Focusing on the Child, not the Behavior: Process of Elimination | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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There are many parenting-help books, discipline guides, and behavior modification manuals on the market. Many of these instructional books are written as such. They aim to instruct you on how to properly discipline your child, how to understand your child, and how to treat your child’s behavior. They mean well, but many books assume one thing: They assume you know your child.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-parenting books. In fact, some of these books are very insightful and offer genuine help. If anything, they offer a fresh point of view. I simply want to remind you that when it comes to parenting, nobody knows your child like you.

Don’t take this article as instruction, just some friendly advice on quelling a problem before it blossoms into a full-blown behavioral issue, or worse, a habit. A behavioral issue can stem from a variety of causes. A habit only takes 14 days to create. Finding the root of the issue is the key. Make room for variables such as your child’s age. Some behaviors are typical depending on the child’s stage of development. Other times, they can simply be acting out. A child’s brain processes information differently than adults. There is also sugary snacks or drinks to take into account. Sugary drinks and snacks are actually very big contributors to a child’s behavior.

By focusing on the child, and not the behavior, you are better able to sort through these variables. If the child acts in an undesirable way after two (or more) fruit packs, you pretty much know where the behavior is stemming from. Process of elimination is a very crucial aspect of deciphering whether your child’s unwanted behavior is external or internal. If your child goes to sleep on their own most nights except the nights you have a late dessert, you know that it is contributed to the dessert – not because there is some unknown internal factor disturbing your child.
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Many parents struggle trying to understand their child’s actions. Process of elimination is actually a very powerful tool when trying to understand why your child is doing what they are doing. There is always a motivator for all things. Finding the motivator behind your child’s actions will also give you a sense of balance and a sense of control. Reading up on typical behaviors for certain development cycles can also bring a sense of relief. No matter what action you take, remember – no one knows your child like you.

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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