A Word About Discipline

What is the best way for parents to react and respond to children’s misbehavior? Of course, there is no easy answer. It is not that they are bad, they are just overtaxed. They have been cooped up in the house or apartment for weeks with limited opportunities to play or see their friends, something very important to kids of all ages and abilities. Also, structure and routines have been disrupted. This is especially upsetting to children with vision loss and other cognitive challenges; it causes them to struggle more.

One way of dealing with children who are angry, out-of-sorts, or acting out is to acknowledge their anger and try to pinpoint the cause. They may not know the cause – remind them of our current situation; assure them that family members are trying their best to get along and work things out. Ask if there is anything you can do to help.

Utilize the child’s communication system, whether it is words, pictures, gestures, symbols, etc. to help him communicate his feelings and offer choices to give him more control. Communication is your best avenue for managing problem behavior. If your child has a speech therapist, work with him to maintain or modify your child’s communication program.

Psychologists suggest easing up on punishment right now. Instead, explain your expectations. Help them problem solve strategies to meet them. Some families have “Family Meetings” to share each other’s feelings and comments. But be careful that it does not become a “gripe” session.