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The Nurtured Heart Approach
Dealing With Resistance

by Tina Feigal, M.S., Ed.
Founder, The Minnesota Center for the Difficult Child
(See her bio below)


This is the fifth in Tina Feigal's series of articles about the Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA) created by Howard Glasser.


In this, Tina Feigal's final NHA article, she presents some of the more typical questions asked by those who are new to the Nurtured Heart Approach. We have included a few testimonials she has received.

 Question: 
What if the child balks at my positive comments?
Many children have trouble receiving a positive comment because they are just not used to heartfelt appreciation coming their way. Most of the feedback they have received from adults has been corrective:
Feedback: Does it download as ' FAILURE '  in the head and heart ?

These comments potentially download as failures into the childís heart. They all communicate that the child cannot do the right thing.

If this sounds like the language the child has been hearing, it is important to note its familiarity to his ears and heart. If you suddenly change to saying,

 "Max, I just love the way you said Ďthank youí to Juliaís mom so politely today!" 

you will notice that the child picks up on the difference right away. It isnít necessarily always pleasant for him to hear positives, as they are so different from the language to which he is accustomed. But it is very important to continue past this phase with your appreciation of the childís actions in order to be successful in downloading successes into his heart. Just take the stand that says,

 "I know this is different from what you are used to, but itís our new way of talking now, and I know you will get used to it." 

Communicate that wild horses wonít stop you from pointing out the good things. Children eventually come to accept that this is the new culture in the family, childcare, or classroom.

 Question: 
What if she refuses to go to "Time-out"?
An intense child frequently refuses to take "Time-out's". Be ready for this by deciding ahead of time that she will take her "Time-out". The clearer you are about the consequence actually occurring, the more secure the child feels. And deciding that you will definitely stop the flow of energy after an infraction will strengthen your efforts significantly. Remember to avoid warnings, reiterations of the rule, and negotiations. These are all energy given to behavior you donít want. Use an unemotional, "Oops, broke a rule, 'Time-out' (or Ďtake a breakí)." Remind the child that the "Time-out" doesnít start until she is quiet in the chair, and that it therefore canít end. She is in charge of the beginning and end of the "Time-out's". Have "Time-out" spots in every room, and be sure it takes place in your presence. "Time-out" is not banishment to the other room (a gesture of rejection that downloads as a failure) nor is it punishment. It is simply a lack of energy flow. Turn on the energy as soon as the "Time-out" has been served well:

 "You did a great job of being in "Time-out". I am proud of how you handled that!" 

If you are consistent in the "Time-out" expectation, the child will adjust to the new routine. Give it some time.

 TIP: 
Expect that there will be a "window" of time between when you have said "Time-out" and the time the child actually takes it. Heartfelt appreciation expressed during the window, i.e.:

 "You controlled your strong feelings well" 

often goes a long way toward lifting the child up. Communicate that you are not locked in a power struggle, still see the good in the child, and you still expect the "Time-out" (consequence) to occur. Use predictive language to encourage the behavior you desire:

 "As soon as you are done with your "Time-out", will you finish helping me with these cookies?" 

 Question: 
What if there is an all-out tantrum associated with "Time-out's"?
Give the tantrum no energy, verbal or physical. Accompany the child to the "Time-out" chair, which communicates that you have decided that the "Time-out" is going to take place. Take the small childís hand gently, and walk him to the chair. Use a "safe-hold" in the chair if he is swinging or kicking and you are in danger of being hit. The safe-hold: Cross the childís arms in front of him and grasp each wrist from behind. Crouch below the chair below head-butting level. Maintain the hold until the storm passes. Give the child none of your energy, but still create "Time-in" for the other children present:

 "Sara, I love how you and Amy are cooperating with the blocks! You are taking turns so nicely!" 

This not to taunt the child in "Time-out", but to remind him that he would rather be in "Time-in".

With older children who are on the point system, points are frozen until the "Time-out" is served. No privileges such as friend time, TV, phone time, video games, or computer are allowed until the "Time-out" is served.

As the child becomes accustomed to the routine, she will accept her consequences more readily. Many children evolve to the point that they put themselves in "Time-out" when necessary! Keep the faith, and use the consequences whenever she steps even an inch over the infraction line. Remember that confusion is very hard on an intense child, and that clarity creates security.

We have included a few testimonials Tina has received. You will also find much more information about NHA at difficultchild.com, Howard Glasser's website.

'Transforming the Difficult Child'


Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach
 by Howard Glasser.

Click to see our review.

Tina Feigal's background
Tina Feigal is a former school psychologist who now trains and coaches parents and professionals in applying the principles of The Nurtured Heart Approach. The approach is a set of highly effective techniques used to help intense children, ages 3-18, to gain control of their behavior and to see themselves as successful. Tina was trained and authorized by Howard Glasser to share ideas with adults on ways to bring out the best in intense children. Tina holds workshops for groups, and phone coaching sessions for couples and individuals, who want to hone their skills in applying the approach. Tina is also a parent, whose second of three sons went through a period of opposition and defiance related to a serious illness. He is now a graduate student in counseling psychology and living a full, productive and successful life.

E-mail Tina Feigal at tfeigal@aol.com    Tina Feigal's website is at www.nurturedheart.com


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