The Science of Parenting

Dealing with Difficult Behavior | S. 3 Ep. 10

October 08, 2020 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Season 3 Episode 10
The Science of Parenting
Dealing with Difficult Behavior | S. 3 Ep. 10
Chapters
The Science of Parenting
Dealing with Difficult Behavior | S. 3 Ep. 10
Oct 08, 2020 Season 3 Episode 10
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Study these six basics to determine how you can develop an action plan for a child with difficult demands. Plus, how to determine if you need to call in the pros for help. Featuring Dr. Sean McDevitt.

Send us an email: parenting@iastate.edu.
Find us on Facebook or Twitter: @scienceofparent.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext

Show Notes Transcript

Study these six basics to determine how you can develop an action plan for a child with difficult demands. Plus, how to determine if you need to call in the pros for help. Featuring Dr. Sean McDevitt.

Send us an email: parenting@iastate.edu.
Find us on Facebook or Twitter: @scienceofparent.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext

Speaker 1:

Hey, welcome to the science of parenting podcast, where we connect you with research based information that fits your family. We will talk about the realities of being a parent and our research can help guide our parenting decisions. Hi , I'm Mackenzie Johnson, parent of two littles with their own quirks, and I'm a parenting educator and I'm Lori hangs parents and three in three different life stages. One is launched. One is in college and one is in high school and today we're going to mix it up again and we kind of like to mix it up now and then, you know, it has to do with that temperament and being highly adaptable. I think that , so we're going to talk about how temperament and some difficult traits may be impacting your parenting brand new challenges, et cetera. We've shared several traits. We've talked about temperament and how it impacts sleep. And so this week we thought, we think about how difficult behaviors might be impacted by temperament. Absolutely. And thinking specifically about, okay, so we've heard quite a bit of temperament traits and maybe we are like, okay. Yeah, that's totally my child or that's totally me. Um, but you know, thinking specifically about how those difficult behaviors and some of those challenging traits, and, but we recognize that part of you as you listen, part of you as listeners might be saying, okay, but is this just temperament, right. Is there more going on here? And so we kind of have this word I kind of we've clung to a little bit is discern, how do we figure out, how do we discern between what is temperament, right. That foundation and what is maybe something different going on? Right. So like a medical diagnosis , you know, we've talked about how we in previous episodes, we weren't talking specifically about diagnosis . Now we're going to talk a little bit about it. Um , how temperament fits into those things we are. And just a quick reminder about what temperament is and what it isn't before we start. So temperament is our predisposition to how we react. It's inborn, it's genetic, it's with us from the very beginning. And when we think about that, some people might wonder, well, how is it different from personality? And we like to say that, you know, because temperament has always been there, we start with temperament. Temperament is the foundation. And then what will we do is we begin to layer on top of temperament, our age and development, our experiences with people around us, the environment we grow up in and our personality that forms as we grow. So those things layer on top of that foundation of temperament. It's always been there and we need to figure out a way adapt to what we got at times.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Cause temperaments always going to be there . It's always going to be there. Absolutely. In a reminder of some of the research we've been looking at along the way, you know, we've looked at Thomas and Thomas and Chase's original nine traits. We've also tapped into the research, but from Jim Cameron and his colleagues at Kaiser Permanente who have followed thousands of kids for 30 plus years. So following those kids, his profiles and looking at them and, you know , looking across those nine traits and they're like, you know, the pattern we see across all these kids over these years, everybody gets temperament, right? Everybody gets these nine traits. It's a matter of figuring out if you got a little, if you got a lot or if you land in the middle somewhere. And so, as a reminder, you know, we've kind of covered, like Lori said, lots of different traits so far, still more to come, but it's covered a lot so far. And , um, we have lots of great resources, places. You can go take a profile, things like that. You can find them on our website@scienceofparenting.org. Um , so lots of great resources on temperament . We've kind of compiled there for you.

