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Challenging Behaviors: Why We Shouldn’t Expect Kids to Self-Regulate Too Soon

Five-year-old Nathan was excited about a family outing to the zoo, but his mother worried he would not be able to control his behavior. So she explained her carefully devised plan. She had ten gummy bear candies with her. If Nathan behaved well, she would give him all ten at the end of the visit. […]

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Considering these Popular Parenting Techniques? Proceed with Caution

As anyone who has ever struggled to manage a toddler’s meltdown in a busy supermarket line can attest, parenting can be both confusing and humbling. To make matters worse, seeking out advice from so-called experts can often lead to even more confusion since their wisdom can be contradictory and bewildering. So it’s worth a quick […]

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It’s Time to Do Away with Seclusion and Isolation Rooms and Replace them with Compassion

Recently, a 13-year-old autistic student died after staff members at his Northern California school physically restrained him for an extended period. And the parents of a non-speaking, autistic 12-year-old  have sued his school for placing him in a seclusion room after a behavioral outburst. Teachers forced the child to strip naked before they placed him in a […]

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He’s Having a Meltdown! Four Possible Triggers—and How to React

In my last post, I suggested that we should appreciate meltdowns for what they are: a child’s way of signaling that he needs something from the adults around him—or from his environment.  When a child experiences a meltdown or tantrum or acts aggressively, he is communicating that he has exceeded his ability to intentionally control his […]

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How Anger, Tantrums, and Meltdowns Protect Your Child

Anger, meltdowns, and tantrums get a bad rap. As parents, we worry that these behaviors indicate that our child is choosing to misbehave or that we’re somehow failing as parents. The judgmental stares and glances we get from onlookers only increases those insecure thoughts. We read books about what to do and try to tame […]

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What to Know Before We Teach Children Self-Regulation Skills

What’s the best way to teach children how to regulate their own emotions and behavior? Occupational therapist and educator Leah Kuypers devised one approach, The Zones of Regulation, which has gained international popularity. “The Zones” is a groundbreaking cognitive-behavioral approach that helps adults teach children about self-regulation, which includes self-discipline, emotional control, anger management, and […]

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Parents Know Best: Why the Educational System should Stop Marginalizing Parents

It’s past midnight and “Amanda”can’t fall asleep. She’s focused on her meeting the next morning at the school where her son is struggling in a program not suited to his unique needs. As she mentally rehearses her appeal for better support for him, she’s also bracing herself for the response she expects: polite “no’s” and […]

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Children’s Mental Health: Everyone’s Responsibility

Amelia’s parents contacted me because of a problem in Kindergarten. Her teachers reported that she often began to cry around lunchtime, and when they asked her why she was crying, she couldn’t answer them.  They tried to distract her, and even offered her a trip to the class “store”, (stocked with fun prizes) if she would […]

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The Developmental Iceberg: Looking Below the Surface of Challenging Behaviors

Behavioral challenges are the “tip” of the iceberg, and the answers to helping children are often found below the surface of behaviors. Take Ben, for example, who was a puzzle to his parents and teachers alike. In kindergarten, he struggled to stay in his seat, and his teachers constantly reprimanded him for not complying with […]

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Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.3 days ago
Momentum!! I'm loving how far Phyllis Steinberg Fagell's post is going to shift the lens. We need not fear bad behaviors, we can learn from them! #Resilience #SocialEmotionalLearning #PositiveParenting #ChallengingBehaviors #BeyondBehaviors
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.4 days ago
Yes, let’s talk about this! And with all due respect let’s talk about how we are defining “preparation” to teach our special ed kids..If we continue to accept the status quo children will continue to be punished and required to undergo compliance training rather than having their Neurodiversity — including their behaviors— properly appreciated and understood. Thanks Edlyn Peña, Ph.D.-Autism Researcher for sharing. #neurodiversity #Beyondbehaviors #compassion
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.5 days ago
My talk about the power of relational safety at the SSP gathering in Florida. It was a professional audience, highlighting Dr. Porges' transformative works, and why I wrote #BeyondBehaviors. #SSP #ProtectiveFactors #SpecialEd #SpecialNeeds #ChallengingBehaviors #ACES #Resilience #Traumainformedcare #Occupationaltherapy
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
The Polyvagal Theory and the Power of Relational Safety
Dr. Delahooke's presentation at the 2019 SSP Gathering in Atlantic Beach, Florida. The Polyvagal theory and the concept of neuroception of Dr. Stephen Porges...
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Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.1 week ago
Recently--at yet another meeting where a child is accused of "seeking negative attention", I'm reminded of this post. Most vulnerable children don't act out to seek "negative attention". They don't. That's not how the brain works. #resilience #beyondbehaviors #relationshipsfirst #behaviorshavemeaning #SelfCompassion
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.1 week ago
Such a fun conversation about our kids-& ourselves-with Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman