chapter  2
6 Pages

What My Personal Experience Has Taught Me

I also learned that all behaviors make sense to the child. Although I could not understand why Manuela did the things she did, her behavior made perfect sense to her.

Many parents do not understand why their child is belligerent, obstinate, noncooperative, and so forth. I ask them why they think their child will not study, disobeys them, and engages in sabotaging behavior. I tell them that all reactions make sense. I point out, usually with the help of the child, that a refusal to study might be because the child does not understand the assignment, or perhaps the assignment appears too long and overwhelming. The obstinate child sometimes freezes because he does not want to make a mistake or look stupid. Sabotaging behavior is "getting even" behavior. The child, who feels unfairly treated because of loss of privileges or ridiculing, finds a way to release these pent-up frustrations. As I discuss cause-effect behavior and use examples from their child's actions that make sense to them, adults begin to understand that their child does have specific motives for acting out. Parents may have trouble following the logic of their children or accepting that their own best intentions create problems for them. However, some acknowledgment of that process, with all its potential for conflict, frequently paves the way for parents and children to develop a more constructive relationship.