Creative Child

Respecting Your Child Through Challenging Behavior


Let’s look at one example of showing respect through challenging behavior. What if your three year old suddenly refuses to bathe? Each time that bath time rolls around, there are tears and tantrums. Letting her go unwashed isn’t healthy, but forcing her into the tub screaming isn’t respectful. Perhaps she’s afraid she’ll go down the drain. Maybe she got soap in her eyes and it stung so now she’s terrified. Who knows what goes on in the minds of little ones sometimes, but the key is to find a way to get her clean (what you want) while respecting her feelings (what she wants). I would suggest trying a few options, like offering a shower instead, or being wiped off while standing in, or even beside, the tub. Eventually, this will pass, but in the meantime, she will know that her feelings matter.

Will children always accept your limits because you are respectful and empathetic? Not necessarily. Being respectful in your interactions even when they are not is a great way to model mature and appropriate behavior. Remember, it may take a while before their brain catches up to yours in development, but in the meantime, they’re watching your example and imitating it. 


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