Often parents ask my advice on changing challenging behaviours……which is tricky because depending on the age of your child, “behaviour” is often communication or lack of a particular skill. For example, a meltdown might be the inability to effectively communicate feelings such as; surprise, disappointment, frustration, anxiety, even excitement. So changing behaviour can’t be tackled without talking about feelings. The situation is further complicated by the fact that most children are stronger visual learners at a young age……they’d rather not talk, but experience and see what we are communicating to them. A strategy that has been helpful is the use of collaborative problem solving. This is a parenting strategy that requires patience, and PRACTICE. It is a 3 step process that involves validating your child’s feelings (even if you don’t get it!), allowing the child to calm down (helping to teach self/emotional regulation), then once calm discussing a strategy for compromise. These strategies are being used in school to help kids with challenging behaviours. Check out www.livesinthebalance.org for useful resources.