Speaker 1:

So this week we are going to take a look at some particularly challenging traits like we talked about before. And what I got to do was sit down with a highly respected temperament researcher and practicing clinician and pick his brain on how do we know when behaviors are challenging and how do we know when it's temperament and how do we know when we need to seek further information? And so I'm excited to share some of the conversation that we had with dr. Sean McDevitt.

Speaker 2:

Yes. And I want to give everybody a little background on who Shawn is. Uh, so he is an adolescent psychologist in Phoenix, Arizona with over 40 years of experience, working with families in the medical field. Uh, he graduated from temple university medical school and is a child psychologist in that Arizona , um, you know, Phoenix, paradise Valley kind of area. So Sean actually uses temperament assessment in his practice. Um, you know, he helps with parent guidance in traditional to traditional , uh , practices. And so he uses these techniques to help parents and kids work their way through difficult behaviors. They might be experiencing,

Speaker 1:

Does experience a wealth of experience, and I've actually known him for more than 20 years. And so it was really great to be able to reach back out with him and ask him to help us with some ideas for this particular podcast. And I'm pretty sure that I would not be exaggerating at all. If I were to say that he's kind of a giant in the temperament field, he's worked alongside the greats , uh , the late dr. Bill William bill Carey , as well as doctors, Stella chess and Alexander Thomas, whose work we've been citing along the way here in these episodes. So we hope that you, some of his information here as fascinating as well .

Speaker 2:

Yes, he's got so much good stuff to say. So we want to kind of dive back and we're going to move backwards a little bit. So we've walked through some of these traits. And so that's where we want to start. As we think about difficult behavior and, you know, difficult, you know, sometimes what we might even call different difficult temperament. Um, and so as we think about those traits, while we say there's no good and bad temperament, we do realize, right, reality check. There are certain temperament traits that just take more right. There are challenging for us as parents, right? Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

You know, and some of those might be things like a child with a high intensity level. Remember they just have that oomph that over the top newness of everything, whether it's positive or negative , uh , the idea that they might be less adaptable, the kids who are going to wait and see and hear, and really have to be coerced and convinced to make a change. And then the highly active child, they just have that natural energies literally oozing out of every pole .

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Well, and then, you know, there's also traits like low approach or the withdrawing child. Who's gonna need some time to warm up and might want to, maybe I want to watch first before I'm ready to jump in. Right. So that law approach can be difficult for parents the low distractability or , or, you know, sometimes we use that word perceptiveness, the kid who's not catching the subtle. Right. I didn't even see the look from across the room. What are you talking about? You told me, Oh, you told me with your eyes. What's that even mean? I don't know what that means. I know what it means as a parent. Oh . And then another trait that can be tough for us. You know, that can be a difficult trick for parents is a highly persistent child that I know what I want to do. And I need to work on this now and I'm need to finish it. Now I'm not ready to walk away that those can be big feelings. That can be hard as a parent when you have a child that has that pattern, right. We talk about temperament as a pattern of behavior. Those patterns were slow to warm up or less adaptable or highly intense or highly persistent. Those can be tough ones. Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

And I think that this might also be a good time to bring up that if you remember nothing else about what to do with those, you know, difficult temperament traits, is that stop brief talk, right? Yeah .

Speaker 2:

Well, these might require some stop. These traits might be our stop brief talk. Requirement's exactly here , your intense emotions. I need to take a breath. Think about it. You know, what did those behaviors

Speaker 1:

Look like in the real world? Well, what we might see or hear is the child who has louder outbursts, you know, whether they're positive or negative, they're very loud and you hear them, you might feel them, right. They might move quickly between things because they have that high activity level, they might be opposed to change. And you might, you know, be heavenly , hear them say and resist any change at all. And when they say no, they mean, no, they don't mean maybe there's no, maybe here these traits can be particularly evident during times that we asked transitions from our children, whether it's transitions from home to school, in the car, out of the car, from childcare to home those times when children are needing to move from one thing to the next, those are places for

Speaker 2:

