How To Talk To Your Child About Exclusionary Behavior (Tips 14 & 15)

April 26th, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized

Exclusionary behavior is a natural yet disturbing part of childhood. To help children avoid this behavior and deal with it when they are unable to avoid it, The Communicated Stereotype has been offering tips for How to Talk to Your Child about Exclusionary Behavior. Be forewarned, as this series winds down some of the tips may get more controversial. Today’s tips are no exception.

Tip 14: Only in the worst case situations, raise the emotional stakes by raising your voice or crying in a controlled way about your frustration to find out a secret or get at the heart of the concern.

My child was convinced one day that her hunger pains occurred only if she ate food. So she refused to eat the entire day. By bedtime I was so frustrated I resorted to loudly crying and waling in front of her that I didn’t know what to do and that I was so worried and upset. As a result of this tactic, she wanted to help me feel better and decided eating would help the situation. She wasn’t trying to help herself. She was trying to help me. Either way, it worked!

Why? A child may be so confused or upset inside that they might not see the real root of the problem and also might not be aware of how the problem affects other people. Raising the emotional stakes diverts the child’s attention away from themselves and their problems and encourages them to problem-solve your problem as a parent. This manipulates your child’s sense of empathy to feel for you as an ingroup member rather as an authority figure and outgroup member trying to get them to do something they don’t want to do.

Tip 15: Help your child network by networking with parents and guardians at school social events and playdates. Expand your own networking comfort zone (e.g., race, class, gender, age, language). Seek out playdates across your child’s gender as well.

Why? Networking actively realigns group membership. It also gives the other children and their parents the opportunity to align with you as ingroup members in a new context in which they can get to know each other’s areas of similarity that would not otherwise be easily identifiable. Networking in this way demonstrates that you and your child are multi-dimensional individuals not one-dimensional stereotypes making it more difficult for these other children and their parents to view you as outgroup members. Tt also makes it less likely for you and your child to view them as outgroup members.

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