Although parenting is a tremendously rewarding experience, it can be a tremendously challenging experience. Parents have to deal with the complexities of their children's tough behavior, from tantrums to failing grades to social problems, and list goes on. Parents come into my practice with statements like "I don't know how to begin" or "We need help because we don't know why this keeps happening." My work is to provide support while helping parents discover their own resolutions to their child's tough, unwanted behavior.
Educating parents is crucial to helping them discover new ways to interact with their child. The most impactful statement I make to parents regarding their child's unwanted behavior is to know that all behavior happens for a reason. For example, there is always something happening underneath the surface of tantrums, hitting, or a failing grade in math. Knowing how behavior works is the key to getting an unwanted behavior to stop.
Reasons for a child's behavior are rooted in their internal and external worlds. In their internal world, they have to cope with their emotions and thoughts. In their external world, they have to navigate social, family, and parental relationships. Moreover, their external world impacts their basic necessities of life, for example, having a safe place to live, access to healthy foods, and protection from violence and abuse. These necessities are critical for optimal development. In addition, both their inner and external worlds need to be in harmony. When there is disruption of the harmony in their internal and external worlds, this is not possible. It is these moments of disharmony when unwanted behaviors begin to appear.
In part 2 on curiosity, I will show how curiosity towards your child can lead to combating internal and external dysregulation. I will teach some practical ways to develop curiosity. In part 3 on the five emotions, I will tie everything together to show how curiosity along with emotional labeling can dramatically reduce a child's dysregulated world. Stay tuned for part 2 on curiosity!