Or struggles. Okay. I needed to hear you say that today, right ? Oh, okay. So when we have these more extreme ends of these traits, and we know knowing that some of these traits, you know, the , some of the ones we've listed are a little harder sometimes as a parent, thinking about like transitions. Yeah. That's it, it's the parts of the day where you need to move from, I mean, with my little kids from playtime to supper time , or, you know, with older kids coming home from school or going from hanging out to doing homework, Oh, that's it transitions? And I just think of this for, you know, I think of the stress that just did it with a low adaptability child or a high persistence child to have to move from one activity to the next, maybe before they feel ready is stressful. And we know that stress, it is stress escalates, right? It's going to escalate these behaviors. So I'm normally pretty intense and normally pretty loud. And then if you get me stressed out, I somehow get louder. I know it's possible. It happens to me,

Speaker 1:

Right? That stress could be anything from internal to external stress. They might be not feeling well. That's going to amplify their already , um, you know, extreme temperament traits. You might not be feeling well that can amplify your extreme traits. And so I love what Sean said during his interview with , with us is that this child has their own ideas. And the parent of the adult is actually creating an inconvenience to the child when they're asking them to transition. And that, that inconvenience is what creates the conflict. And it really takes a lot of energy for the caregiver to create this environment for the child's temperament. And, and so in Sean's words, its difficulty is in the comedy dating and the creating of this environment and the energy that it requires from the adult to handle those extreme temperament traits. So it's not really a difficult child. It's kind of the demands of those temperament traits.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And so, you know, as I think of the skills that are required of me as a parent, with some of these traits, we talk about the skills of navigating when my intense child, right, has an intense reaction. Or when I low adaptability child is having a hard time with change or my highly persistent child puts up quite the battle, right? When those things, it's not that my child is difficult. It's not even that the behavior is difficult, right? That's what John's saying. It's that the demands that creates on me as a parent, that I need to have the skills to navigate those. The demands are more difficult for you as a parent. I like to just like , let that rain over me, you know, because I don't, you know, we talk about no good and bad temperament and I don't want to talk about my child is difficult. It's just like, no, what's difficult is that I have to have these additional skills because these traits feel so extreme.

Speaker 1:

Exactly. And dr. McDevitt, he shared a story one time that dr. Stella's chess and in her research and her writing about temperament had, had sort of regretted the idea that they talked about a difficult child. And what she told him was that she had wished that instead they had not use the label, difficult child to describe the children that what she really wanted the idea to be was that it just takes more energy and accommodating from the adults to raise these children. It's not fair, but that's what it takes. Is it takes more energy from us as the adults.

Speaker 2:

Yes. And it's not fair.

Speaker 1:

It's not fair. It's not fair to them .

Speaker 2:

I have a child that has more difficult demands . And then my good friend has an easy going, or my siblings , you know, my nieces and nephews, or it's not fair. Like, Nope, no . When your parents wish, like I hope you raise a kid, just look , okay . I guess maybe in that way it feels a little , um, but it is, it's just a difference in their temperament, you know, it's, it's the lottery, did they, you know, what did you, what did we get? We got some, we got a lot, we got a little , um, and so it's just what we have, but as I think about these demands, okay , so we want to talk about difficult demands, not difficult temperament or difficult behavior. So as I think about these difficult demands and you know, on this topic, knowing that Sean is he's working directly with families, he's a clinician, he's a psychologist. How does he talk about like, okay, I'm coming to my doctor, I have questions because things are hard, right? Difficult demands. This is hard for me as a parent. How do I know if this is just temperament? And how do I know if it's something that we need to be thinking about, you know, a medical diagnosis,

Speaker 1:

Like how are there differences? What are they well, and he did talk about that. We specifically dove into that at great length. And maybe this is a great place to actually listen in to part of that conversation. So you can hear him describe those differences in , in the clip that you were about to hear what he talks about is three different ways to discern what's going on with our children. So let's take a listen and see if you can hear these three they're about temperament, they're about behavior. And they are about diagnoses

Speaker 3:

