Disruptive Behavior? Hidden Clues That Help You Stop It

If your child is acting out, they're also telling you something.

When their behavior is out of control and you don’t know what to do…

Some of their behaviors get your attention in a big way. But so often, just trying to change behavior doesn’t work. If your child bothers others, acts out in public, or disrupts their class, they’re also giving you clues about what they need to stop behaving that way.

In this episode, Carol and Anne help you you can get to the real root of the issue and restore calm again.

This week’s Parenting Practice

Consider a concerning behavior you want to influence. Assume it’s a clue. Pray that you’ll pick up on the messages your children are giving to discover the deeper issue. Pray that you’ll be led to the resources to help resolve the issue. Listen to this episode for insight and support.

Transcript of podcast episode

Carol: That is such a gem of information for you as a parent. Your children are telling you what the deeper is, with those statements. Wow. I would be so grateful that my child felt safe enough to say that.

Welcome to The Child Whisperer Podcast. I’m your host, Carol Tuttle, author of the best-selling parenting book, The Child Whisperer. I’m with my co-host, Anne Tuttle Brown.

Anne: This question comes from a Type 1 mom. My Type 1, 13-year-old son is failing math and being highly disruptive in class. He’s very chatty. Most of the time, his questions are off topic and he’s getting the whole class off track. He chats uncontrollably with his friends and openly admits to the class that he is bored. We were told that he is a class-clown and very immature. As a result, we decided to have a parent-teacher conference with all of his teacher.

I tried telling the teachers that the things my son does is who he is. They dismissed my idea and said, “We all need to get a handle on his chattiness and help him stay on topic because he disrupts everyone else from learning.” My child now has a negative attitude toward his teachers in school and he’s shutting down at home now, too. He’s just not as fun-loving as he normally is. I told him just to be quiet, take notes, and I’ll teach him what he doesn’t understand when he comes home. I still don’t feel like this is a good approach. I just want him to be happy. Please help.

Carol: So, I love this question because this is an opportunity to kind of look deeper as to what’s happening rather than the surface issue presenting itself, which is really a big, big benefit in being a Child Whispering parent to go, “What’s really going on here may not be the issue that’s presenting meaning, the issue that’s presenting is, my child’s misbehaving in school.” Now, to go to the parent-teacher conference and just say, “That’s the way my child is.” It sounds, you know, talking out of turn, being disruptive, that’s where the Type 1 tendencies are now moving into a dysfunctional process. Children of any Type are—at that age by 13 capable of learning how to be cooperative in classroom settings, how to be obedient to authority figures, how to do their homework. You don’t want to stifle them. Let’s say if you had a Type 4 teacher that’s just really supportive of single-focused, quiet, linear study experience. And that’s an issue, there’s an imbalance then. I’m not picking up on that with this that. What we’re hearing about is there’s disruptive actions and behaviors playing out here, where the Type 1 tendencies are going into a problem.

Anne: Overdrive.

Carol: Yeah. He’s acting out. There’s some acting out. There’s not a healthy management because you’re meant to understand your nature. So, my first question to this mom is, does your child know they’re a Type 1? Do they know this about that themselves? Do they know that they have a certain quality of nature? Do they know they need to be social but there’s a place in time to do that? Do they understand that they have a more random approach to their learning process? How can they build that into their own learning? We’re talking about a 13-year-old here again. They’re old enough to be aware of their tendencies, to start to make choices that support their well-being. So, does that happen? My second question for this parent is, is the father educated on this? Does this parent have a working knowledge of The Child Whisperer? If not, good chance the other parent maybe in agreement with the teachers to just say, “You’ve got to learn to just do what you’re told. You need to be obedient, you’re acting out.” Rather than, from a proactive position saying, “You have these tendencies, they’re a gift, they’re a blessing. We’re seeing an imbalance though. So, we got to bring it back to balance. So, what can we do about that?

Inviting the child to be part of the problem-solving process because they have a working knowledge of who they are. So, if the other parent doesn’t have a working knowledge, they’re not going to approach it with that understanding. They’re going to be more the disciplinarian. My sense is, this child is having issues with people in authority. They don’t like it, and anybody that has authority over them is stifling them. When a Type 1 child feel stifled, they’ll either shut down or act out. And so, the issue here is, issue with authority and structure, that they’re not feeling they have an ability to be themselves with. So, that would suggest to me that if the other parent’s not in alignment with a Child Whispering approach to parenting, they’re feeling stifled by the father in there, you know, this is just now being replicated in school.

