This blog is also not intended to discredit any diagnosis of behavioural disorders. There is ample research that proves the existence of patterns of misbehaviours which can be ascribed to a disorder and many of my colleagues who are more qualified than I raise valid observations about such disorders. But this blog is about the common challenging behaviour; the one that all parents meet and most parents seem to struggle with. It is about the tantrum faced when children are tired, hungry or they simply do not wish to leave the playing field. It is the common hitting amongst siblings. You get my gist.

I have found it more effective to look at misbehaviour as the language of children. Actually, and I do well to rephrase here, I find that behaviour (not misbehaviour) is the language of children. I am sure many of the readers have encountered the statistic that only 7% of our communication is verbal. With young children this statistic may be even less due to the underdeveloped lingual abilities. At a tender age, children simply do not possess sufficient vocabulary to be able to articulate what they want to say in the complex structure that we use to communicate verbally. To be honest, I find that many adults face the same difficulty, especially when they have to talk about emotions. So, what do we do when words fail us. We enact something. We resort to a non-verbal form of communication which attempts to project at least a taste of what we may be feeling. Children do this all the time to convey their fatigue, disagreement, disapproval or wishes.

Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness. He offers parent coaching and social work sessions. He can be contacted on