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Challenging behavior at home? Learn why & what to do (part I of III)

In our home, challenging behavior looked like the stubborn, defiant, scowling red face of our 6 year old daughter. It sounded like, "I won't!" in a screeching voice. I felt irritated, frustrated and angry. I had a hot face, fast breathing, tight jaw and shoulders. I'd think, "Really?! Again?!! Why does she have to do this now?!? I'm tired and this is not OK."

Are you feeling like this? Like your son or daughter is defiant...again...and nothing works. And you can't stand it anymore.
Facing challenging behavior is a big, agonizing, unruly topic. Working with moments of disagreement and outright defiance, especially when your child is strong willed, is crucial to peaceful family dynamics so this will be the first in a series of 3 posts to unpack it and offer effective solutions.

My name is Allison Livingston and I am a conflict resolution specialist, mediator, parent of 2 daughters and parent coach. I work with multitudes of parents whose kids are strong willed and do challenging behavior like hitting, not cooperating, yelling back, stonewalling, getting intensely angry, fighting with siblings, breaking and throwing things plus much more.

The parents who come to me all want to know the same 2 things. First, they want to understand why their kid is doing this challenging behavior. Then second, they want to clearly understand what they can do to stop it.

Since I had my own strong willed kids and have studied this for 15 years, I have information that will help. Even better, I have a proven system that works and created exercises, tools, scripts, practices and a community for parents to Thrive with Their Strong Willed Child. There's hope!

First, we need to understand what challenging behavior is and why it happens. That's what we'll focus on here as knowing the problem helps us develop a different lens so we can respond better.