In parenting work, one of the things that we may like to explore is the belief of the parent towards the child.
If the belief of the parent towards the child is ...
1. You are so rebellious.
2. You are so naughty.
3. You are so oppositional.
4. There’s something wrong with you.
5. You are so stubborn.
6. You are so uncontrollable.
Then, we may have to acknowledge and address those beliefs first through challenge, reframe or defusion, as those beliefs may trigger a fight or flight response in the parent, leading to the escalation trap or an accidental reward respectively.
Accidental reward is where a parent inadvertently or unconsciously rewards a behaviour that they wish a child to stop e.g. giving child lollies to stop a tantrum.
Escalation trap being a situation where the child won’t listen or follow an instruction. Parent escalates. Child escalates. Parent escalates. Child escalates and then it ends with an accidental reward or an “emotional explosion”.
These patterns may then continue to reoccur with significant impact on the relationship between the parent and the child. It will also reinforce the very same beliefs that triggered the escalation trap and accidental rewards in the first place.