In the work that go carry an idea. Over many years, we developed a model for dealing with caregivers and youngsters in a primary care setting. The three characteristics that we thought were the most common were temperament issues is number one, there's number two. And then the third and much less common is a youngsters who qualified for a diagnosis. Let me do the DSM or ICD 10 model. And these are the answers that have some sort of , um , a diagnosis such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, autistic, spectrum disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, other kinds of , uh , issues that youngsters and then develop. So the idea is , uh, when we're looking for temperament issues, what we do is we listen carefully for indicators. If your temperament is an issue, you know, check on your characteristics, tend to be more , uh , important when they're more they're extremes. And so when a parent suddenly says, well, you know, I can't get her to wear the wool socks because it's too scratchy. And , uh , or, you know, my youngsters got problems with transitions . You can't make change from one thing to another, without a big fight. So there's temping related kinds of comments that are being made. And when that happens, we have to begin to do an assessment of, well , how , how deeply under this , uh, are we going to get, and so we ask other questions about those type of characteristics, and then try to get a quick idea about the other ones. And so there's really three different kinds of responses. The first one is just educating the caregiver about the existence of temperament, knowing that it's just some minutes, it has an impact and that if we don't accommodated it, it's going to create conflict. And the conflict could lead to other types of issues. The second level is, is trying to identify what kind of checking the profile, the instance , and you know, what are the contracts that, that temperament profile is leading to in the in household. And so in those situations it's frequently done in, in informally, in an interview asking about the different areas of tamper , marital , how active as a child, a regular are they, how intense, how positive or negative once we do that , uh, you know, we sometimes , uh , we'll have a chance to look at other , uh , documents related to the child, suggest reports to school , um , family histories, things like that. And then also obviously getting a , a look at the child themselves where the pieces are fitting together too well. It's sometimes important to do a standardized assessment and looking at how does the child's behavior pattern match those of the other hundreds and thousands of kids who've been given that assessment and treatment . We , then we have a temperament profile that, you know , we can confidently talk to the caregiver about and help them get in touch with technical qualities that their youngster has , uh , that, that can improve things dramatically. Because then there's a feeling that , uh , we know what we're doing. We can see why these things are happening, what we need to do about it when there's still more to be sad or more problems that are occurring, we sometimes can do what we talked about , about my counseling, which involves having the child come into the office. And we observe and talk about , uh , the temperament related issues. And they come up with a plan, a plan where we're addressing the champion issues. And , uh , in my practice , uh , uh, often monsters and parents are coming two or three times in order to develop a plan, put it into place, evaluate it, refine it, and get it working to that satisfaction. Um , and I would say that, you know, almost 90%, maybe more of the time we work out a reasonable accommodation and things can move forward without the conflict that they have with it .

Speaker 1:

Okay. I just love listening to the insight that we've had from our guests, our researchers, and the productive dinners . We've had like so much insight to share, especially on this topic. Exactly, exactly. It's fun, especially because yes, we get to listen to it, but we actually get to share it with you, which is cool for us. So, you know , it's one thing to listen to it for yourself, but it's another thing to be able to say, Oh my gosh, you guys have got to hear this. So in summarizing how to hear it, he got to hear it in summarizing what Sean talked about. You know, the first question is , is it temperament? You know, I can't change temperament, but I can learn to accommodate and teach the skills. Is it a difficult behavior? And what is the behavior specifically that we want to change? Could we change routines? Could we change , um, you know, how we, how we address it, are there consequences or incentives that we need to use? And then that third one was diagnosis. Is there a diagnosis that we need to come up with so that we can look into some medical treatment?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And I just think we know, we know, I love a frame where breaking this out into three pieces of like an understanding of the concern cc's brought to him. There are some that are related, you know, across each of those things. And I think the great news, I feel like as a parent and hearing that, is that okay, there are kind of these categories and each category gives us something we can do, right? It's not that we're stuck in. Like, this is just where we are forever. Like no each category has its own things we can do. So yes, the first category being temperament, we can work on understanding our kid's temperament and developing that good as a fit we've been talking about on the second one with behaviors, right? If it's the specific behaviors we're concerned about, then we can work on some of those guidance and discipline and specific behavior modification strategies. So that's another option. And then if we do have concerns that, you know , might be related to diagnosis, we can work with the local experts, right? Your medical provider, your family, doctor, your therapists , things like that. So in each area, there's something we can do. There is if we're honest, we know that you may became to this episode with like you came here because things might be hard. Right. And so you have questions. And so I just think that's, that's like the good news we want to share. Absolutely. There's something we can do.