The issues at home are now being replicated at school. And the Type 1 Mom, true to her nature, just says, “I just want everyone to be happy.” But you’re not dealing with the issue openly and honestly. You’re not joining the conversation exactly where it’s at and being honest and saying what you know: “There’s a problem. My child is having a problem with structure and authority. I agree with you. This is his nature and I’d like to have a partnership and working this out and that we’re working together on this.” But I first approach the parent, the father, and make sure they’re engaged in that effort, because there’s something deeper going on here? But this is…

Anne: How do you know? What are your clues to that? Just to teach someone else how to look for that? In The Child Whisperer book you teach classroom behavior for every Type of child, and the Type 1 can either go either way, like you’ve explained. They can, you say here, “they are beloved by teachers and classmates, they offer lots of good ideas, cheer on their peers, they’re happy, confident, always willing to participate. On the other hand, classrooms that demand too much structure or isolated, quiet time will bore them and they will get distracted and have trouble completing their work. In this case, the Type 1 might be labeled as loud, disruptive or bad.” So, he’s fallen into this category. So, is it the classroom?

Carol: Right. By the way it was described though, that there’s a lot of disruption going on, where is the stress coming from? Is it in the classroom environment because it’s so heavily structured? I’m just using my intuitive gift right now saying…

Anne: I think the fact too, it sounds like, 13-years-old, he’s in middle school and they have lots of teachers and so, there’s an opportunity for different settings and different teachers.

Carol: Yeah. They’re not all going to operate the same.

Anne: Right. So, I think that’s the clue, yeah.

Carol: So, this is happening across the board like, this child is not being, you know, there’s an acting out.

Anne: And it has never happened before now?

Carol: Yeah, so…

Anne: That may be an indication that something is present.

Carol: By age 13, you’re at a place where you either feel supported by parents or not at all. And you will see acting out start…children engaging in acting out behavioral tendencies by this age, if they do not feel that their parents understand them and love them for who they are. So, this suggests to me that, even if you know your child is a Type 1, are you being…listen to the mistakes Type 1 Moms make. And so, yeah, where are you off as a mom. And then, big question about where’s the father status on this one? Because if a young man at age 13 doesn’t feel understood, supported and aligned with their father, they’re gonna start having issues with other authority figures.

Anne: It could look like a boss and a job down the road.

Carol: Oh yeah, this could get… this becomes a life pattern.

Anne: So, what’s the Parenting Practice to help correct this?

Carol: Look beyond the obvious to what’s the deeper issue. Because right now this question is, “How do we solve this issue, which is how can I get my child to stop being disruptive in school?” She thought the answer was, “Well, maybe they’ll just really sign on to this whole Type 1 thing. This is just who my child is.”

I mean, we’re going to go with that if someone just says to you, “This is who my child is.” That’s presenting it as though, “Well, that’s just who my kid is, you know, I’m not willing to take responsibility either if they’re not going to take much interest in reading a book.” You’re trying to pass it off to say, “Read the book, because I don’t know how to talk about this.”

Anne: You say a lot that questions reveal a lot. And so, write a question to [email protected] to be answered on this podcast and reread through your question.

Carol: Yeah.

Anne: I mean, look at the kind of the clues here: highly disruptive, chatting uncontrollably.

Carol: Yeah. Those are pretty strong declarations from a group of teachers. So, to me there’s…

Anne: Disrupts everyone else from learning. Those are big.

Carol: There’s a child present that doesn’t want to work with a teacher who’s the authority figure in a cooperative manner to be…

Anne: Here’s another clue. He has told me that he feels his personality is being attacked.

Carol: Yeah. Where’s that coming from?

Anne: Is that…so going back to your…

Carol: That’ll come from home first.

Anne: Right.

Carol: I’ve seen with my grandchildren, especially my daughter who has a son of each Type, they all do incredibly well in school. None of them have had this issue, especially the higher movement ones, they’ve been very cooperative, compliant to the system, the structure, they’re working well with their teachers of different Types and it’s, I know, it makes a difference because both their parents honor their true nature at home, they work with it. And so, they’ve learned people in authority have my best interest in mind. This child at some level has the belief: “People in authority do not have my best interest nor are they interested in supporting me.” Why would you be motivated to be compliant, be cooperative when you have a belief, the child’s deeper belief that’s now establishing itself that will be carried into adulthood is, “People in authority positions do not support me.”

Anne: He’s seeing right here, “My personality is attacked, I can’t be who I am, it’s attacked, it’s not liked.”

Carol: It’s not like that is such a gem of information for you as a parent. Your children are telling you what the deeper is with those statements. Wow, I would be so grateful that my child felt safe enough to say that. Rather than hear that and go, “Oh, no. You know, what do I do with this?” Go, “Thank you so much.” I have the information I need now, to go, “You’re forming a limiting belief.”

Anne: So, where do you go with that now, to help support them?

Carol: Well, I have a wonderful audio track in both the Carol Tuttle Healing Center and in my Lifestyle content that’s full of affirmations for the Type 1 person to listen to, to start to trust themselves and believe in themselves.

Anne: Well, you’ve got them here in The Child Whisperer book too, under the…

Carol: I do. I have them everywhere. There so important.

Anne: You are a master at writing positive affirmations.

Carol: I am. Thank you.

