Ok so maybe my title was slightly misleading. It should probably read - Why the child behaviour strategies you've already tried don't work...
During my psychology degree, masters and working with other services I always felt frustrated (and more than once felt so hopeless I was brought to tears), because none of the scientifically proven methods of changing child behaviour were ever getting to the people who need it - i.e., you - the parents.
There were (and still are), always programs on the TV about helping parent's and children but yet nothing which was in the mainstream media was grounded in anything that research was showing to be quick, effective and long term.
Nothing ever addresses the underlying issues, the reasons why it's happened in the first place, and why it doesn't really work...
It's important for you to realise that child behaviour strategies do work. But they don't work overnight, and they will never work if they ignore one fundamental thing -
WHY your child is behaving like that in the first place!
Without understanding or addressing the why, you will never ever be able to fundamentally change the way your child behaves. Yes, it might work in the short term. You may be able to stop them biting you - but now they break their toys... You may even get them to stop fighting you for a while but then something sends them backwards again.
All this happens because you have never been told to get into the why. I am going to try and help you understand why this is crazy.
Ignoring the 'why' and trying to change the behaviour is the same as putting a cast on a leg you think is broken because your child is hopping, or giving your child an asthma inhaler because they start having breathing problems. Now both of these may seem like really odd things to do - surely you'd go to A&E and have an X-Ray first if you thought your child had broken their leg, or you'd make sure your child didn't have a chest infection...
But this is exactly what we do when we treat the 'symptoms' i.e., your child's difficult behaviours without understanding the cause.
Thankfully, there are only 3 different reasons why children act out (and to be honest 2 of them are slight variations of each other). But knowing, and understanding why your child is behaving the way they are is the only way you can effectively support them to change the way they're behaving - for the long term.
Children act out because they either can't communicate what they want effectively, or it's the only way they know how to get your attention. Now, getting your attention in this way can be broken down into two further sub-categories; because they learnt it works by doing it themselves, or because they have seen another sibling use the same method.
All three different reasons need a different approach. While the result will be the same, the way in which you apply the behaviour strategies will be different. Sometimes you need to take a completely different approach for different children in the same household!
I'm telling you this because I don't want you to think that you have done something wrong as a parent. Or that you've failed your children somehow.
Because that is absolutely not true!
If you want to find out what the reason is behind your child's behaviour difficulties why not download our free mini guide which includes a checklist to identify your child's 'core behaviour reason' plus the steps you need to take to improve your child's behaviour.
Katie Woodland - A developmental, and holistic psychologist who specialises in educating and empowering individuals, business leaders & school teachers to remove mental health as a barrier to success.
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