Creative Child

Three Creative Ways to Stop Misbehavior

by Rebecca Eanes


Another benefit is that this may help you articulate the issue more clearly as well. Writing helps you to prioritize your fears and concerns and to better express them. When you don’t have your child in front of you interrupting, arguing back, or rolling his eyes, you can better express why his behavior is a problem. Giving him time to read it, collect his thoughts, and write back allows him to express himself more clearly too. This cuts down on miscommunication and helps you solve the problem more efficiently.

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Encourage your child to write openly and honestly and reassure her that you’ll be fair and compassionate in your response. Remember, people shut down when they feel threatened and open up when they feel listened to and understood, so if you’re aiming for honest communication and long-term change, you have to remove the threat and soften your heart as well. This can be difficult when we are triggered and fearful! This brings me to creative solution number three.

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Creative Solution #3 Evaluate your feelings and responses surrounding the problem.

I know this is hard to believe, but sometimes we blow things way out of proportion! The longer we focus on or dwell on a problem, the bigger it grows and the more emotions get stirred up. I invite you to take a step back and ask how much of the problem lies with you. Parents are only human, and we come to this gig with our own issues, buttons, triggers, and traumas. These can cloud our judgments, and we may need to reign in our own thoughts and reactions before we can address the situation with a rational brain. It is possible that your child’s behavior isn’t the problem so much as that the behavior is bringing up something from your past.

Marcia Reynolds, PsyD, says to overcome your emotional triggers, you should:

  1. Accept responsibility for your actions. She says when you seek to understand how you feel in the moment, you give yourself a chance to feel differently.
  2. Learn to recognize when you’re having an emotional reaction by feelings in the body. The sooner you feel this happening, the quicker you can address it which keeps it from escalating.
  3. Determine what is triggering the emotions. She says to ask yourself what do you think you lost or what did you not get that you expected to? It is helpful to identify the needs that you hold most dear because you’re likely to have the strongest reaction when you perceive one of these is not being met.
  4. Choose what you want to feel and what you want to do. This is a mindfulness practice that helps you redirect your thoughts and emotions. Choose to ask for what you need directly. “I need help with keeping things in order here. When you don’t do your part, I feel overwhelmed.” 
  5. Shift your emotional state by breathing deeply, relaxing your body, and focusing your attention on a keyword that represents how you want to feel in the moment.
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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