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Welcome to the 3D Parent Podcast!

My goal is to provide you with tools that help inform, empower and boost your confidence as a parent so you can make the best decisions possible for you and your family.  Parenting is challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. I am here to guide you through the 3D Parent approach to parenting, so you can stop struggling and start celebrating all of the time you have with your children.

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Decoding Behaviors With The 3d Parent Lens

May 19, 2021

Most problematic behaviors are driven by an unmet need. So the question is not what to do, but rather, what’s the cause?”

In this episode of The 3D Parent Podcast, I’m focusing on one of the most common questions I get in my coaching practice. Many parents ask how they should respond to particular behaviors of their children. They ask, “What should I do when my child behaves like…” I can tell in their questioning that they are looking for a tool, trick, or fitting punishment/consequence to match and solve the behavior. However, what they should be asking instead is, “What is driving this behavior?” When parents can name the cause of the behavior, then they will realize they know how to respond.

Points we will discuss include:

  • Six essential needs our children have
  • What it looks like when these needs are met and unmet
  • How to determine and respond to our children’s needs 

Parents, remember that it’s not about “what to do when…” That’s the wrong question. Asking that question is causing you to lose your sense of intuition and direction. Instead, it’s about asking what unmet need is driving the behavior. I invite you to put on your 3D Parent lens and determine what unmet need is causing the behavior and then provide the answer by meeting the need.

 


 

Things You Will Learn

[00:04] In this episode of The 3D Parent Podcast, I’m focusing on one of the most common questions I get in my coaching practice. Many parents ask how they should respond to particular behaviors of their children. They ask, “What should I do when my child behaves like…” I can tell in their questioning that they are looking for a tool, trick, or fitting punishment/consequence to match and solve the behavior. However, what they should be asking instead is, What is driving this behavior?” When parents can name the cause of the behavior, then they will realize they know how to respond.

[03:54] I invite my clients to look at behaviors through what I call the “3D Parent lens,” which seeks to see past the behaviors and identify the root cause. Most problematic behaviors are driven by an unmet need. Meeting those needs is how we address the behavior. While determining root causes can be tricky and takes practice, the amazing thing is that you have already been doing this with your children since they were newborns (or whenever they came into your home). When babies cry, we as parents look for the cause, e.g. crying, pain, sleepiness, etc. And then we seek to meet those needs to address the crying. You have the ability to tap back into that intuition as a parent, even with older children.

[08:48] Remember that behavior is communication. We see certain behaviors when certain needs are unmet. So today, I will focus on the six essential needs we all have, what they are, what they look like when they are met and unmet, as well as what to do once we determine unmet needs in our children. The six needs are:

  • Physical: the needs for food, water, sleep, exercise, etc.
  • Emotional: the needs to express a full range of emotions and reflect back on emotions
  • Connection: the needs for affection, security, and attachment
  • Play: the needs to explore with freedom
  • Significance: the needs to know they matter and are accepted fully for who they are
  • Autonomy: the needs to feel a secure sense of self and freedom from influence of others

[15:40] What does it look like when these six needs are met? We don’t often think about this because the behaviors that come as a result of these needs being met are usually welcome. But it’s important to define what this looks like. When physical needs are met, children are calm, content, well-rested, and unbothered by agitation or restlessness. When children’s emotional needs are met, they are able to express a wide range of emotions, and their emotional maturity is unfolding. They feel safe to express all kinds of emotions. Remember that it is a sign of emotional health for children to express all emotions, not just happy ones. 

[19:22] When children’s need for connection is met, they don’t have a drive to always be with, in sight of, or physically close to their parents. They are receptive to offers of connection but not taking the lead in getting those needs met for themselves. They are driven to orient to their parents and take their directions. When children’s needs for play are met, they are curious, inspired, creative, and inventive. (Please keep in mind that I am talking about true play, open-ended activities that are not results-focused. This is not typically in front of a screen. I discuss play at length in episode 19, which you can listen to for more information). 

