Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Behavior is like an Iceberg...What's it REALLY saying to you?

Pop Quiz: 
You take a four year old to the zoo and he begins to have a complete meltdown.
Do you:
a. Take him to the bathroom and spank him?
b. Tell him that if he calms down you will let him play in the water park?
c. Distract him with food or looking at some more animals?
d. Yell at him and tell him how miserable he is and how he is ruining this trip for everyone and if he doesn't stop you're going to LEAVE!!!
e.  Breathe with him and acknowledge these difficult feelings and use them to guide you in your next appropriate step?  
When a child is having a meltdown or giving you fits about are you able to see it from their point of view and understand the message of the behavior or do you just want the misbehavior the STOP. 
One of the key components in helping children change their behavior is seeing it from their point of view.  What message is their behavior really sending and how can we use that to be of the most help? 
I saw an image similar to this one going around the internet several months ago.  I found it very helpful in reminding me that all behavior comes from an internal state.  Once we understand that, we can better guide children in the skills of self-regulation and managing their emotional mayhem.  I made a few "tweaks" to the original graphic to make it line up better with what we teach in Conscious Discipline.  I hope you find it helpful as you remember that if you only look at what you "see" and try to make it stop you're going to run into some problems and we ALL know how that went for the Titanic!!!