The ‘Mistaken Intention’ Behind your Child’s ‘Naughty’ Behaviour.

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I talk a lot about the Key ‘C’s of Connection, Capability, Counting, Courage and Confidence with my clients.

They are a key components in raising ‘iCan’ kids with the positive mindset to embrace life and have a go & to experience life in all its full glory.

Every behaviour has a purpose & our job as parents is to be a Detective looking for clues about what’s going on underneath that behaviour.

If you start to understand that your child’s behaviour is all about trying to get their needs met to feel Connected, Capable & that they Count and have some Control about some aspects of their lives then I think you’ll find life with kids much easier.

Let’s Reframe Not Shame.

Children are learning to navigate the world.

They are young & inexperienced.

They make mistakes.

Their misbehaviour is actually a symptom of drawing the wrong conclusions to trying to get their needs met for connection, feeling capable and counting.

A Discouraged Child

A child who is not feeling connected, capable or that they count develops strategies that try to compensate from missing out on feeling the ‘C’s. Sometimes these coping strategies aren’t the right ones.

These children feel discouraged.

So, they start to avoid doing things, they give up too easily, they mess about, they make excuses, they blame others and they may try to control situations as a means to get your attention – no matter how negative that attention may be.

Children who don’t feel connected – try to prove that they are important by attention-seeking & demanding your attention because they don’t feel that you give them your full attention regularly.

Children who don’t feel capable feel inadequate. So, they may start to try & control situations, other children, or you, to feel capable and competent for themselves. They may come over as bossy, demanding or challenging.

Children who don’t feel that they count or are significant, try to punish others for making them feel invisible or not important. They try and get back at others, or you, to make up for their hurt feelings.

Children who lack courage often feel inferior. They use avoidance or helplessness due to their feelings of low self-esteem & don’t even try.

Better Ways to Help Your Child.

We need to encourage our children to connect through cooperation.

We need to encourage our children to feel capable through feeling competent and self-reliant.

We need to encourage our children to feel that they count are significant & can make a difference, through contribution.

We need to encourage our children to be courageous by having the mindset of a Can Do Kid ‘iCan’ attitude to life so that they develop their resiliency.

Pop This Up on your Fridge

“The behaviour you see is NOT the problem.

It’s a misguided solution to a need not being met.

Help your kids find a BETTER way” ~ Sue Atkins

Look for ‘The Mistaken Intention’ behind your child’s ‘naughty’ behaviour & change YOUR behaviour & response.

Look for different & new ways to help your child.

Look for different & new ways to motivate them towards making a better choice.

Look for different & new ways to encourage them to towards more positive behaviour.

‘Talk & Teach’ them better ways to connect, feel capable and count.

Look at your own behaviour…..

Are you constantly on your mobile phone, rushing to work, frantically loading the dishwasher, feeding the family, walking the dog and looking after your mother – in – law?

Pause To Ponder – what you currently do….. if it’s not working …… make some small changes……

Notice your body language, tone of voice and intention.

Notice your confidence……..

Simple Tips

  1. Minimise the attention you give to their misbehaviour.
  2. Catch your child doing the right things & encourage and praise them.
  3. Notice the behaviours that you want to encourage and focus on celebrating them.
  4. Act BEFORE there’s a problem!
  5. Keep it simple & specific.
  6. Give children meaningful jobs within your family to get positive attention.




*References by :

B.L. Bettner and A. Lew (1989, 2005), Raising Kids Who Can, Newton Centre, MA: Connexions Press.

Dr. Rudoph Dreikers Children: The Challenge” (Plume)

Alfred Adler Individual Psychology Harper Collins

Dr. Ginsburg ‘A Parents Guide to Building Resilience in Children & Teens

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