Often, when it comes to parenting, more is caught than taught. Kids pick up on what their parents are doing much more than what they are saying.

This is especially true when it comes to bad behaviors. As parents or caregivers, we can quickly escalate situations by yelling, showing physical signs of anger, or using a critical, judgmental or harsh tone. In fact, neurological research shows there is a presence of mirror neurons in our brains that create representations of what we are seeing. If, for example, a parent comes into a room screaming and yelling, telling a child to stop a bad behavior, the child’s brain actually picks up on is the parent’s body language more than the words the parent is speaking.

With this in mind, when it comes to addressing a child’s bad behavior, it is always best to stay calm and exhibit a sense of love rather than fear or anger. And if you as a parent cannot immediately talk to your child about his or her behavior in a loving, composed tone, you may want to take a moment to calm yourself and get into a better frame of mind to better communicate your message.

If you find you are having a difficult time remaining calm when responding to your child’s behavior, don’t beat yourself up. This is a normal struggle and an issue that often requires outside help. One of the best ways for parents to learn new ways of responding, rather than reacting, to problematic behaviors is to talk with parents who have encountered similar situations. You will quickly find you are not alone.

If you are unable to find parents to connect with in your area, seek out a church, support group or other counselors. Or, for additional information or to speak with a licensed mental health counselor about your family’s situation, please contact us today.