“The Hidden Agenda” or to put it simply the “unfulfilled needs” of our children.
4 possibilities to fulfill your children’s needs.
#1 – ATTENTION:
When behavior happens for attention; a child is trying to gain your time however they can. Maybe you have been really busy doing other things and there has not been enough one on one time to connect and be involved together. We can get caught up with our own schedule that the kid’s attention fuel tank starts to run on empty. If they are craving your attention, they are going to find any way possible to get it. Sometimes those are positive and not so positive ways. Only by stopping to spend some time together will the behavior halt or not even start in the first place. This time spent could be as simple as sitting down to read a book, taking them to the park or having them help you prepare a meal. How we fill that attention tank will vary from child to child. They all have different ways they prefer to spend their time with people. Figuring out how best to do that is just as important as the giving of your time to fill their tank.
#2 – POWER:
Power issues may arise when a child feels like their life is out of their hands. Maybe they are tired of always being told what to do. They want to feel some sense of control and power over their own lives. No amount of yelling at them is going to make this feeling go away. Instead, we have to speak to them in a way that makes them feel powerful. We want them to feel like they are a part of the decision-making process. That is key to diffusing the situation; choice. Choices that are acceptable will vary slightly from age to age. When dealing with young children up to the age of 5 it might be as simple as allowing them to choose their own clothes. You don’t have to allow the choice from the whole wardrobe but instead perhaps out of 3 outfits. As they get closer to the teen years it might be a choice in what is made for lunch or dinner a couple of times a week. Or perhaps the movie or game pick for the family fun night. Giving children the option to choose for themselves can help to alleviate the out of control feeling they may carry around with them every day when someone is always controlling their every move.
#3 – REVENGE –
Revenge happens when a child is feeling hurt. Maybe you or someone they know has wronged them. Whether it is you or someone else; we have to understand that they are hurting inside. They sometimes deal with that hurt by making others feel the same way. The best way to bring about healing is to first find out what happened and then find ways that help them begin to heal that hurt. It may be as simple as talking about it or sometimes it goes deeper and an apology is required. We have to learn to heal the hurt, to make amends if needs be and rebuild the trust so that we can get them feeling good about themselves again. When they feel good within themselves, their pattern of revenge will stop.
#4 – INADEQUACY
Inadequacy can play a part in a child’s reason for acting out. They may not feel up to the task and give the response; ‘I don’t know what to do.” It may be something they have done a hundred times before and yet in that moment it becomes a battleground. There are many reasons this may happen. Sometimes it is hunger or exhaustion at play. Did they forget how or is their mind preoccupied with worry over another situation? Yelling will not work as it is only going to send them deeper into what they are feeling. Giving them choices won’t work as they won’t be in the mindset to make a choice. The only thing you can do here is patient and guide them; by breaking the task down into smaller steps. Avoid criticizing and instead go to a place of encouragement in cheerleading mode. This will calm the situation and their minds, allowing you to lift them out of their low point.
Take on the role of problem solver ahead of time.
Part of parenting is being a problem solver. When you take the child’s emotions, as well as their needs and place them together they seem to equal misbehavior. The key to dealing with behavior is understanding the four reasons we talked about today. If we think about them before the situations arise, we will find ourselves in a calmer state of mind when having to deal with the behaviors. When we get really good at identifying their needs and responding in an appropriate way, the behavior gets better.
We have a hidden agendas chart available for download on our website. You can find it HERE . Go ahead, print it out and pin it where you can see it and refer to it easily as needed. It is our gift to you, that we hope will help facilitate your growth into a calmer parenting style.