Speaker 1:

So let's take a, let's break these down a little bit and let's share first. So the first step he looked at was temperament. So what can we do when we look at that goodness of fit, and we've talked about goodness of fit over our last episodes. And when we look at the child's natural temperament, what we then need to also remember is part of goodness of fit is our own natural temperament as the adult as well. And we have to look at what skills have we taught ourselves along the way when it comes to working in accommodating our temperament and what skills do we need to begin to teach our children to accommodate their temperament as well. And something else that, that dr . McDevitt talks about is this successful range for environments. And so when it comes to these temperament traits that are at the extremes that are creating difficult demands, this successful environment actually begins to get smaller and less flexible. Right. So when you had these extremes, you kind of need to have a fairly consistent plan for these temperament extremes.

Speaker 2:

Yes. And I think the thought, like, I think the thought than I do, I think that the thought of understanding the range of environments that kids can thrive in and understanding that with some of these traits, that range just looks smaller. Right? So we it's difficult sometimes for us, especially maybe it doesn't go with our natural temperament to create that range that is accommodating and to create that goodness of fit. So understanding that it's not, I'm not doing things wrong, right. It's not that my gut is wrong. Any of that, what my child needs because of their temperament falls in the specific range. And it's okay. If my child's range is smaller than other child's , it's not because anything's wrong. It's just their temperament that they have.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And that's where that can become difficult as we look at our child's natural gifts and , and we, as a parent may say, well, I want to give them all of these options, but because of the difficult demands of their trays , we actually have to give them less options. Yeah . Well , we're going to talk about this thing that is called the behavior reaction cycle. Are you ready? I love it. Yes, please. All right . So what I want you to do is I want you to picture a circle. All right . And we're going to put some words in the circle. I want you to think about the top of the circle. Let's think about a clock too . So the top of the circle is 12 o'clock at the top of our circle is the word behavior. And the word behavior is something that you can see or hear . Okay. And the behavior that you see in here then causes a reaction. So about the three o'clock on the clock, we're going to put the word reaction, and this is a feeling or an emotion that is elicited in another person. So at the top of the behavior, the behavior elicits a reaction, a feeling, and that feeling then causes another behavior. This behavior happens in the other person. That behavior is at the bottom, at the six o'clock behavior at the top and box at top and bottom at three o'clock. You had the word reaction. What do you think you have at nine o'clock reaction? Another reaction. Exactly. Okay. So this is how our natural temperament causes behaviors, reactions, behaviors, and reactions, hence the word cycle. Right? So we're in cycle, right ? So I want to know what behavior did you envision at the top of that circle?

Speaker 2:

If I'm thinking about the behavior reaction cycle. I think of a behavior that I might see as creating difficult demands for me. I think of wake up in the morning, getting out of bed, getting my kids, getting all of us, getting ready and out the door. So I think of the behavior, like the climbing back in bed, my, well , my child climbs back in bed when it's like, no need to go.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So the behavior coming back in bed, what am trying to child you're seeing, you're seeing that child climb back in bed behavior at the top of the circle. Okay. So what kind of reaction does that behavior causing you? What's the emotional response to that behavior? Well,

Speaker 2:

My intensity.

