Forest Fires
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 You Too Can

Prevent Forest Fires

by Diane MacKenzie

For parents of children with behavioral and emotional problems life is a constant struggle. It often seems as though they are fighting sporadic forest fires throughout the course of their daily lives. Parents must find creative solutions to help their children deal with short fuses, low frustration tolerance, and unpredictable swings in moods and behavior. Children must be taught methods of damage control to help them learn to cope with the minor problems that set them off. These are just a few of the techniques that I have had to use to defuse my son's, shall we say, explosive tendencies.
Monotonous activities seem to be relaxing and comforting to a child who leans toward losing his or her temper easily. Whether the activity is physical or mental in nature, such endeavors tend to produce a feeling of control. Jumping rope, bouncing on a small trampoline and playing Skip-It are prime examples of comforting physical activities. Excess energy is burned. The rhythm of the repetitious movements is similar to the sensation produced by rocking a child. These methods create a double benefit for children who are easily over stimulated. Cracking nuts with a nutcracker and popping the bubbles on a piece of bubble wrap are also excellent repetitive tasks for a child to perform. These projects require more focused concentration and can help to improve attention span to some degree. Large pieces of bubble wrap (with the large bubbles) are good for older children to stomp on, in order to release building frustration and aggression. The sound of the air being expelled from the pockets of air and the feeling of the bubbles deflating also gives them a concrete sense of what is being accomplished. Teaching them to *see* the source of their anger, vanishing into the air, further increases the effectiveness of this technique.
As adults, we often take warm baths as a means to relax and bring ourselves back down to Earth. Often, parents correlate kids and bath time as one of two things. A time to play and a time to get clean. However, children can experience some of the same therapeutic benefits as adults, if they are taught to do so. Simply having the child lay back in the water and let it support his or her weight can often be enough to calm them and redirect their energies. Just having them wash off may serve to rid them of sensory distractions. Children are often too young to realize that being itchy and dirty, from a hard day at play, can be a source of aggravation in itself. If they are taught to recognize the feelings a bath can be a blessing in disguise. Throw in a pinch of aromatherapy by adding some lavender or rose baths salts to their water and everyone benefits in the end. The child is calmed and the parents have a clean, sweet-smelling youngster on their hands.
Last but not least, parents should evaluate their own relaxation techniques. After taking a good look at what they do to regain their own composure, they can write them down and modify them to fit their child. For example, if they listen to music, they can teach the child to do so, as well. Buy the child a set of headphones and a small tape player, to listen to when they feel the heat of a fiery temper rising. Encourage them to find music that they enjoy, provided that it does not go against pre-existing household rules. Showing them how to take time-outs on their own, will teach them how to control their own tempers. As parents begin to recognize signs of frustration, they can point them out to the child in a non-threatening way. If they are able to recognize, what ignites their own personal fuse, they can stop the fire before it gets started. Keep in mind what Smoky the Bear has always saidÂ…. "You too can help prevent forest fires."


About Diane

I am a poet by nature and a writer at heart....29yo mother of three born in Memphis, TN on Halloween. I love to write...poetry, articles, fiction, the whole shebang. I write for myself and for anyone else who might be interested in my occasionally coherent babble. Enjoy.....

Diane is a talented a gifted writer and her works include many other venues besides Bipolar Children.  She writes for Themestream and her titles can be viewed (and rated!) at the following url...Diane's Articles

Please visit her there.

Diane can be reached by EMAIL


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