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Handling Behavioral Concerns During Summer Vacation

Handling Behavioral Concerns During Summer Vacation

If you are a parent, particularly to younger kids that showcase some behavioral issues, you might begin to feel extra levels of stress and uncertainty as we progress closer to summertime. Feeling this way is completely valid, especially if you are accustomed to your days consisting of them attending school while you go to work or take care of other responsibilities. Of course, if your child is displaying serious behavioral problems and you have not taken them to a therapist that specializes in this realm already, this can help exponentially when it comes to gaining a deeper understanding as to why they are acting out and improving upon these behaviors, too. Dr. Messina & Associates are a team of specialists in Southlake, TX that work with a wide range of mental health-related disorders, including children and behavioral concerns. The thought of making the next three months go smoothly might be a daunting one, but we’re here to help you and let you in on some tips for handling behavioral concerns during the summer and how you can make the most out of this time with the least amount of bumps in the road as possible.


Ensure There is Structure

Before anything else, you will want to ensure that there is a solid structure in place to promote positive behavior as much as possible during these times that are a bit different for everyone, especially in the beginning weeks of the break. Children respond well to a set structure and routine in school, and you will likely find that the same goes for when they are at home. Of course, no two days are the same, and you will want to leave some room open for spontaneity during your summer vacation without stressing yourself out for not following the perfect structured routine. You can still ensure that certain aspects of your day remain in a set structure, such as mealtimes, chores, and bedtime. Keeping this point in mind will make summer vacation a much more relaxed period of time if you are also working with behavioral issues with your child.


Be Understanding and Patient

Maintaining patience is typically always easier said than done, but when working with various behavior concerns, this is quite important. It’s fair to get frustrated and fed up with certain behaviors that you’ve been trying to work through together, such as hyperactivity, not listening, or impulsiveness. It’s vital to be understanding that these negative behaviors are coming from a place that they are not even aware of most of the time. Any downtime that might induce feelings of boredom can heighten these negative behaviors but stay as patient as you can and calmly work through them and talk it out, since this will be much more effective than getting angry or shutting down altogether. Getting a change of scenery or directing your child’s attention elsewhere in difficult times might be a good idea, and sometimes it is okay to let them be bored and get their irritated emotions out instead of bottling them up.


Emphasize Positive Behavior

If you’re concerned about behavior problems and you feel lost regarding how you can enforce them to have better actions more regularly, try out emphasizing their positive behavior if you have not done so already. This can mean setting up a reward system with them, which has shown to work effectively when it comes to behavioral concerns with children. Any time a positive behavior is shown, you can reinforce them with intentional praise or with something small that they have interest in, as this will tell them that you notice their attempts to showcase better behavior. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be watchful of when they are trying their best or succeeding with acting in a positive manner, and ensure they know that you these efforts do not go unnoticed. Their effort is noteworthy and should be celebrated, and this tactic of incentivization will definitely make the summer months much smoother and less overwhelming overall.


Clear Communication

One facet that is often underestimated is the power of clear and open communication with your children – and everyone else in your life, really. When you are handling behavioral problems with your child, it can likely feel impossible to communicate effectively with them a lot of the time. This goes hand-in-hand with the earlier point of being patient and understanding, because this is necessary if you want to have successful communication practices. If their negative behavior is being showcased, try sitting down and discussing with them calmly what the problem is and come up with a plan together of how it can be remediated. A lot of the time when kids act out it has to do with them feeling overlooked, misunderstood, and frustrated. If you are consistently telling them “no” to things they ask for without explaining why, this can quickly manifest into a meltdown. Try explaining the “why” aspect of your response whenever you can in a clear manner, or you can come up with a compromise together that will leave everyone feeling much better about the situation and no longer upset.

Do the best that you can to look at the next few months of summer with a positive mindset and as an opportunity to bond as a family before the school routines kick back into gear come autumn. Some days will be easier than others, but maintaining a relaxed and optimistic outlook on the situation will surely help. Issues with your child’s behavior may pick up with all of the sudden change that the end of the school year brings as well as all the free time that is now available, but if you can keep these points in mind it should help with making this transitional time significantly easier.


Getting Help

Dr. Messina & Associates has a caring and compassionate team of psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists that specialize in anxiety and depression in children, adolescents, and adults. In Person appointments are available in our DFW (Southlake) offices. Online appointments are available to patients in the Austin, DFW, Houston, and San Antonion areas. 


Dr. Michael Messina

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