Recently, we received a call from a concerned parent wanting to know if we had classes for a 12 year old who continually fights with her 4 year old brother. Interesting concept that any 12 year old would take a class on how NOT to fight with a younger sibling. This attitude that the problem lies with the child and not the parenting approach is a common one.
Problems like these are easily solved when you start asking the right questions. Based on our parenting approach all misbehavior has a reason. The reason is a subconscious one for the child but is based on the idea that the child has a mistaken goal that the misbehavior allows him to achieve.
In plain language, all children have a need to belong and feel significant. Sometimes their attempts at finding that place in the family takes a wrong turn. It can be as simple as the child repeating a misbehavior that gets a lot of attention. That attention reinforces the behavior so that it continues to occur. Neither parent or child is aware that this is what is happening.
The child seeking attention smacks his sister, the parent wanting to make sure the child knows that’s unacceptable continues to yell, lecture and punish without ever finding an effective way to change the behavior. Once you understand the motivation behind the misbehavior, you can take positive steps to reducing and eliminating it altogether. When a parent responds differently, so does the child.
Here at Lifematters we support a non-punitive parenting style. All our classes are based on mutual respect and teach empathy, responsibility and self management. Find out more about this approach.