One of the most interesting aspects for a caregiver is when children trigger their “hot buttons.” It is as if children have radar and detect what will frustrate a caregiver and then do it over and over again. While repeat of the frustrating activity may seem relentless, the child appears almost unaware of his impact. So, how does one handle this?
Principle five: identifing behaviors that trigger your anger and anxiety
Principle five suggests you identify behaviors that trigger your anger and anxiety and be aware how you are affected by characteristics of your own temperament because caregivers have temperaments, too. When interactions with children make us crazy, it is important to recognize that our temperaments as caregivers may affect how we perceive or react to a certain child’s behavior. Current research shows that our backgrounds may influence how we as an adult react to a child’s behavior.
If our temperament fits poorly with the child’s temperament, incompatibility occurs between the child’s temperament and the caregiver’s values and expectations. If we expect a child to be quiet and attentive and the child, instead, is exploring and active, it would be easy to react strongly and negatively judge the child’s behavior. Also, if this issue becomes chronic, it would set up a negative cycle that would be difficult to break. See the illustration below that summarizes how this cycle can be repeated and escalate.
In order to prevent an unhealthy cycle of events, it is important that caregivers be given an opportunity to understand both their and the child’s temperament. In doing so, the caregiver can learn to tolerate the child’s temperamental characteristics and can adjust his/her reactions to accommodate the child. This awareness and adjustment process can be key to providing a healthy caregiving relationship with a child in all developmental phases.
There are key aspects of this principle that I want to discuss in my next post. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading Lakeside Connect.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network
Source: Information taken from Pathways to Competence, Encouraging Healthy Social and Emotional Development in Young Children, Second Edition by Sarah Landy, pp 46-48.