Speaker 1:

Okay . Thinking . Okay. But so, okay . What are you feeling like? A feeling word? Yes. Frustrated, like , come on. We have places to be. I'm already out of bed. I'm ready to go, please. You need to be to , okay. So frustrated . You're feeling frustrated. What behavior can we see from you when you feel frustrated? Maybe we hear, if I don't , I'll say if I don't stop and breathe, talk, I might actually say let's go, right ? Like voice loudly to get going. Come on, get out of bed. Yeah. You might flip the light on. Yeah. Like , come on. Alright . So then what kind of reaction, what kind of feeling does that then elicit in? I think in this case, you're speaking about a child. What kind of feeling does that elicit in said child climate

Speaker 2:

Further back under the covers or I think of what I've mentioned. I growl noticed my child may also just be like, Oh ,

Speaker 1:

Like go away. Yes. But so reaction was probably further frustration there. Yes, absolutely. They are further frustrated, which then might cause the behavior to dive back under the covers. I suspect that it's possible that this is a common occurrence in many households across our listeners. Right. So I have a question though. Did I tell you that it was a child's behavior at the top of the circle told me it was the behavior. I did tell you it was a behavior and you know what you did, what almost a majority of the people, when I teach class on the behavior reaction cycle, do they put the child's behavior at the top of the circle? In my question next then is always, but what if it was actually our behavior at the top of the Sur goal? I'll say that behavior is ours at the top of the circle. And that behavior was causing a reaction and a response from our child. And the first behavior that we actually acknowledged and saw as the adult was actually the six o'clock on the clock. The second behavior, because we didn't recognize our own natural temperament

Speaker 2:

Adult behavior at the top of the clock. If I'm at 12, o'clock me saying time to get up and flipping on the light is the first week is the first behavior, not the, well, my child, she going back in bed, like , yeah,

Speaker 1:

Think about it. Children get their cues from us. Everything we do is in everything we do as human beings, we get our cues from those around us, the places, things, people. Right. And so, as we think about the behavior reaction cycle at times, we suddenly realize we are frustrated, but we're actually maybe frustrated with the second or third step instead of thinking back about, well, what was that first thing? And what was that first behavior that caused this initial cycle?

Speaker 2:

Yes . And one of the things I like to think of in our parenting, you know, we had the episode in season, one talking about who's got control, right? Who , which is it ? The parent or the child. And it's ultimately, it's like, okay , it's um, but one of the ways I think about that and you know, this term of a cycle parents kinda determined, especially where we start on that clock. Um, we kind of determined the direction of, I call it a spiral. So it's like an upward spiral headed in the direction. We hope because our first behavior and our reaction to the behaviors that come around or do things go downward and I will absolutely fess up . I am sometimes a downward spiral LER , right. I will start us on the downward spiral and continuous with my reactions and behaviors, not having much of a gap between, but then hopefully I can remember to stop re-talk and change the direction. But yes,

Speaker 1:

Yes. And that's a really important piece that you talked about is we are the adults. So we have to figure out a way to get out of that cycle out of that spiral and realize that if they're looking at our cues, when we begin to stop, breathe, talk, that's a huge cue that we're about to stop the spiral. You said something really interesting to me when we were talking about this and you have to share the cut,

Speaker 2:

The , the cut cut , cut the cord, but yeah, a different cutting different cutting. Yes. Well , I guess I think of, you know, thinking back, like I said to the episode on who's got control as parents, our brains right. Are more developed, right? Our kids don't necessarily have that ability. And so as they think about the reaction to the behavior, those hands on the clock for us, we have the ability to separate. I like to say we have the scissors in this circle. Like we have the ability to use a stop retalk technique, right ? Something to stop, take our breath, decide how we want things to go. We have scissors to cut the cycle between our reaction or behavior. Our kids are littles our infants, our Biggers, right? Our school agers are preteens. And even our teenagers, their brains are not as developed as ours. So they might not be holding scissors that their initial reaction, at least not a lot of the time they have the scissors to separate their , what I feel to what I do absolutely do as parents, we've got the scissors to cut, but then change the direction of the spiral. It's tough , it's ownership. And it's hard.

Speaker 1:

You have temperament traits that have really difficult demands. You have to recognize that even more. So you, as the adult have to help get out of that cycle and, you know, create those breaking points because those difficult traits, they don't have that capacity, you know, very quickly at all. They really need those reminders. So, okay. So we have to fix the situation that was in our behavior reaction cycle. So how might you fix the getting out of bed?

