Creative Child

Changing Your Child’s Environment for Better Behavior

by Rebecca Eanes


A “No” Environment

Children are driven to explore and learn. When they are constantly being told “no” in their attempts to do so, it’s natural that frustration builds. Of course, parents are often just trying to keep the child safe, and climbing or throwing balls in the house, for example, may not be safe. Yet, rather than seeing these behaviors as “bad,” we can see them as a normal part of development and do our best to set up a “yes” environment where the child can explore freely. Please don’t misunderstand; I’m not against telling a child “no” when “no” needs to be said. I’m just suggesting that by setting up an area in the home which is safe for young children to explore in, we cut down both on the frustration of the child and the parents. Read Setting up a “Yes” Environment by Positive Parenting Connection for more on this.

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Emotionally Tense Environments

If there is frequent discord between parents or between siblings, this stress and tension affects a child’s brain. The feelings of fear, sadness, helplessness, or frustration caused by conflicts may be the source of a child’s unwanted behaviors. For a better outcome, use and teach  peaceful conflict resolutions skills in the home. It isn’t necessary to avoid conflicts altogether as that’s nearly an impossible task for families. Rather, it’s the way conflicts are handled and solved that matter. Being hostile or aggressive leads to stress, obviously, while constructive arguing that leads to a resolution has better outcomes.

School Environment

School can be a stressful environment for children, both academically and socially. I recently wrote an article titled Back to School: How to Give Your Child Emotional Support at Home where I detailed some of the things parents can do to alleviate these emotional stresses. While we cannot be in control of what happens to our children at school (unless, of course, we homeschool them), we can make home a safe haven where their emotions can be felt and dealt with appropriately.

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Learning to look beyond behavior is the first step to real and positive change. If we simply punish the behavior, we miss the pain that is causing it, but by uncovering and healing the pain, we help our children feel and be their very best.

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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