Identifying strengths and recognize areas to grow into.
Your child has so much potential! They are imaginative, smart, and joyous. You are attentive, supportive, and loving.
We often expect children to meet our expectations as adults but fail to meet children’s psychological, emotional, and developmental needs. We are their teachers, models, and advocates. They blindly trust us to guide them. Yet, children are often referred to as aggressive, defiant, or inattentive. Remember, these are adult words being used to describe a child’s behavior. Their brains aren’t fully developed and, therefore, can’t do many of the things that adults can.
Oftentimes, children misbehaving actually means there is a lack of skill somewhere. If a child screams and yells until they are crying, they lack emotional regulation. If they steal or take other toys without asking, they lack boundaries. These are skills that are learned over time.
However, some children do have the skills. You’ve taken the time to stop and teach. What’s missing here is the child’s awareness of knowing when to use which skills. A child may act out in need of attention but can’t recognize that is what they need. Together, learn how to get more in tune with your child’s needs. Are they tired? Do they need affection? Are they hungry? Many basic needs become represented in “aggressive” or “defiant” ways.
Work together toward empowerment
Your child is growing and exploring this large world we live in. At times, this may feel overwhelming for them. They don’t have the language to tell you “I’m overwhelmed”. Instead, they may cry out in frustration, act out to show you they are uncomfortable, stop eating to control something in their life, etc.
Believe in your child the way they believe in you as a parent. They see the best in you. Instead of feeling annoyed when they don’t listen, see them as learning how to listen and have faith that they can assimilate. Teach them, empower them, assist in their growth through positive regard, warmth, and love.
Instead of saying “no” and stopping the behavior with little to no explanation, teach them a behavior that is more acceptable in that situation. For example, if they have stolen another child’s toy, you might be inclined to say “no, that’s not very nice.” However, that has only taught the child what is not nice. They are left to fill in the blank as to what is nice but, depending on their stage of development, they can’t do this. Instead, say something like “it’s not very nice to take other people’s toys, it is okay to ask them to trade you, though, do you want to try that?” Here you’ve just taught them a socially acceptable interaction while also believing that they can participate in these behaviors.
Your child’s behaviors can improve.
Therapy surrounding your child’s behavior will be a learning experience for both of you. Through active play, each of you will learn how to interact with one another. The therapist can help you identify age-appropriate skills for your child and help empower you as a parent.
We recommend that the work be done together. If we work with your child in a therapist/child system, your child may not mirror these behaviors in the parent/child system. They may feel different levels of activation with you than they do in the therapy office by themselves. Our job is to help make systemic changes that are applicable to your child’s dominant systems (e.g. home setting, school setting, etc.).
Common Behavioral or Conduct Topics
- aggressiveness (attitude or physical)
- emotional regulation
- talking back
- shutting down or avoidant behaviors
- power struggles
- structure/stability in schedule
- free play
- critical thinking
- bedtime habits
- morning routine
Call for a FREE 15-minute consultation to determine if The Better You Institute is a good fit for your situation. Let’s learn if we can work together to smooth your family issues.