Do you ever sit there thinking about problems? I do it all the time. Either in bed, or in the shower, or when working out … I usually run through challenges I’m having and I find that I often come up with new ideas or just new ways of thinking about a problem.
Today I was thinking about the issue of behavioral problems in toddlers and children. I came up with a new way of framing the problem as follows:
Behavioral issues are really only driven by two potential causes.
The first cause is a lack of training. We all learn the rules by either watching someone else screw up and get punished, or by doing it ourselves. This is true whether it be a traffic ticket (financial penalty), lost car keys (general “pain in the butt” penalty), eating unhealthy (“getting fat” penalty), or any other behavior that we choose, which has an obvious logical consequence. Kids learn the exact same way. Parents need to establish rules and let their kids learn to predict the outcome of following the rule vs breaking the rule. If you don’t do this (as a parent), you’re not going to solve behavioral problems in toddlers and children.
The second cause is a child’s emotional state. I talk a lot about this because it is SO critical. Let’s establish two useful labels for emotional states. They can either be “resourceful” states, or they can be “unresourceful” states. These come straight from my NLP and Ericksonian hypnosis training, by the way. A resourceful state is required to follow rules such as actually wanting to decide to clean up toys, or eat only in the kitchen, or get dressed for school. An unresourceful state is often the cause of a child NOT following a rule that he’d ordinarily follow. Temper tantrums are highly connected to unresourceful states.
A person’s emotional state can be controlled just like a car with a steering wheel. But you need to know how to turn the wheel, which is exactly what I teach in the Talking to Toddlers course.
I recently added an article talking a bit more about behavioral issues in toddlers and children. I hope you read it and enjoy some new perspectives.
You’ll find lots of other parenting articles and tips on this site too.
Enjoy your children,