This episode is one of those powerful, deep conversations that will likely leave you seeing and thinking about your child differently. My guest is Dr. Mona Delahooke, a clinical and consulting pediatric psychologist specializing in supporting children and families. On the homepage for Mona’s website, the following words are written in large type: It’s high time we update our approaches to helping children with behavioral challenges and developmental differences. And this is exactly what Mona has devoted her work to doing — shifting the paradigm for the way behavior, especially in differently wired kids, is perceived and responded to in our schools, our families, and in society.

In this powerful conversation, Mona and I talk about what’s really behind “disruptive” behaviors, the fundamental problem behind behavioral diagnoses such as Opposition Defiance Disorder, the cost to our kids whose challenging behavior is misunderstand, and what Mona believes it will take for things to change. She also talks with us about her brand new game-changing book, Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children’s Behavioral Challenges.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have this conversation with Mona and for the work she is doing in the world on behalf of our kids. I hope you enjoy the episode.


About Mona: Mona Delahooke, PhD, is a mother and licensed clinical psychologist with more than 30 years of experience caring for children and their families. She is a senior faculty member of the Profectum Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting families of neurodiverse children, adolescents and adults. She is a trainer for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. She is the author of Social and Emotional Development in Early Intervention: A Skills Guide for Working with Children (PESI, 2017) and Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children’s Behavioral Challenges (PESI, 2019). Dr. Delahooke is a member of the American Psychological Association and holds the highest level of endorsement in the field of infant and toddler mental health in California, as a Reflective Practice Mentor (RPM). She is a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant to parents, organizations, schools, and public agencies. Dr. Delahooke has dedicated her career to promoting compassionate, relationship-based, neurodevelopmental interventions for children with developmental, behavioral, emotional, and learning differences.



  • Why and how society’s notions about challenging behavior are outdated
  • The problem with using rewards and consequences for kids with behavioral challenges
  • The protective, adaptive purpose that anger, tantrums, and meltdowns serve for children
  • Why Mona believes that ODD and other behavioral disorders shouldn’t be a thing
  • The difference between challenging behavioral that is purposeful versus a stress response (and why most falls into the latter category)
  • What the “expectation gap” is in relation to our children’s behavioral responses





Read through the whole episode!






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