirror game

This is part of Steady Mom’s 30-minute blog challenge. Join in!

A few weeks ago I was enjoying Not Just Cute´s new article When It Comes to Challenging Child Behaviors, Do You Take the Time to CARE? when I suddenly found my name in it! I´m flattered and I wanted to thank the author, Amanda Morgan, for truly taking our comments into consideration for her research on Positive Guidance and Social Skills.

Her article links to the CARE form, an interesting tool for teachers and mothers as well. Briefly, it invites us to understand challenging child behavior and to learn to recognize how to best help children overcame it. This includes stating the Cause, the Action, the Reaction and the Expectations involved in the situation. I found this simple, easy to answer form very useful and I´m willing to proof it with my children.
After reading the whole article, I started imagining this CARE form as some sort of magnifying glass, the perfect tool for the Sherlock Holmes within every teacher and parent. When we are discussing difficult situations with colleagues or calm at home, this analysis will help a lot to guide our little ones in their way to conquer new social skills.
Now, in real life in the classroom or with my kids at home I rarely find myself with enough time to deeply analyse a challenging child behavior when it´s going on. The real situation is right in front of my eyes and it´s all about the decision I take. So I think I need to add some other tools to my social skills positive guidance toolbox.  I mentioned this to Amanda and she kindly answered:

“The CARE form is certainly not something you would fill out for every behavior, like you said, sometimes the answer is right in front of you. But the mental process may be helpful in uncovering some underlying causes that may have been overlooked before. I think many people instinctively go throught the four levels of the form in their heads when trying to understand behaviors – or even jump right to the area that will give them the answers they need.”

After this exchange of ideas, I came to create the DARE form: Demonstrate, Accept, Retreat and Embrace. These are more oriented towards the adult who is identifying a child behavior as “challenging”.
Demonstrate what you and others feel as a result of a specific behavior so the child can learn there are consequences of his acts.
Accept the fact you might have to come back to this issue many times until a child can gain self control or gain new social skills (neuroscientists affirm even teenagers have not fully developed their frontal lobes which are in charge of controlling impulses and social behavior amongst other important functions). I hate hearing myself saying to a child “How many times do you need me to repeat it?”.  And accept you are learning too. Rudolf Steiner said self education was one of the most important skills of a teacher.
Retreat when you feel the one out of control might be your own true self and know your limitations. When you feel a certain situation is going beyond your ability (or you´re just about to explode!) ask for someone else´s help. It makes you humble too. I´ve learned humility is a great gift, and I did it the hard way!
Embrace that child AND the rest of your children who also need your attention. For me love has been the most effective and magical tool in my life. Are teachers expected to love their students? Oh! What a challenging statement, isn´t it? And here comes a last question to share: what about the “invisible” shy child in equal need to receive a positive guidance to develop his/her social skills?

If I DARE to look at myself and accept the fact I´m learning too, I might be able to CARE better for children too. Very often, I find my little ones to be “perfect mirrors” of my own self. Their behavior offers a precise image and points out what´s the next step in the learning curriculum of my own life.

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