Does Problem Behavior Really Exist?
If children have wisdom and common sense inside them, why don’t they often use it?
From the moment we’re born we start forgetting we have it. Things happen to us. We form thoughts about those events, situations, and circumstances. Our parents tell us things and we form thoughts about what they tell us.
We develop a way of thinking that helps us make sense out of the world.
Such thinking causes us to see ourselves in certain ways. Some thoughts can make us feel insecure. Some can make us afraid and live in fear. Some thoughts can make us judgmental of others. Some can make us feel bad. Some can make us angry. Some can make us feel that we have to behave in certain ways to maintain what we’ve learned to think about ourselves.
Many of these thoughts take us away from our natural state of well-being and self-esteem. Many thoughts get so loud in our heads that we can no longer hear our inner wisdom and common sense.
Innocently we have begun to think ourselves away from our health, and in some cases, into problem behaviors.
One of the secrets to whether we will raise children in healthy, productive, satisfying, joyful ways- and one of the secrets to our own happiness and peace of mind- is to understand that if we could somehow get those unproductive thoughts out of the way, or at least not take them seriously, the inner, natural state would automatically rise to the surface.
This means we don’t have to DO anything except get out of our own way.
All we have to do is ignore, let go of, dismiss, forget about or not take seriously the thoughts that are keeping those natural, inner feelings submerged and it will appear for us, because it never really went anywhere in the first place.
Children act out or display problem behavior only because the thinking they have taken on has made them lose touch wit their natural state of well-being and common sense. Their thinking has made it appear to them that they should act exactly as they are.
In other words, given what they believe and how the world looks to them at that moment they have no other choice but to feel and act in that way.
Bad Behavior Is Really Insecurity Finding a Way Out
Everything that we as parents call “bad behavior” really comes down to kids acting out of insecurity.
By acting out in troubling ways, kids really aren’t trying to hurt us. They’re acting out of insecurity. They don’t know any other way to be in that moment. In that moment, they act in a way that makes sense to them, and they may not even have a clue why they’re doing it.
Kids aren’t born with insecurity. It’s something they learn. Usually they learn it from us, or close relatives, and then from peers at school. Sometimes we as parents do and say things that contribute to it as well.
Most of their insecurities occur simply by what they learn as they grow. And there’s almost no way for a parent to avoid having their child develop some insecurities.
When a child is young and learning to walk around furniture, for example, we may rush to their side and stop them from hurting themselves. In that moment, the once fearless child sees the world in a different way. He starts to see that his environment isn’t as safe as he thought, and he develops certain insecurities from that experience.
The more we can help our children feel secure, despite the difficulties they get into, the better off they are.
When a child is acting out, it’s imperative for parents to be aware of how they are seeing their child at that moment. We could see our child as purposefully giving us a hard time, or we could see him/her as insecure and acting out of that insecurity.
If a toddler is having a crying fit, kicking his legs and accidentally kicks us in the process, would we hold that against him?
If a teenager is in a fit of rage and puts his fist through a wall, do we hold that against him?
It’s all insecurity.
If we see bad behavior as purposeful, we tend to want to control and punish. If we see the bad behavior as acting out of insecurity, we might ask ourselves how we can help take away their insecure thoughts.
How To Deal With Insecurity & Bad Behavior
So, how do we deal with it all as parents?
First, we want to take a look at ourselves and ensure that we are raising our kids in a way that passes on as few of our own insecurities as possible.
Then, when confronted with a bad behavior, it’s helpful for us to see it as insecurity instead of a personal attack. See that the child is lost and can’t see any better at the time.
Being able to see the behavior as insecurity will make us as parents naturally respond in a more helpful way. Seeing it as insecurity makes us somehow want to help relieve that insecurity and help our child see a better way.