I was with a friend a couple of weeks ago, discussing a behavior her son was expressing that seemed out of the ordinary for him. She had run out of ideas as to how to handle the situation because she wasn't sure why it was happening. After much talking, she got a phone call that her son was misbehaving again. As I was listening to her talk some more after the disheartening phone call she received, I thought about some of the things I had learned from a friend and former co-worker regarding children's behavior. One thing stuck out in my mind that she said a lot...
There are one of two things a child has on their mind when they are misbehaving...
1. They are trying to escape something.
2. They are trying to attain something.
Behavior is complex, but a simple perspective can be a powerful one. Just the other day my five year old was "out of sorts," and I knew he was just hungry. His ultimate goal was to attain food. I kept telling myself this to prevent from getting too frustrated with the drama he was creating so it wouldn't escalate, and deal with the way he was choosing to express his need. It's not easy, that's why Confucius said, "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."
If you're wondering about my friend's son, he was trying to escape something. Once my friend realized this, it opened the pathway she needed to take in figuring out how to approach the behavior he was exhibiting. She was even able to show her son that she and his teacher were a team, and would be working together to help him make better choices.
Do you have a favorite piece of advice that helps to keep things in perspective when it comes to children's behavior?
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