Seeing The Purpose Of Behavior- What Do They Serve?


Ah behaviors. Every parent of every exceptional child has and will experience these things and be thrown for a loop with them. Sometimes it is as clear as day why the child is acting up in a rude or aggressive way. Other times it seems to come out of the blue. Of course, there is always a reason, only as parents we cannot see it. Things with Michael have been getting a little bit better. He is calmer and is trying to manage his big  emotions. Even with that, there were days when he would act up in a verbally aggressive way or escalate with anxiety really quickly, and at first glance I did not know why. Only after he apologized and had calmed down enough, did he tell me, “I miss you Mommy. I want to spend time with you. OR “Do you want to bake with me, OR “Why don’t you want to take me places like last year?” That is when I began to see that some of the behaviors were due to loneliness and not being able to occupy himself alone. When I began planning out mother/son fun activities things started getting better. I also started noticing that at other times, he seemed tired, was coming down with a virus, or was stressed about an upcoming activity. All of these things would cause some sort of  behavioral reaction and things to begin to escalate.

It took me a while to see the signs though. Sometimes as parents we are so busy that we do not connect the dots of our children’s behavior to them desiring attention. It’s the old “bad attention is better than no attention at all.” We know our kids are testing us, but don’t take it to the next step, investigating why. This is where it is important to start noting when and where kids are acting up. What is going on in their life to be causing stress, and what could be changed or altered to help them feel comfortable, calm and in control reasonably? Many times working with a behavioral technician or psychologist as well as a parent coach is a parent’s best option. But before they do any of this, be a detective for your child and spot signs that could be showing you why they are off. In Michael’s case, I know he really misses the one on one time with me and the changes that getting older has brought-more homework, responsibility. I am working hard with him to build a schedule where he has control, flexibility, yet needs to understand the responsibilities his parents have too. As well, he needs to learn to occupy himself, something we are also in the process of teaching him.

Exceptional Parents, what kinds of behaviors do your kids exhibit and how do you navigate them? Remember, the important thing is to look for little signs that things could be off and figure out why. Finding a good support team is mandatory as you learn to read your child, but there is no substitute in the end for trusting your instinct about your child and what could be wrong. Voice these concerns to professionals by all means, but also remember to chart your own observations and see what pattern is emerging so you can figure out how best to help your child through their difficult moments. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website,

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