Anne: On page 93 under, high school, 12 to 18 years and starting out the primary emotional need for every age stages: “Uou can have as many friends as you want. You can change your friends at anytime you want to. You do not need to please others to be loved. You can take all the time you need to grow up. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to change your mind. You can…”

Carol: Those will work for a child if the parent is in alignment with them. See, that can make…

Anne: So, where do you start as the parent?

Carol: Does that mean you have to have a conversation, an uncomfortable conversation with the spouse, the other parent of this son and invite them to participate, to be more, kind of take a stand and what the deeper issue is, get honest. I have a great, in my book, Mastering Affluence, if you do not have open, honest, authentic communication where you can talk about difficult topics, I have in the section on, “How to Create Affluence in Relationships,” I have my best communication tips in there. You’ve got to learn how to do that.

Anne: Can you do this one.

Carol: Yeah, I can. These are not side chit-chat conversations. These are, “Honey, I have a serious topic. I need to have a sit-down, dedicated, focused conversation with you, something I’m very, very concerned about that I would like to share how I feel about it. Can we please set up a time to do that?”

Right away you’re setting the stage to say, “This is a big deal.” Secondly, you want to enroll them in this conversation to also…from there you go to, “We’re not just here to argue. We’re here to come up with an operating active solution. So, what action can we take?” And not who’s right, who’s wrong? You’ve got information that would serve this other parent. It’s an opportunity, do they want…it’s not so cut and dry. You just learn to do what you’re told at school. We’re not in that world anymore. Your children will bee line it real fast if that’s your parenting line of thinking its strategy.

Anne: They’ve probably tried that one long ago. But he’s not complying.

Carol: No, it doesn’t work. You know we don’t live in that world that existed 50 years ago where people just lined up and did what they were told. There’s too many places to…

Anne: That didn’t work.

Carol: Well, it worked for the time. It was the culture of the day. We don’t have that culture anymore. People have so much ability to go chart their own course, and find the people that will support them in that effort, whether it’s one you morally agree with or not. It’s there.

And so, you’ve got to be honest and open and willing to talk and as parents, get on the same page.

Anne: So, we went a little bit different direction with this one than I anticipated today. Reading a question about being disruptive in class and you read through the lines and now we’re getting to what is this issue really about.

Carol: There’s a deeper issue going on.

Anne: So, what’s our Parenting Practice for this week?

Carol: If there’s something going on with your child that you’ve been trying to correct on that surface level, the presenting issue I would call it. It’s the presenting issue, that’s a strategy that I use in my healing work and I teach my Healing Center clients how to address is, there’s a presenting issue but that is representing something much deeper. Don’t think that is that the issue, it’s a clue. You identified with some of those very strong statements. The child shared how they feel about themselves. The operating belief that’s going to become a life belief about themselves, that now establishes a life pattern. They never get support from authority figures.

This is what we’re doing in the Healing Center is, I’m helping people identify when they took on a limiting belief or were imprinted with some level of emotional wounding that’s never been cleaned up and it’s an interference still. That’s what we do in the Healing Center. We clean all that out. You can do proxy work for your child. You can do all kinds…recommend they go join the Healing Center. Quite honestly, there’s deeper stuff playing out here. Your child is showing you that, it’s not such an easy fix as showing up at the parent-teacher conference and going, “Well, that’s just who my child is.” And they go, “Well, that’s good to know. All right, we’ll go along with all the disruptive conversations and the misbehaving and… You know, that’s not, sorry, you know, I know you’re a Type 1 Mom but…”

That would be nice if it was that easy, but it’s a deeper issue.

Anne: You know, good for this mom though to realize, like, she is saying like this, it just doesn’t stay, right?

Carol: She now feels that this is a deeper issue.

Anne: I know there’s something there.

Carol: She knows it. She’s feeling it. I know she knows, so I hope she’s hearing this. And so, those of you that have tried to avoid deeper issues, we have them in life. I’ve got a lot, I mean, I’m your gal. You got deeper issues? I will help you chart a course through them and come out on the other side very positively. Whether it’s…I’ve got books on stuff, I’ve got healing centers, I’ve got a “Mastering Affluence.” I highly recommend the, “Carol Tuttle Healing Center,” healwithcarol.com. Check them out. They will help shift and heal what may be a long standing generational pattern in your family as well, because good chance the mom had this pattern.

Anne: That’s good insight.

Carol: So, best parenting practice is, pray that you’ll pick up on the messages your children are giving you in the presenting issue that’s telling you, giving you clues to what the deeper issue is and that you’ll be led to the resources to help resolve that, so your child doesn’t have to grow up with a limiting belief that interferes with them creating a life that supports them.

Thanks for listening. For more support, go to thechildwhisper.com where you can purchase the book, subscribe to our weekly parenting practice email and find a transcription and audio of “The Child Whisperer” podcast.

Anne: If you’re listening on iTunes, thank you for leaving a review. If you have a parenting question, please send it to [email protected].

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