In the last piece we saw how to set flexible yet solid boundaries and limits by which young children can abide. We also learned why using affirmations and encouragement with children is better than praises and rewards. And finally we saw that using natural and logical consequences with children helps them to be able to take responsibility for their actions. Again, it is important for us to remember that all the discipline strategies in this series are biblically supported, and are effective when used consistently and in conjunction with each other. In this piece we are going to discuss how to figure out the need behind unwanted behavior in order to help our children fulfill that need. We will also discuss regression in children and how to deal with it in a positive manner.
Fulfilling Needs—“Why is my child behaving this way?”
Many Christians, as we have seen throughout all of my series, believe that most of children’s unwanted behaviors are due to their sinful natures. They place so much emphasis on keeping children’s sinful nature in check that they forget, ignore, or deny the fact that God created children to develop the ways that they do, and that young children do not set out to sin. They are learning about their worlds. The more we understand child development and how God designed children, the easier it will be for us to guide and discipline (teach) our children.
From infancy, children have needs that must be met in order for children to thrive. Since young children have zero to limited vocabulary in the first few years of life, they cry and find other ways of trying to communicate their needs to us. As I’ve discussed in many of my series, an infant’s crying is not manipulative. Infants’ brains do not allow them to be able to manipulate us. A toddler will test limits, but will also try to communicate their needs by acting out as they still lack vocabulary and are just beginning to learn how to appropriately express themselves. [Read more...]