What is the why of the behaviour?

Children’s challenging behaviours

Lovely story from a parent today which may help other parents. The school had called her about a project that had been due in. She confessed that usually she would have arrived home to her teenager ‘guns blazing’ to confront why the project has not been submitted. This usually would result in both parent and teen raising their voices and conflict would escalate. Instead, she decided to resolve through relationship.

What is behind a child’s challenging behaviour?

A child who is troubling or troubled is in fact not trying to make your life more difficult, rather they are trying to show you how difficult life is for them.  Therefore, she took instead a ‘softly softly’ approach rather than confronting head on.

Compassion is the No 1 response to difficult behaviour

Your relationship with your child is always more important than a bit of behaviour – like a project. By my parent being kind and caring, the response moved from being initially defensive to the child breaking down and explaining that they had not been picked by any of the class groups.This meant he had no one to do the project with and was left feeling utterly rejected.  The intention of the behaviour therefore was avoidance.

Punishment is counterproductive

The parents wonderful reaction meant that the child had somewhere to go with all their hurt and disappointment and the following day the matter had been resolved with the school and the child felt supported by the parent. I think everyone can relate with the harsh experience of not being selected by class mates and the impact it has on the teen. How wonderful it must have been to come home to a parent who listened and understood.

The parent’s tips

  • They stayed calm, even when the teen was initially defensive
  • They did not get into conflict
  • They ‘Named the feeling’ ‘Sounds like you are upset about this..?’
  • They left the room to take a few deep breaths to remain calm
  • They remembered that their child was always more important than any behaviour
  • This unconditionality resulted in the child ‘spilling the beans’ about why the project was avoided.

When we act differently, others act differently too!