10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RAISING A DIFFERENTLY WIRED CHILD
4: ALL BEHAVIOR IS COMMUNICATION Transcript
If you’re raising a differently wired child, then I can say with almost absolute certainty that you have experienced or are experiencing some behavioral challenges with your child. In fact, there’s a good chance that behavioral challenges were the first clues that your child is moving through the world differently. And actually, that means that the behavior did its job. That behavior communicated to you that your child has needs that aren’t being met, or skills that haven’t been developed yet, or that the way they’re moving through the world requires more support than they’re currently getting or a different approach.
That’s because all behavior is communication. Absolutely everything. Every tantrum, every meltdown, every tear — it’s all providing us with information about what our child needs right now. Dr. Ross Greene, who wrote a wonderful book called The Explosive Child and is the founder of the nonprofit Lives in the Balance, beautifully states that: Kids do well when they can. And in saying that, he means that when a child is not doing well, it’s because they can’t. It’s not because they won’t. They don’t have the skills necessary to do differently yet.
And so we want to remember that every behavior, even the incredibly challenging, tricky, disruptive, difficult-to-navigate behavior, behavior that very likely brought you to explore Tilt Parenting in the first place, is there to let us know that there’s either an unsolved problem, or an unmet need, or a lagging skill. And that’s it.
This is such an important reframe to make, because the current parenting paradigm tends to value compliance and “good behavior” over everything else and encourages parents to address behavioral challenges by using consequences or rewards or punishments to get unwanted behavior to change. But those approaches don’t actually help our kids learn skills, or address the actual underlying problems that their behavior is communicating.
So when we can look at tricky behavior and think to ourselves, “Hmmm…I wonder what the unsolved problem is here?” Or “I wonder why my child’s nervous system is being triggered right now that’s leading them to respond in this way?” Or “I wonder what skills my child needs so that they can stay emotionally regulated right now?” then we can get curious about how we can support our child in developing their skills rather than making them feel bad for things that are beyond their control or are simply their bodies’ responses to navigating a world that isn’t set up to support their way of being.
The idea that all behavior is communication is truly a game changer. And so I encourage you to take to heart that phrase that Dr. Ross Greene popularized which, again, is Kids do well when they can. And remember that if your child is not doing well, if they are exhibiting behavior that is challenging or difficult, it’s because they don’t have the ability or skills to do it differently yet.
Want to go deeper?
The Differently Wired Club is not your typical membership community.
There’s something here for everyone, whether you’re a sit back and absorb learner, a hands-on, connect and engage learner, and everything in between. Join the Differently Wired Club and get unstuck, ditch the overwhelm, and find confidence, connection, and JOY in parenting your differently wired child.
Tilt Parenting, LLC is an educational resource, podcast, consultancy, and community with a focus on positively shifting the way neurodifferences in children are perceived, experienced, and supported, and supporting parents raising differently wired™ kids so these exceptional kids can thrive in their schools, in their families, and in their lives. It was founded by Debbie Reber in 2016.
© 2016 Deborah Reber