When trying to unlock a child’s thought and emotional turmoil it becomes important to pay attention to what the child is trying to communicate through his or her behaviour. Objectively dissecting this behaviour will expose clues to the neurological processes that initiated it. Where, when and why are all important in understanding the motivation and skill deficit behind the behaviour. What happened just before, during and after the unwanted behaviour is information critical for successful behaviour change. Listening skills that have been expanded to include body language provide a wealth of information often overlooked. Unless you can accurately name the emotion behind the behaviour you will not make much progress. You can try and order the child to stop doing the inappropriate behaviour, but chances are it won’t work and it won’t be permanent. To help the child you need to find out the root cause of the behaviour – the neurological processes of thought and emotion. Since children are often unable to hear what you are saying when they are in an irrational state, permanent change will only occur when the child is calm and receptive.
Recognize that the disruptive behaviour is your first clue to understanding what is happening in the brain of a behaviourally challenged child. It is also the first clue towards helping them take responsibility for the behaviour. Any child who is drawing attention to themselves is doing so for a reason. They are not just “attention seeking” and therefore need to be punished. Attention seeking behaviour is motivated by something – skill, thought and emotional neurological processes that are not working properly for that child in that environment.
Behaviour is a rich source of information that is often dismissed as only being intended to drive you crazy. The child is trying to tell you something through their behaviour and you need to pay attention. Listening to it, while you remain calm and objective because it is important to be able to dissect the behaviour with the child when you are both in a calm and rational state. Only then can you help the child figure out and plan their path to health and happiness.
The disruptive behaviour is often the first communication method used by the child to indicate something is wrong. It is the first clue to understanding what is happening in the brain of a behaviourally challenged child and it is important to listen to what the child is trying to tell you.