I just read an awesome book called, The Dance of Interaction, A Guide to Managing Children’s Challenging Behaviors, by Jeanine Fitzgerald. Ms. Fitzgerald is a licensed mental health professional and certified Human Behavior Consultant and Specialist, with 35 years of experience. She is the Founder/Owner of The Fitzgerald Institute of Lifelong Learning.
Parent or teacher – I highly recommend that you read her book! Don’t wait until you are dealing with behavior problems. Learn how to prevent them by seeing every child through the lens of health and using their behavior to truly understand who they are and what they are trying to express. That way, you can be responsive to the needs behind a child’s behavior before the unmet need escalates to difficult behavior.
I love Ms. Fitzgerald’s 10 Principles. They lay the foundation for her way of BEING with children. They offer intentions worth embodying, especially for those of you working on managing children less and, instead, helping them develop mindful self-awareness and regulation by modeling and mirroring more. I also love how she looks at both the whole child and how she breaks down and organizes the many factors affecting the child – the physical, environmental, developmental, temperamental, parental, social, and educational. She’s like a detective. She finds out everything she can about all of the above factors. With those pieces, which often include what others have overlooked, she puts together the puzzle that explains the child’s behavior as well as a plan for how to meet the need being expressed and transform the problem. I resonate with this approach. My experience as a Family Constellation facilitator has shown me that everyone’s issues, behaviors, phobias, etc. come from somewhere. Recurring and inexplicable problems usually have roots in the bigger system of which they are a part and express something that needs to be seen for the health of the whole system.
Additionally, I love that her book is an actual handbook that is immediately helpful and enlightening. Using many real-life examples as well as charts and steps, she walks you through how to apply her expertise in a way that you can easily implement yourself. And, last one, I especially love that she spends the whole last chapter on the importance and value of sustaining your own well-being. In fact, all the filters through which she looks at understanding children, you can apply to yourself. In so doing, you can come into greater self-knowledge and be better equipped to balance your “vertical” intake/fueling and your “horizontal” output/giving.