There are many indications that aggression is escalating among our children and youth – between the more violating acts of aggression that capture media attention, and also the ground swell of attacking energy that erupts in our kids' interaction, music, language, play, games, and fantasies – not to mention the alarming increase in suicide and suicidal ideation among children.
Counterwill is the instinctive reaction of resistance to being controlled – so universal at certain stages of development that it has given rise to terms like "terrible twos" and "rebellious teens." This resistance can come out as opposition, negativity, laziness, noncompliance, disrespect, lack of motivation, belligerence, incorrigibility, resistance to learning, and even antisocial attitudes and actions.
Time-out? Consequences? When dealing with children, parents and teachers often want to know what to do when. However, a larger context, including an understanding of the underlying emotions and instincts in a child, is of the utmost importance when considering how to impose order and teach responsibility. In this course, common discipline strategies are discussed in the context of what a child needs for healthy development, and attachment-safe and developmentally friendly discipline strategies are introduced.
Play is becoming an endangered activity, even though the term has become ubiquitous. We play piano, play cards, play games, play ball. Our children use PlayStations and have play-dates. We've never had more toys, games, and apps – but that doesn't necessarily translate into the kind of play that builds brains and forwards development.
No one is more susceptible to being misunderstood than the preschooler – especially when adults are trying to rush them out of their untempered nature, inconsiderate relating, or separation problems. Making sense of these wondrous and confusing beings lays a foundation for intuitive and fruitful interaction with them, and helps us provide the conditions that are conducive to their transformation.