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I just want it to stop!! Arguing & yelling at each other is awful! (part II of III)

'Our daughter screamed, "No, it's not time to leave!" so angry that she didn't get her way about when to leave the park. She often reacted like this when we didn't watch the movie she wanted or follow her decision about a game or what to do next; she'd get rigid, her face intense and yell at me. Then her Dad would come down and yell at her to not speak to me that way, that it was unacceptable! Her sister would cower in a corner and I'd try to mediate. What a mess our family dynamics were.

It was hard not to think of her as a bossy, rude little tyrant. Our whole family revolved around avoiding or suffering through her outbursts, then becoming equally reactive. We felt powerless in our struggle.' ~Reflection from a Mom I coached.

This is the second in a series on challenging behavior, a big, agonizing, unruly topic. We'll focus on why it happens and the surprising solutions for it to stop.

The important message I hope you'll hear today is that you aren't alone, it isn't your fault, it isn't their fault, and there are clear steps to relate better.

Most of us react instinctively when faced with our child's challenging behavior like hitting, resisting, yelling, not cooperating, or speaking rudely. So we need to unpack it and learn the clear steps for how to untangle from reacting AT each other and get to what matters underneath.

I work with lots and lots of parents whose kids do challenging behavior. They all want to know the same 2 things. First, they want to understand why their kid acts out this way. Then, they want to clearly know how to stop it.

Since I had my own strong willed child and have studied this for 15 years, I have developed the 5 Steps To Connect framework to stop challenging behavior.

Debunking challenging behavior myths

First, it’s important to note that my child's behavior is not always challenging. If this is also the case for your children, you can get curious about why challenging behavior happens sometimes and not others. When does it happen? What are the patterns? Do I play a part in the dynamic?

We cleared up the myth in part I/III, that it is not the child's fault and in fact, ‘fault-finding’ is not a helpful lens. Leading with challenging behavior is NOT because they are inherently manipulative, limit testing, willful, coercive nor unmotivated. Blaming them is not the answer. If they could get along more easily, they would; being challenging isn’t fun for them either.

We also debunked the myth that it is not the parent’s fault. It is NOT because we parents are not good enough, inconsistent, passive, or not firm enough. Blaming the parent just makes the whole hard situation worse. It adds judgement and shame on top of the pain of a hard situation. These are not helpful lenses to find solutions. We need support just as much as our kids when our nervous system feels threatened by challenging behavior.