What Causes Misbehavior?
One of the questions I have asked myself as a mom, the question I am often asked as a therapist and the one that continually presents itself in my role as consultant to early childhood programming is, "What is causing this child to behave this way?" Generally, this question is in relation to misbehavior. Interesting how that happens, isn't it? Seldom do we stop and ponder what is making children behave...even though we know that whatever we pay attention to, we get more of!
You're Child Isn't Doing It On Purpose
As a mom, I am cognizant that my own kids' misbehavior isn't their way of trying to make myself miserable. As a therapist and consultant I know there exists tons of research that supports this notion, and gives us plenty of proactive and positive ways to respond and change things. I spend hours every week, supporting early childhood teachers in Reflective Guidance, helping them understand this and search for creative and positive ways to intervene and change things.
The Three Things that Contribute to Misbehavior
So, here are the three places to look when a child is misbehaving. It's where we should all start when dealing with a child's misbehavior. We may get a clue about what is at the root of the problem, which can help inform us as to how to best proceed.
When I'm consulting or providing therapy (or even dealing with my own kiddos at home), I always start with these three things in mind.
Relationship - Sometimes, the relationship between you and the child is in need of strengthening.
Developmental - Sometimes there is a skill deficit, pure and simple.
Self-Regulation - Sometimes kids need support in learning new tools to handle BIG feelings.
After we identify which issue seems to be at play, we can proceed with coming up with a way to resolve the concern. Easy peasy, right?
More to Keep in Mind
Check out this awesome infographic from Teach through Love, which I found on Pinterest. Score! It lays out this concept beautifully, alongside of some tips that can get you started on how to respond. Amazing things happen when you build relationships, rather than try to control.
More on Relationship Building
Looking to build deeper, long-lasting connections with your kids (whether they be your own, children in your childcare or classroom)? Try BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Angry, Anxious and Over-the-Top Kids, the book I co-authored with Dr. Lynne Kenney.
This book can revolutionize the way you run your household, parent your kids and the very way you relate to everyone around you.