If a person, young or old, is acting out, being demanding, or needy, we should ask ourselves what need is not being met. How can I connect with this person in a healthy and loving way? What resources may be good to connect a child with if I am not the best person to help directly?
Often when a child is misbehaving, the last thing we want to do is connect further and spend more time together yet it is often the key to moving through a difficulty. What is important is to connect in a meaningful and positive way. Joining a child for their favorite lunch or activity, spending 1:1 time allowing them to take the lead and share their thoughts, very often paves the way to some of the most satisfying relationships. In this way we also see the entirety of a child as well, so that when they do have challenges they know that we love and care for them still and it often gives us an additional layer of empathy and connection that can help us stay present and unfrazzled even in the difficult times.
Remembering that love and belonging is a basic human need can help us when we are struggling to know what to do next with a child or loved one that is struggling. What unmet need is connection seeking child trying to convey to you through their behaviors and what can you do to support and connect with them in a positive way?