Become a Detective!

Bad behavior is frustrating, challenging behavior is aggravating and negative behaviors are infuriating.  All of them can also be embarrassing

These are the feelings that you may feel as the recipient or witness of challenging behavior.  

But these are also the feelings that all sizes of beings have when they are engaging in bad behavior.  

Take a moment to really reflect on this: When your medium being is throwing a tantrum, might some of the feelings he is having be embarrassment and frustration at their own behavior? 

The truth of the matter:

Beings engage in negative behaviors when they don't know what else to do. (Tweet)

No beings desire to act out.  Even though it may not feel like it, they are doing the best they can in that moment with the skills and tools they have.  Bad behavior is a form of communication.  The being who is engaging in the bad behavior is giving you message that he/she does not have the language to express directly.  This is important to remember because it is a different perspective to view the negative behavior through.

So, when your small being starts to whine because they don't want to clean up or cry when it is time to leave the park or yell when you ask them to start their homework, you now understand that they are telling you something.  

Start to wonder: What are they trying to tell me with this awful behavior?  Maybe when your small being is whining about cleaning up it is because they want more time playing with you. Maybe when your small being is crying about leaving the park it is because they don't want to take a bath when they get home. Maybe when your small being yelling about homework it is because the work is super hard and they need help and are embarrassed to ask for it. 

Once you have solved the mystery and decoded the message hidden inside the bad behavior, a teaching opportunity appears.  Get creative and start planning ways to teach your small or medium being how to communicate the same message in positive behavior and language.  

To be clear: Understanding why behaviors happen is not an excuse for challenging behaviors.  Just because you may now understand why your small being is yelling, does not make it acceptable to yell.  Understanding gives you the tools to respond differently and help teach your small being to behavior differently given the feelings they are experiencing.  It is okay to have any and every feeling, it is not okay to express those feelings in negative or destructive ways.  More on that next week, for now let's keep the focus on your detective skills and uncovering why behaviors happen.

Ideas into Action:  

Think of the last 2 times your small or medium being whined/yelled/tantrumed/cried.  Take a guess: Why did they exhibit that behavior?  What was the message underneath that they could not express in words or appropriate actions?  


Leave your feedback, experiences and thoughts in the comment section below this post or email me directly at with your behavior insights!

With a little help we can all grow. Keep checking in weekly for more parenting insights at Behavior and Beyond. For personal insights that I only share with my email list join my confidential email list below.