Speaker 2:

Yes. So, okay. If I put my behavior at the top, maybe it's kind of giving that warning of like, Hey, good morning. I'm going to go, you know, like, it's going to be time to get up. I'll give you a few minutes. You seem tired today before diving into like, Hey, we need to get going. Right. So I might give it a slower warmup knowing that my daughter's temperament is kind of that low adept, like low adaptability, low approach. Can you sometime to get, you know, transitioned into the day,

Speaker 1:

We just might need to make a little noise around the house and give them the opportunity to hear other noises before we stomp up the stairs and flip on the light and open the door. Right.

Speaker 2:

And maybe that's another thing is my behavior. Won't be flipping on the light.

Speaker 1:

Exactly. That's a great idea. That's exactly. All right . So let's move on to the next section. Yeah .

Speaker 2:

So, you know, as you know, we love to kind of wrap with a strategy. We like to call this in your reality. Right. We've looked at some of the research on temperament, talked with dr. Sean McDevitt on some of this research behind temperament and difficult demands and diagnoses. And so we wanted to come back, of course, to , in your own reality, maybe you've been listening and you're like, okay, that was helpful. Or that was good. I still feel like, I don't know. Right. I don't know if what I'm experiencing at home with my child is temperament or something else, you know, and in our previous episodes we said, we're not getting into all the diagnosis . Right. And so, but we do know there are temperament traits that can mirror certain aspects of , um, you know, certain diagnoses like ADHD or, you know, social anxiety disorder and low approach. And so we know that there's some overlap there. And so don't fear because we have a framework, which we know. Okay. And when I say, yeah , when I say we have a framework, I mean, dr. Bill Carey developed this assessment tool that he actually was using in his practice, and that gives people kind of the descriptions or categories or areas of assessment as he might call it. And so this is called the basics behavioral adjustment scale, and the basics is actually an acronym for the six areas of adjustment that we're looking at. So , um, as we share, you know, we're going to , I'm going to walk through these six areas of the basics. And , um, I want you to reflect on which areas you might have concerns and how, what you see at home could be reflected.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. So just listen to those, these six areas and think about that. It takes us really diving into these six areas as we think about difficult behaviors .

Speaker 2:

Yes. Okay. So the first for be in basics, behavioral competence and social relationships. So this B is really about our relationships with others. Are there difficult demands or concerns you have related to relationships with others, aides for achievements? So think about task performance at school at home, or in other areas, self relations is the third one. So this could include things like self care, right? Do they practice those basic hygiene things? Do they take care of their needs, even self-regulation and self-assurance , um , their internal status. So this is kind of related to their general kind of contentment versus disturbance and how they think and feel , uh, their coping is their next one. Um, so what are their problem solving skills on how their ability to work towards their own solution? And then the final one is symptoms of physical function, right? So if there are physical things going on with like eating, sleeping, pain, elimination, things like that. And so again, those six , um, the basics starting with social relationships, achievements, self relations, internal status, coping ability, and then symptoms of physical function. So those are six areas of adjustment for us.

Speaker 1:

Exactly. And if you've ever attended one of our workshops or been on our Facebook lives, or even listening to our episodes, you know, that one of our beliefs is that our role here is education, but that some parent child relationships really do need additional support. And we always encourage you to seek those out. We are not giving any medical advice. And this model essentially gives you a place to start to look at. It's not necessarily a diagnostic tool. We just simply want to empower you as a parent to advocate for your child and to give some terminology to describe some of the concerns that you might have .

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And so, yes , if you've been listening to this episode and you're like, I still don't know, you can think about those six areas of the basics. And as you think about preparing for a conversation with a professional, like your family doctor, or a school counselor or local services or resources you have available to you , um, because that is an important part of being a parent yes. Understanding temperament, and being able to advocate , um, to get more information or resources when it's needed. So those are all great things that you can do when we want to empower you to be able to do them. So we do so well , it's at this point in our episode that we like to bring our producer Kenzie young in, and we offer ourselves a little moment to stop, breathe and talk. And what we asked Kenzie to do is, you know, give us some off the cuff question about what she's just heard us say, absolutely. Here she comes.

