As children grow, many things will affect their overall development, in particular a child’s environment, their parents responses and of course, their own innate characteristics. Hence why the Nature versus Nurture debate is so fascinating! There’s such a fine line between the things we learn via experience and how our natural responses to those experiences affect our overall behaviour.
This is the reason why identical twins, growing up in the same house can have very different personalities and in contrast, why two children not related in anyway, could grow up to be very similar simply due to experiencing similar environmental factors.
With this in mind, I feel that it’s really important to look at our expectations on a child when considering their behavioural traits. It’s very easy to become frustrated when a child doesn’t appear to be listening or continues to behave in a way that we feel is unacceptable…….however, the question in my mind is always “Why are they behaving that way?”.
After a little bit of investigation, there’s very often a pattern or trigger which sits at the very heart of any behaviour. If we also bear in mind that all behaviour is a form of communication, discovering the hidden message really is the key to moving forward positively. Most behavioural patterns will follow a cycle which starts with a trigger that creates an emotional response, in-turn creating a consequence. Depending on the consequence and consistency, a behaviour will either persist or lessen. For example;
Because there is so much to consider, it’s hardly surprising that parents often struggle to manage their children’s behaviours! Life is so busy, you are under a great deal of pressure, you may not be getting enough sleep yourself which then affects your own emotional responses and so on and so on. It’s in these times of disharmony when families reach out for extra help.
When I support parents on the topic of their children’s behaviour, I like to take a holistic approach for this very reason. I truly believe that understanding the root cause of the problem will lead you to figuring out how best to move forward.
Therefore, I will take into account a child’s birth order, age, their communication level, sleep pattern, diet, basically anything which may have an impact and then create a tailored advice plan. Depending on the behaviours being displayed, the plan will contain personalised strategies to encourage a child’s emotional development and their communication during times of conflict. I will include lots of practical tips on how parents can respond effectively and I will also explain the reasons behind a child’s behaviours. This it in itself seems to be the real catalyst to change within the home. Parents have reported how insightful my plans are and how helpful it is to be able to see things from their child’s perspective.
The most important message I like to share with parents is that you are not alone in these challenges and whilst the world of social media and television can often show a fairy tale image of parenthood, in reality it’s incredibly difficult. It’s for this very reason that I love my job so much!