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Challenging behaviour in kids

Mum and young daughter arguing at home

Challenging behaviour in kids

Many parents struggle with a child’s behaviour and then default to trying to find strategies and discipline methods to curb the behaviour.

We see this in shows such as Super nanny where a child is “naughty” then the child gets put on a “time-out” or “naughty step”.

Because these are popular, well known behaviour management strategies many parents will turn to such approaches in a desperate bid to get their child to behave. The thing is these approaches do not work (if you have to use a discipline method more than once, twice and so on… it’ a sure sign it’s not working) and they don’t work because they don’t get to the root of the problem.

When a child is displaying big behaviours there are ALWAYS big feelings going on underneath these behaviours and it’s the feelings we need to work on addressing.

Getting to the root cause

“Kids do well if they can do well” (Ross Greene, child psychologist and author of the Explosive Child) “and when they can’t, it’s because they are delayed in the development of crucial cognitive skills.”

No child deliberately misbehaves. They aren’t out to get you, pushing your buttons or any other thought you have when you find yourself triggered by their behaviour. It’s easy to think that in the moment though especially when stress levels are running high.

Mona Delahooke author of Beyond Behaviours and Brain-Body Parenting discusses how behavioural challenges are the “tip” of the iceberg, and the answers to helping children are often found below the surface of behaviours.

This requires the parent to shift from the position of a judge to instead getting curious and being more like a detective looking at the patterns, clues and signals that a child is giving that their body budget is in a deficit.

When we look at the root cause of a child’s behaviours it allows a parent to get curious about the child’s individual, unique needs which a parent may not have considered because these aspects are less obvious such as a child’s sensory profile or emotional needs.

Behaviour, no matter how challenging is not the problem, but a symptom; a clue of what is happening in a child’s physiological makeup.


If you are fixed on viewing your child’s behaviour (and viewing them negatively) this will impact how you respond to them and can create further disconnect in the parent/child relationship.

I’ve worked with parents just like you who initially came to me with a long list of their child’s problems and behaviours. During the course of our time together working through my 12 week ultimate parenting success course parents have started to understand their child’s feelings, found positive ways for navigating and holding space for their child’s feelings and have deepened their relationship with their child. 

Here’s a case study from a parent who has recently completed the 12 week ultimate parenting success course who was struggling with her 7 year old sons aggressive behaviour and who now has more peace, calm and connection in their family. You can read more about this parent’s journey by clicking here

Fiona has actually provided is the tools and faith to keep trying and listening, stepping back and seeing what the children are really needing from me. I will really miss our chats because I began to enjoy the act of sharing with another human being, it made me feel less alone and it made me feel like I was doing the right thing.