My Misbehavior is Growth series documents the age-related times children become difficult but is then followed by a dramatic burst of new ability. The idea behind my series is that we understand this development to help guide children’s growth, develop a deeper relationship with them, and get through it ourselves with as much patience and grace as we can muster. The parent provides a loving, accepting presence during these difficult times–and understanding that the behavior is development leads to an acceptance like no other, knowing that they are likely to have erratic sleep patterns (just roll with it!), become clumsy, whiny, aggressive, might lie, or do a host of bizarre behaviors. But after this they GROW in some way. And so your role is not just comforter and caregiver but also educator, mentor, and nurturer. By understanding the cycles, we can unleash an enormous potential in our children. Yes part of the potential that grows in them is the potential for academic things like reading and math but it is also the potential to learn softer skills and all the things that make one human, like emotional maturity and conflict resolution. These difficult stages are not children who are manipulating adults or just seeking attention nor will we “reward bad behavior” by going to our children in love and acceptance when they are all out of sorts. Rather, these clingy and sometimes aggressive behaviors should be seen as like a Bat signal in the air that our children need us at developmentally critical times. Go to them with love and comfort. Help them untangle what they are trying to learn and yes offer lessons in high alignment with where they are at developmentally–what they are all but begging you to teach them. Have a mentor role with them, not an “alpha” role and tie education to your relationship with them for what is the best kind of education. Lessons are love, acceptance leads to problem solving: misbehavior is growth!

See the individual tabs under “Books” for more.

My first in the series is Misbehavior is Growth: An Observant Parent’s Guide to the Toddler Years.