• October 28, 2020
  • Blog

#MSCS Parent Support: Routines, Humility and Problem-Solving

Dear Trainer,


Some parents who attended our Triple P® Level 2 Webinars sent in some questions, so we answer them here for all to benefit:


1. Dear Trainer, I have set up a routine for my son, but whenever there are unexpected things that disrupt the routine, he would start whining and it is difficult to quieten him down. How to manage this? — Calm Mummy


Dear Calm Mummy,

It seems like your child is responding well to your routine so keep up the good work on that. Children need routines so they know what to expect and with the routines, they will be able to show you that they are competent (knowing what to do, how to do and when to do certain things). When unexpected situations occur that disrupt the routines, prepare the child as soon as you can. This will help reduce the anxiety level for your child. It also helps him to prepare himself beforehand. Try not to catch him unawares.

When he is calmer, sit down with him to discuss how he can calm himself down when routines are disrupted in future. Coach him through some self-calm strategies like doing his deep breathing, telling himself that it is OK (positive self-talk), he can get himself ready in time, he can do it, etc. As each child calms down faster in his or her own special ways, do explore the different ways your son is able to calm down which are suitable for him. Practise the calm down strategies together with him until he is able to apply it by himself. If he needs visual reminders, he may design posters or little pocket cards to help him remember the self-calm steps.



2. Dear Trainer, How to help my child to study better? I know a better way of studying but my child insists on doing it her way which is not effective. How do you convince the child who is very insistent in her ways to listen to the parent who is more experienced? — Teacher Parent


Dear Teacher Parent,

It is frustrating when your child does not listen to you especially when you are more experienced with effective study habits. There are many different ways to study effectively. What may work with one, may not work with others. In this situation, we are assuming that your child has tried her own study habits which have not resulted in positive results. This is why you are anxious for her to follow your method of studying.

You may try the following:

  1. Find a good time when your daughter is receptive to sit down and discuss this situation with her.
  2. Describe the current situation where her study habits are not showing any positive results.
  3. Share with her the possible consequences that may happen if she were to continue using the same study method— she will likely get the same results if there is no change to her study method. Is she alright with that?
  4. If she wants to improve in her results, she may have to think of alternative ways to study so she can see a change in her results.
  5. Brainstorm with her the various ways she can study which are acceptable to her as well as to you. Ideally, let her be the one who comes up with the alternative study options. This creates greater buy-in and ownership.
  6. Weigh the pros and cons of the various options so she knows what she is getting into. She will then be more careful in choosing her own study habits. Hold her accountable to her decisions by letting her bear the consequences of her own actions.



3. Dear Trainer, How do we correct children who have over-inflated self-esteem? I’m talking about children who feel entitled and high-and-mighty? These behaviours do not help in friendship. — Friendly Papa


Dear Friendly Papa,

In this situation, I’m assuming that you’re referring to an over-inflated self-esteem and sense of entitlement as your child feeling that his actions and behaviours are correct and others are expected to follow his views and ideas. Such a child would want others to follow his way or to give in to him. The others must change to suit his way. Indeed, these are not pro-social behaviours that would encourage others to befriend the child.

You may want to try the following:

A. Directed Discussion

  1. Find a good time when your child is in a good mood, so he will be more receptive to listening, to sit down and discuss with him what had happened previously.
  2. Ask your child to describe what had happened in order to hear from your child’s point of view.
  3. Help your child to weigh the pros and cons of his chosen behaviour.
  4. Encourage him to think of other options or ways he can respond to the situation differently next time. Brainstorm ideas with him and prompt him with some suggestions if he has difficulty in generating options. It would be best to have him come up with his own options as much as possible as this will foster ownership in his behaviour.
  5. Help your child to weigh the various pros and cons of his various options.
  6. Ask him 3 guiding questions to help him choose the final option or behaviour
    • Is it fair (for himself and others)?
    • Is it safe (for himself and others)?
    • Does it lead to good feelings (for himself and others)?
    These 3 guiding questions will help child to see others’ point of view besides his own perspective.

By holding a discussion with your child instead of labelling him as high-and-mighty, this is giving an opportunity for him to learn how to behave differently next time if such a situation were to occur again. Your child will likely see the benefits for himself when he shows more pro-social behaviours with others.


B. Incidental Teaching

If a similar incident were to happen to another child (such as on a TV show, in a storybook or news article, a neighbour’s experience, etc), you can use this incident as a teaching opportunity to ask your child what he would differently if he were in that situation. If your child is able to share an appropriate pro-social response, praise him for being caring and considerate to others. If his response is not appropriate, prompt him to think about how he would feel if others were to treat him that way and the possible consequences that might occur. This might encourage your child to think carefully about the effect of his own behaviour on others.



4. Dear Trainer, My son told me he was being bullied in school and asked me to talk to the parents of the bully. Later, I realised that my son was the one who started the bullying. When he was not successful in that situation, he felt he was being bullied instead. What should I do? — Just Parent


Dear Just Parent,

In this situation, we are assuming that there was a disagreement between your son and another child. Your son might have tried to resolve the problem in his own way but was not successful. He felt unhappy about it and wanted you to help him get out of this situation. You may want to try the following:

  1. Affirm and validate your son’s feelings of unhappiness and frustration. He needs to know that you understand how he feels and that you are on his side even though his actions are not acceptable.
  2. Ask your son what had happened. Try not ask ‘why’ questions as these will make your son try to justify his actions by coming up with more excuses. Listen to what he has to say. Ask him if he had tried to resolve the situation himself and if so, how he did it. Stay calm no matter what he has to say. If you start scolding him, he will likely withhold information from you. Staying calm will assure your son that it is safe for him to share more with you.
  3. Open your son’s mind by informing him about the consequences of his earlier behaviour and actions. Your son may have only one option to resolve the situation and may be unable to see further ahead as to what could happen because of his behaviour, due to his limited experience at his age.
  4. Encourage him to generate more options to resolve the situation by asking him what he could have done differently. The more options he can raise, the better it is for him. Weigh the pros and cons (the consequences) of his options so he knows what may or may not happen next. Ask if he can accept those consequences. He can then choose his response accordingly.
  5. Ask your son the 3 guiding questions to help him choose the final response, option or behaviour
    • Is it fair (for himself and others)?
    • Is it safe (for himself and others)?
    • Does it lead to good feelings (for himself and others)?
    These 3 guiding questions will help your son to see from others’ points-of-view besides his own perspective.



Thank you, all, for your questions. I hope these answers will help you improve the situation in your home and bring your family closer together!


Yours Sincerely,

Family Wellness Trainer, Morning Star Community Services


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