Posted by: coachingparents | November 18, 2009

Decoding Behavior (Part 1)

by Danielle Koprowski

Many parents have questions about their child’s behavior. Usually it goes something like this, “How do I get my kid to stop ______ (hitting, whining, yelling, lying…)?” Most of my readers have already concluded that traditional “discipline” (meaning punishment) does not work. That it totally breaks connection with children and weakens our relationship.

So, what do we do? Decode the behavior, begin to look for the cause, the underlying reason for the behavior.

In beginning to decode behavior, it is very useful to shift our mindset about the behavior. Most people have the thought, “my child is being a problem”. The shift we can make here is “my child is having a problem”. It is also useful to add the word need into any question about behavior. Example- Why is my child lying? becomes Why does my child feel the need to lie?

When children’s needs are met and nothing is hurting them, they are delightful to be with. When they are not delightful to be with, they have some need that they are communicating to us through their behavior.

It is not always so important that we figure out exactly what is causing the behavior. What is important is that we come from the understanding that there is a valid reason and we do our best to uncover it. That we ask, What is this behavior telling me? What is it that my child needs?

Continued next week- What are children’s needs?

Danielle Koprowski
Free To Be Parenting Support
ACPI Certified Coach for Parents


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