Creative Child

Positive Parenting 101: Behavior as Teachable Moments

by Rebecca Eanes


To turn behavior issues into teachable moments, ask yourself two questions.


What is my child’s behavior telling me?

What does my child need right now?


It isn’t always immediately apparent what is driving your child’s behavior, so a good place to start to determine if your child’s basic needs are being met. Those needs include:

  • Safety and security
  • A warm, loving environment
  • Feeling loved and liked
  • Feeling attached or connected to primary caregivers
  • Structure
  • Consistency
  • Good nutrition
  • Adequate sleep
  • Exercise
  • Positive role models
  • Feeling valued, respected, and understood
  • Feeling capable
  • Freedom to express feelings
  • Emotional support

Finally, what is it that your child needs right now? What can you teach her or what need can you meet that will help her do better? We are here to teach and guide our children through childhood, and we become better able to do that when we ask the questions that get to the root of the problem rather than simply asking, “How long should I take away your electronics?” The key to good behavior isn’t fearing good punishments but feeling good about oneself, one’s relationships, and one’s place in the world.

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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