Parenting Resource

Bennett, Age 9 months, With His Mother Rebecca

May 19, 2010

Watch to see how Bennett shows his mother how determined he is to play with his 3-year-old sister’s Valentine box. What strategies do you see his mother use to distract and redirect Ben in this clip?

To Think About:

How does Bennett communicate what he is thinking and feeling?

How does Rebecca respond to Bennett’s communications through actions and sounds?

What might Bennett be learning about self-control in this interaction with his mom?

What the Experts Say About This Interaction

What Bennett does:

  • Persistently tries to get his sister’s valentine’s box.

  • Accepts the alternative activities suggested by his mother. This is an early example of how children can learn how to not act on their impulses and, instead, redirect their energy to more acceptable activities.

  • Shows pleasure and enjoyment in his mother’s company.

What Rebecca does:

  • Plays with Ben on the floor, at his level.

  • Moves the Valentine’s box away, setting a gentle limit on Ben’s behavior.

  • Uses language to engage Ben and help divert his attention.

  • Gets Ben involved in other activities instead of touching the Valentine box. This helps Ben learn to cope when he can’t have what he wants.

  • Stays calm and limits using the word “no”.

Think About How Your Child Is Learning These Skills

  • How does your child let you know she’s lost control?

  • How do you help her manage her strong feelings?

  • How do you manage your own feelings when you are angry, frustrated, etc?

  • Are you able to remain calm or do you respond with intensity, too? What can you do help yourself remain calm when your child is “losing it”?

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