When you look at an iceberg, on the surface you are only seeing a fraction of what is really going on underneath. Underneath is a jagged, complicated mass of problems. Much like a Child’s behaviour. What you see on the surface, is not a true reflection of what is really going on underneath. As a parent, when a child misbehaves or lashes out, we need to look past the surface. 90% of what is going on is actually underneath the surface. Is our child getting everything they need?
It is normal for a child to misbehave. They are testing the water to see where they fit in and in a lot of ways what they can get away with. What is right and what is wrong. Who are they as a person. A lot of this develops over time and their experiences in childhood help to form this. One of the base fundamentals is the feeling of belonging. A child needs to feel they belong. This is one of their many emotional needs. If they don’t feel these needs are being met (even if they realistically are), they will misbehave, When a parent reacts with a form of punishment, it confirms this feeling to the child. It can become a vicious cycle of discouragement without the parent even realising. This is why it is important when a child misbehaves to look deeper. Instead of reacting with anger to their behaviour, we need to look past the behaviour and look at what is going on underneath the surface. We need to ask not just are their basic needs being met because in the parents eyes they may be meeting these needs, but does the child themselves feel that their basic needs are being met? Communication is key.
Misbehaving is a normal part of growing up and parenting, but how you react is even more important. When you deal with issues with a different approach than just yelling and punishment, behavioural change is likely to follow.
Next time your child misbehaves, look at the above image and ask yourself the questions …. Where is my child’s behaviour really coming from?
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