When my son turned six, he seemed to increasingly be overwhelmed by expectations at home, his teachers at school and his friendship group.
Upset regularly, when other children didn’t seem to be, I wanted to simply guide through everyday rules and feelings of frustrations in a way he understood.
And like with many challenges in parenthood, you do wish there was a simple handbook to help you navigate through them effectively.
I reached out to my friend, who is also a psychologist recommended several books, one of which was Why do I have to? Written by Laurie Leventhal-Belfer, a practicing clinical psychologist and The Friends Program.
An easy to read book that looks at a set of situations that provide challenges for children at home, with their friends and at school.
Leventhal-Belfer explains clearly why their way does not work and provides a list of practical suggestion for how to cope with these challenges and make things work better.
From why a child has to go to a friend’s house when they’d rather stay home to why a child should listen to their friend even though they may find what they’re talking about boring – it’s a great book that can be ready together with your child.
Following a similar pattern for each scenario, she tells parents to acknowledge how a child is feeling, empathize with how he or she might be feeling, rather than dismissing the child’s frustrations or go directly to how he or she should behave.
Parents are encouraged to implement the story, keeping track of the time that a child experiences success, as well as, those times when roadblocks get in the way.
A handy behavioural chart is included at the end of the book, so that a child’s progress can be tracked.
It’s become a great way to engage my child at the end of the day and discuss events that have happened at home and at school.
And perhaps the biggest tribute of all to this book and how it’s helped him cope happened the other day when his friend was over and became upset when it was time to go home.
My son ran upstairs, went to his bedroom, grabbed ‘Why do I have to?’ from beside his bed and returned with it, telling his friend that he should read it with his mum, as it would help him understand why it was time to go.
Providing clear guidance on how strategies can be adapted to different settings and situations, I recommend it highly to children who have a difficulty coping with the expectations of daily living.
Why do I have to? is available from Amazon and fishpond.com.au.