Google+ Authentic Parenting: Dealing with Misbehavior: One Valuable Word

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dealing with Misbehavior: One Valuable Word

A toddler has a melt down at the store, a preschooler throws his toys, a tween bangs the door…What’s a parent to do to deal with all this misbehavior.  What if we were to forget all those counting methods, the isolation, the need to teach a lesson and  focus on this one word:


I love this word. It sits in my heart for many reasons. There are so many moments in parenting that we cannot change or control. I have long accepted that needing to control children is unnecessary. It is ultimately an undesirable if not impossible feat.  What really what matters in our daily interaction and most of all in the long run is for us to co-exist in peace and harmony while respecting one another as individuals.

Using acceptance as the first step to overcome whatever challenge we face as parents can go such a long way. If a child has a tantrum, throws something, bangs, breaks or otherwise does something that could be called a Misbehavior then we can:

Accept that children have limitations
Accept that children have needs
Accept that those needs may not be being met
Accept that children will at times be frustrated, angry, mad, sad...
Accept that children will at times be exuberant, loud, annoying...
Accept that children should and will challenge our reasons
Accept that children have their own thoughts and feeling
Accept that children need an outlet for their thoughts and feelings
Accept that many such behaviors are a developmentally appropriate

Now, this does not mean allowing mayhem or being permissive. On the contrary, this means that as parents it is our responsibility to provide a safe environment for our children with certain limits and guidelines. We should be aware of our children’s needs and be pro-active in meeting them. (I note there is a huge distinction between needs & wants) We can give them opportunities to explore their loudness and exuberance and help them learn to deal with their strong emotions.

No matter if a child is, loud, scaling the furniture, melting down at the store, frustrated, mad, banging doors, crying, pushing, shoving, biting, yelling, talking balk or acting out…ultimately what they really need more than being taught a lesson, more than being sent to time out, more than being lectured or losing a privilege is acceptance. From that moment on…when we accept THEM for who they are and what they are feeling and dealing with in the here and now, we can then move on to validate them and seek to understand. 

When we start with acceptance, no matter what the misbehavior, we can then choose a path to deal, heal, guide and re-connect.

Peace & Be Well,



  1. thank you!!!! thanks for sharing this!

  2. Thank you! Yes to acceptance. I've watched children be distracted or redirected from meltdowns without the feeling and emotion being acknowledge or accepted and that same feeling would come up again and again no matter what the child was doing or how they were redirected.

    Accepting and acknowledging the the emotion is happenning for the child can help a child work through and effectively engage in other activities.
    Sharing on FB!

  3. Jessica, thank you for your comment and for sharing!

  4. Thank you, absolutely valuable! Sharing. :)


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