[24:20] When children’s need for significance is being met, they have confidence, pride, and originality. They are not conforming to fit in with peers’ or others’ expectations. And finally, when children’s needs for autonomy are met, they have the confidence to try new things, the ability to resist peer influence, and a healthy drive towards independence.

[28:25] But what does it look like when these needs are NOT being met? When physical needs are not being met, children will have a short temper, difficulty regulating emotions, trouble sitting still, and restlessness. When emotional needs are not being met, children will be aggressive, destructive, prone to explosions, and act out frustration, often on siblings. When the need for connection is not being met, children will whine, have a relentless pursuit of attention from parents and others, and resist direction. They will have difficulty playing independently, and sometimes these behaviors exhibit as night-waking and peer attachment. 

[32:45] When the need for play is not being met, children will feel bored, distracted, and uninspired. They will also show resistance to planned activities. When the need for significance is not being met, children will have negative self-talk and negative self-esteem. They will often perform to earn recognition and attention. And finally, when the need for autonomy is not being met, children will sometimes steal, lie, back-talk, and break rules. 

[35:34] So how do we respond once we identify the unmet need? Thankfully, this is the easy part. You provide yourself as the answer and meet the needs of your child. If your child has an unmet physical need, you simply meet it. If they are hungry, feed them. If they’re tired, maybe you put them to bed early. Remember that they are often unaware of their own physical needs and cannot tell you; you have to be attuned to them. If their emotional needs are not being met, you need to provide opportunities and a safe space for your children to express, feel, and move through stuck emotions. Don’t avoid emotions or punish emotional expression. When it comes to the need for connection, your aim is to trump their need. Provide more opportunities for them to connect with you. 

[40:32] If the need for play is not being met, provide time, space, and open-ended materials for your child to play. Prioritize it! Play is just as important as any other activity in your child’s life. If the need for significance is not being met, provide evidence that you understand, know, and accept your child. Give them permission to be who they truly are without judgment or disappointment. If their need for autonomy is not being met, provide opportunities for them to take safe risks and make mistakes. Support their appropriate need for independence. 

[48:44] Parents, remember that it’s not about “what to do when…” That’s the wrong question. Asking that question is causing you to lose your sense of intuition and direction. Instead, it’s about asking what unmet need is driving the behavior. I invite you to put on your 3D Parent lens and determine what unmet need is causing the behavior and then provide the answer by meeting the need. I know you are capable of meeting your children’s needs, and I believe that when you practice this approach, you will see a change in your children’s behaviors.

 

  


 

Episode Resources

Episode 19: The Power and Importance of Play

The Science of Emotion Course

Discipline without Distress Book

Empowering Communication Booklet

Quotes From Episode 75

Most problematic behaviors are driven by an unmet need. So the question is not what to do, but rather, what’s the cause?”

“Behavior is communication.” 

“Don’t avoid by steering around emotions and making things work OR punishing kids for emotional expression.”

 


 

Let's work together! I provide 1:1 support for parents motivated to make positive changing in their parenting and gain confidence and increase fulfillment in their role as parents. If this sounds like it might be what you've been looking for, book a free consultation today.

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About Your Host

I’m Beaven Walters, your host and guide on this crazy and fulfilling journey as a parent.

As a certified parent coach, parent educator and mom of 4 children, I am passionate about helping parents navigate the tough stuff while maintaining dignity, direction and deep connection in your family relationships.  I have spent over 10 years teaching in a variety of educational settings with multiple age groups, and now I am delighted to bring those experiences to you at home. Throughout this podcast, we will cover topics such as tantrums, sibling conflict, screen time overload and transitioning into the teenage years.

My goal is to provide you with tools that help inform, empower and boost your confidence as a parent so you can make the best decisions possible for you and your family.  Parenting is challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone.

I am here to guide you through the 3D Parent approach to parenting, so you can stop struggling and start celebrating all of the time you have with your children.