Speaker 1:

Today's question leads exactly from what you were just saying, you luckily didn't see my question. I can build off of it, which is perfect. Um, we're talking about getting support and I know a lot of parents that deal with these difficult behaviors don't necessarily seek help. And I guess my question is why don't they, and or what words of encouragement can you give to parents , um, as they seek support so that they know that they're not, they're not on their own through all of this. Like, what do you think is the barriers for them and what words of encouragement can you get them?

Speaker 2:

Hmm . I would say some barriers that automatically come to mind access, you know, sometimes are these resources available when we're in some of these really small rural areas, having to travel can be the barrier, especially when you have kids at home. So I would say access. And then I do also think sometimes the stigma or shame we tie to needing additional help or wanting to additional help for our parenting , um , and for our relationship with our child. And so my words of encouragement are that every parent child relationship looks different, right? Every reality looks different and that seeking support is a way that you are showing that you are an active and attentive and supportive parent. Um, so, and I , I recognize that there are different obstacles for different families. Um, even I think of finding childcare, if you have to take another child down. Um, and so remember that episode we did on support as well. It's own support thing. It helps us be more effective and competent parents, and you're doing a good job like, Oh , yes . I think that sometimes we just need permission to be able to step out and say, I really need to talk to someone else about this. If anything what's happening in our world right now should allow us the opportunity to say right now is a great time for me to go ask other people questions right now is a great time for me to reach out. And I have questions and I need to find answers because we know we're all going through absolutely crazy things. I mean, we have, we have bonuses

Speaker 1:

Episodes on parenting in a pandemic, right? There's, there's, everybody's, everybody's going through something. So it's a perfect time to say, well, why don't I see

Speaker 2:

Some support? Absolutely. Yes. And even just getting, you know, whether it's getting services or resources, or just tapping into more information, getting emotional support, right. There's a lot of different kinds of support that when you're dealing with difficult demands, right . A temperament that demands a lot from you, right. It's all right. To get support. It's a good thing. And that I think is when I was talking with dr . McDevitt was a very, very clear message that difficult temperaments take a lot out of parents. Oh, we need to have a lot of energy when we are dealing with temperament traits that have a lot of demands. And so it's okay to recognize that, you know, my child, they have these extreme temperament traits and guess what I'm going to be exhausted. So I probably am going to need to tap into more people. Yes.

Speaker 1:

Exhaustion, lack of, you know, you lose your patience . You lose. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I don't know . I think that's a good question. All right then . Thanks ladies. Thank you. I feel like I barely needed to stop on that ship tool of stop free and then talk. I was like, Oh, I have something to say. So yes. Covering the topic of difficult demands. Right. We started out talking about difficult behavior. We're going to reframe that difficult demands and how to discern it from diagnosis to listen to that. Did the, did the, did we have a nice little alliteration there, but you know, we looked at some of those traits that do just demand more of a suspense. We heard dr. Sean McDevitt, tell us about some of the differences and discerning between temperament and behaviors and diagnoses. We also walked through that behavior reaction style , um, cycle, knowing that temperament is what we're talking about the season and that the behavior reaction cycle is a big part of this goodness of fit. And then we gave you some tools , uh , that you can tap into with that basics , um, assessment tool , walking through, you know, what are the areas that I specifically have concerns and so that you can better advocate for yourself and your kids. Yes . So thanks for joining us today at our science of parenting podcast, and remember subscribe to our weekly audio podcast on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app, you can watch our video on and you can

Speaker 1:

Join us periodically when we go live as well. And we love taking your comments and your questions. Yes. So please come along with us. As we tackle the ups and downs, the ins and outs and the research in reality, all around the science of parenting,

Speaker 4:

The science of parenting is a research based education program posted by Lori Hanes and Mackenzie Johnson produced by McKenzie Dion with research and writing by Barbara, Dan Swanson, sending questions and comments to parenting@iastate.edu and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This program is brought to you by Iowa state university extension and outreach. This institution is an equal opportunity provider for the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.state.edu/diversity/xd .