WWYD? A parent posed a question in our group after we explained the value of praising the child after enduring the change in parental behavior (removal of accomodation), regardless of how the child reacted. In other words, it is still a success, even if the child threw a wild tantrum, because the child still survived and endured it--thus, pushing through the anxiety (which certainly deserves a high five). The parent was wondering at what point can consequences be implemented - such as swearing at the mom, hitting "gently" during this tantrum or breaking items. We did encourage the use of supporters for this. I was rereading some strategies and noted the Sit In strategy, but that seems best after the event occurs and when things are calmer. How should the parent respond in the moment? My gut says "let it happen" and deal with it after with praise and then follow up with behavioral consequences. Obviously, this is barring self harm, danger to others, etc. What would you do? We were hoping to get input from the hive mind.
de escalation all the way resist the invitation to an escalating argument or a spin on the not so merry merry go round ..for get consequ4ences come back later when things are cam denounce the behaviour in an announcement and in form you are going to stop it and do a sit in when the behaviour occurs again
I agree with what Michele wrote. Any behavior that is not seriously dangerous or destructive is best ignored and the parent can focus on self regulation rather than trying to intervene. If the behavior is more serious would still limit parent responses in the moment only to what is necessary to maintain safety (of people and property) with the goal of disengaging as soon as possible. When the behaviors are not too serious would also not come back to it later with consequences. The child is anxious and expressing it, not a thing that needs to be punished. If the behavior crosses the line to more serious and the parent does not feel it would be right to ignore it I would make use of supporters to convey to the child that even when feeling very upset certain behaviors are not acceptable. This tends to be quite effective in limiting or prevention recurrences of the behaviors without actually being punitive or leading to more conflict. Eli
It sounds to me like you've already given some good guidance. My ideas here will be borrowed heavily from my experience doing PCIT with parents of acting-out kids (including those acting out anxiously). I would go with your gut about responses "in the moment." Yes, if the child engages in dangerous or destructive bx, the parent intervenes to the extent necessarily to keep people and things safe.
Otherwise, I'll often coach parents to take what I call the 'airplane approach' (putting the adult breathing mask first) so that while the child is in the midst of a tantrum, parents have permission to focus on strategies that will reduce their own emotional intensity. I also remind parents that doing this can help curb the duration/intensity of the tantrum bc the parent is unlikely to engage in an escalating manner if they take the airplane approach.
In line with SPACE thinking, the parent is not responsible for 'getting' the child to do anything, including calm down. But the parent CAN work on regulating their own emotions and even modeling how to handle big emotions.
As for consequences, I suppose I might encourage parents to ignore negative attention-seeking behaviors like swearing or 'gently hitting' if they occur during the course of a SPACE-related change and ensuing meltdown. My thinking is that those bx will naturally decrease over the course of effective SPACE treatment. I did recently have the experience with a SPACE family where the client smashed the family's TV. Wonderful family. Big kiddo emotions! The client always feels really guilty and embarrassed after the blowups. So, in this case, the was able to successfully create a kind of repair contract wherein the client has to help with family tasks in order to earn money to go towards the TV repair. They also, of course, had the natural consequence of not getting to use that TV for a while.
I hope this helps! Sounds like you are doing a great job with this family!