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Parenting Guide Sheets
11. Introducing Behaviour

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Page 11A
Introducing this Page
The purpose of these pages is to consider why your child behaves like they do. This is NOT particularly the dynamics of bad behaviour, that will be on a later page. This pages suggests you already know a lot about behaviour and that goes far beyond ‘bad' behaviour.
Again the style of this page will be short paragraph or ‘bullet-point' style to separate out individual things for you to think about with plenty of white space around to make it easy to read. Each individual bit needs thinking about.
Want to know why your child is acting like they are – read on!  This page is a ‘road map’ to help you ‘read’ your child and where they are in life.
Page 11
1. Reading the Signs
a) Signs at different ages
b) Signs of the absence of peace
c) Signs of Childish Irresponsibility or of Wilful Rebellion
d) Where your child might be in development
Page 12
2. Key Reasons why your Child behaves as it does
3. What is Misbehaviour    
4. Recap
1. Reading the Signs
a) Signs at Different Ages
Consider your baby, or your child when it was a baby. As a mother you probably started feeding it at the intervals that the midwife, health visitor or hospital advised you, but you soon came to read the signs: when it was comfortable it slept and when it was hungry it cried. Your baby was a good communicator!
As your baby grows it hits the ‘terrific twos' (‘terrible twos' if you look on life negatively!) a time when it is walking, communicating through limited vocabulary and sensing that there are a whole lot of things out there that it is going to be able to do – but can't yet! Frustration!
Your child is at junior school and when they come home, they are what can only be described as cranky. As a new parent you wonder why this is. You look up the books and you realise that at the end of the day their blood-sugar level is low and they need food input. An hour after dinner you think they'll never go to bed!
Your child is at senior school. They took in a project they had been working on. When they arrive home, they are buoyant. It's clearly been a good day. When you enquire, yes, the project received much praise and they feel good.
Jump on a few years. You are the proud possessor of that tester of grace – the teenager! Things are happening in them. Their body has been changing and their mind has been changing. Like never before they are sensing that they are a person in their own right, not just your child. Conflict!
Your daughter has got married (we've jumped on even further) and she naively comments to you, “I don't know what it is. I keep feeling sick every morning.” You don't need much telling. You are about to become a grandparent!
              One thing any good parent becomes is a reader of the signs!
When your child is snuffly, they probably have a cold coming on. When I was young, the onset of a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms, with a fever, cough, and runny nose, told mother that measles had arrived. Although many of the infections of ‘back then' have been largely eradicated, the wise parent has a book on family health that gives the tell-tale signs of something where a visit to the doctor is required.
b) Signs of the absence of peace
Now suppose your nine year old suddenly comes out with verbal abuse including expletives. Now you may not realise it but there are actually TWO signs here.
The first is that you have not taught or guided your child as to what is acceptable behaviour or language. How will you have taught your child? By the way you behave and the language you use.
You may consider expletives acceptable but actually they are always a sign of aggression or violent expression, a sign of what is going on inside you. If you are a person at peace with yourself and in control of yourself you would never think of using such language because it goes against that peace in you.
If you have been bringing up your child in an atmosphere of peace and harmony, they too will not wish to express themselves like that, so the second sign here is that your child is angry, upset and not at peace with themselves.
c) Signs of Childish Irresponsibility or of Wilful Rebellion
Your child, still in a high-chair spills food over the side of the table and onto the floor. This is because they still haven't mastered the art of manual dexterity and are still sometimes clumsy. A child coming up to age two may still not be able to control its bladder and will still be wetting itself. A two year old cannot sit still in church services (say). None of these are wilful. Mistakes at this age are childish immaturity and should not be punished.
Now your child is four and doesn't like the food you put before it, so they pick it up and throw it on the floor. This is wilful behaviour that needs correction. Any correction before three needs to be very gentle because your child is venturing out on new ground and doesn't know what is expected, or what they are capable of.
We need to be alert to our child's capabilities other wise we may expect (?demand – hopefully not) things that are beyond them.

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