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Parent the Whole Child, Not the Challenging Behavior

Challenging behavior in early childhood can be a beast.

Challenging behavior in early childhood can bring down the most patient parents and leave you at a loss.

“I spend all day screaming at him.”

“He never listens.”

“She only does what she wants.”

“Everything is a battle.”

“I do not enjoy being her mother.”

“Everything is a fight.”

When challenging behavior in early childhood is constant, the dynamics leave you feeling exhausted, resentful, and defeated.

Allow me to offer a new perspective.

A shift to allow you to breathe.

A means to re-establish the primary goal.

I know, I know. You think the goal is to have a better behaved child. Less stubborness, less sass, less this, less that.

This may feel like the goal but it actually isn’t. The real goal is to create a collaborative relationship. A relationship built on love, mutual respect and understanding.

Your tantruming kid isn’t just that.

Your defiant child isn’t that way every second of the day.

I like to ask my clients…

Have you tried every approach under the sun to get her to stop? Have any of them worked?

Probably not.

If your solutions have made you feel frustration, shame, guilt, anger, and despair. I can guarantee you child’s experience mirrors yours.

If all has failed it is time to try something new. A new approach which doesn’t come from a controlling perspective. A new way of seeing him.

I like to call this:

Child (insert your child’s name) Appreciation Day.

From the moment you wake up to the time your child goes to sleep, I want you to see the world through her eyes. This is an exercise in clarity.

Do these things throughout the day:
  • Share physical affection (tickles, hugs, rubs, kisses, etc)
  • Point out what is unique about her
  • Speak to his strengths
  • Go through a photo album and reminisce about her growth or past adventures
  • Do some of the things he loves with him (basketball, draw, legos,etc)
  • If you must discipline do it quickly and move on without lingering resentment *more to come on this topic

Depending on how strained your relationship is this may be a huge stretch but both of you are worth it. Taking a day to take in your child’s point of view will provide valuable information with which to move forward.

You will begin to see:
  • Do you set her up for frustration?
  • When do you deny him moments of independence?
  • How often do you ignore warning signs leading up to the challenging behavior?
  • Can you think of a new way to respond to the challenging behavior?
  • How to dialogue about part’s of the day that sabotage you both and begin to problem solve together.

Ultimately, this practice demonstrates you are both on the same team. It isn’t her vs you. This shift alone will begin to repair the relationship and help you parent from a more objective and loving place.

It may seem he is out control. It is entirely possible both of you are stuck in a vicious loop.

Let me help you create a new dynamic. Schedule a free Exploratory Call.

Much love,


Ask the Child Whisperer