Tag Archives: unacceptable child behavior

Just Thoughts, Just Feelings

Just Thoughts, Just Feelings

Never take someone’s thoughts, feelings, or behavior personally.

Who hasn’t at one time or another had a thought like “I’ve been wronged.” Or “I’ve been mistreated”? Or “I’ve been hurt”? Or “I don’t deserve this”? Or “I’d like to punch him out”?

And who hasn’t at one time or another had the feeling of anger, pain, jealousy, envy, or fear?

Feelings seem to be always intimately connected with thoughts. Many feelings and their accompanying thoughts are quite pleasant. Many feelings and thoughts are quite unpleasant. But can it be said that any feelings, or any thoughts, are bad?

Children often say things we don’t want to hear, such as “I hate you!” or “I wish you were dead!” or “I wish I had a different mama!” These are verbalizations of thoughts, probably accompanied by feelings of anger, frustration, or even hatred. But can we rightly say these thoughts and feelings are bad? From a certain moral perspective I suppose it is natural to say, “Yes, these (and other) thoughts and feelings are indeed bad.”

But from a relationship perspective, it is not the thoughts or feelings themselves that are “bad,” but rather the expression of them in word or deed that can cause harm to others and damage to relationships. In other words “acting out” or “speaking out” ugly or nasty thoughts and feelings is where bad happens. Bad things can happen when Continue reading

Unacceptable Child Behavior: the UCB Survey

Unacceptable Child Behavior:
the UCB Survey 

Unacceptable child behaviors are obviously a major challenge for parents, and rightly so. Parents usually know what’s best for their children, and rightfully demand the best from them. How parents demand the child’s best is another issue, and is dealt with in other places on this website.

It may be helpful for you as a parent to take a “snapshot” at this point in time of how badly, or unacceptably, your child is behaving day-in and day-out. You can use this “Uncacceptable Child Behavior Survey” both now and at a later point in time to measure whether your efforts at improving your parenting techniques are having a positive, desirable effect on your child’s behavior.

I typically offer this survey to participants in my parenting classes as a pre- and post-test at the beginning and end of each course. I figure that if my courses are achieving positive results for parents, those results should be observable in the improved behaviors of their children. Hundreds of parents have completed this pre- and post-test, and the results are encouraging. After the customary 4-session course (which covers only 3 weeks), the average reduction in unacceptable child behaviors is 20%. If parents are getting better at using the relationship skills I teach, it follows that their children are also getting better at relating to their parents cooperatively and demonstrating less unacceptable behaviors. This definitely appears to be the case for almost all parents.

To take a snapshot of your child’s unacceptable behaviors at the present time (and then at a later time), print this form and then rate the SEVERITY of your child’s unacceptable behaviors using this scale: 3 = Serious; 2 = medium; 1 = mild; 0 = not a problem. Total your score at the bottom and enter the date. If you rate more than one child, use the form for once for each child and be sure to enter the child’s name as well as your own at the bottom.