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What to do When Your Child Refuses to Follow the Plan


What to Do When Your Child Refuses to Follow the Transition Plan?


Sometimes, despite having a consistent step-by-step transition plan in place your child may refuse to follow the plan. What do you do? If authoritarian is your preferred style, you may find yourself pushing too hard.  If permissive is your preferred style, you may be tempted to give up. The emotion coach will pull from the authoritarian style a consistent follow through AND from the permissive style a pause to calm.  This is what it looks like. An emotion coach will:

  1. Follow the plan.  Point to the visual plan of the steps and ask, “What does the plan say?  We are not moving forward until you finish this step.” When the child insists, she must do something else, the response is a calm, clear statement – “We are not doing that right now.”                                                                                                                                        
  2. Calm the child. An emotion coach knows you cannot reason with a child in the “red zone” of tense energy. Whether it’s grabbing their favorite blanket, listening to music, a hug, or reading a book the child is allowed time to calm.                                                                           
  3. Wait the child out. In the case of the highly persistent child calming may take a few minutes or fifty. Which is why when you introduce a new transition plan you will want to do so on the weekend when you are not feeling rushed. If needed, the child may still eat or sleep, and/or go to school or childcare but the first thing the child does after any of these activities is to come back to complete the plan.                                                                     
  4. Know that follow through is not being mean. When a plan is in place, you and your child have created a visual of that plan, and you have proactively asked your child, before he’s demanded help, “Is today a day you need help?”  You can expect your child to work with you. When he does not, he’s testing, “What happens if I do not listen?’ By sticking to the plan and following through you are letting him know that he can trust that you will do what you said you would do. This creates a sense of security. That’s a good thing – not mean!

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