Posts tagged Challenging Behavior
Extinction Bursts

Unfortunately, when the behavior gets worse in response to something new we are trying. It is called an extinction burst. And you have to keep being consistent. Or you’ll just have a million of them.

Example: child used to screaming to get show on in car. You tell him he can ask nicely, but if he screams you aren’t turning it on. *screaming* you don’t do it. *screaming intensifies* FINE! Watch your show. Here he was testing that limit and succeeded. Stay strong. A few hard days and then it’ll be better.

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Set the Boundary, then Teach

If your "boundary talk" before a challenging activity isn't working, then not enough to just say, okay "when we go to the park you need to play nice."

- Try explaining what it looks like to play nice

- Ask what if questions to prompt their problem solving brain

- Practice it

- Go with them into the activity, model and guide

- Help them where they are at, even if the other kids their don't need the same kind of support.

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Sibling Rivalry

Unfortunately, the way we respond to sibling conflict…

…can create resentment with us or with their brother or sister

…can enable them to become tattle-tellers instead of problem solvers

…can create hype around possessions

…can affect our relationships with your kids

…can communicate "you're wrong" or "I don't trust you"

So I started from square one.

  • I listed all potential functions.

  • I listed tons of prevention strategies.

  • I thought carefully about the missing skills & how to teach them.

  • And then, lastly, I organized responses (including the amazing safe place)

And then, upon success in reframing the way I deal with sibling conflict... I created a course. It's something I strive to use EVERY day in parenting my children, but also in conflict with cousins or friends. Using the framework for behavior I love, and know, and research and rave about.

The courses (tantrums & siblings) are valued over $115, but I want to make it accessible to parents, so my price is $35.

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Teach in the GREEN ZONE

Usually, we have a challenging behavior happen... and that's the moment we use to have a stern talk, a lecture, an explanation or a push toward empathy. Nothing wrong with that, it's actually amazing we care enough to try and teach our children right from wrong.

BUT, if we rearrange the timing of our teaching, we may be able to get through these challenging behaviors with much more ease, less monologues... and with clear boundaries.

There are two reasons why this is NOT the most effective time to teach.

1. It can be reinforcing to give this much attention to challenging behavior

2. they are not in the emotional state to be receptive to any teaching

But mostly watch my video to understand, HOW (and when) to teach effectively, but still enforce your limits.

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Reframe Behavior

I presented this graphic at the beginning of the parenting challenge on my instagram


Do you notice anything change with your relationship, or with your child's behavior when you are more purposeful in your toys, play and time together?

Behavior is a fascinating topic to study.

We usually look at behavior to notice WHAT is happening.

Are they hitting? Talking back? Fighting with siblings? Tattle-telling? Whining? Refusing to play independently?

When really the WHAT is just the tip of the iceberg.

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"It's okay to cry"

Crying stimulates endorphins, our feel-good hormone. And also, bottled up emotions turn into tantrums.


A few tears here and there all day long... or a VOLCANIC eruption at the dinner table. Your choice.

A lot of times it's our go-to reaction to say,

don't cry, you don't need to cry, you're fine, stop crying...

instead, try, it's okay to cry. Let it all out. You can take a break and cry when you're ready you can come back and join us.

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Transitioning through Big Changes

New child - deployed parent - busy season for working parents.

Changes happen... and whoever is left with the kids is probably overwhelmed.

Without realizing it... sometimes we are paying more attention to the negative behaviors... and not focusing on the behaviors we want.

"Be nice to your sister" "Bring me a diaper please" *takes pictures of the baby* "Be soft!" "Quiet voice!" Pretty soon we pay so much attention to these behaviors, that this is what our child WANTS to do, for connection with us.

NONE of those phrases were mean. But none of them were focusing on him. They were all about sister. Absolutely, we want him to be helpful and kind, and quiet. BUT, we need to pad all of those directions with POSITIVE, WARM interactions. Look him in the eye, "you are a good helper, thank you" "Wow bud, look at the tower" "Charlie I love you" *take picture of baby, take picture of Charlie*

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