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Prioritize socio-emotional goals over behavioural ones

"As the psychologist Ross Greene has written, children do well when they can. When a child doesn’t consistently comply with what we ask of him, we should understand that the child is probably not making a deliberate choice to misbehave, but rather adapting to an immature social-emotional system that is still developing. The first step to fix this problem: stop trying to manage and control a child’s behaviors before the child has the developed the capacity for self-control.

Too often, adults react to problematic behaviors—whether in the form of language, physical actions, or emotional outbursts—by issuing consequences for this “choice.” But that approach assumes the child can choose to behave otherwise, that she has the capacity for “executive function.” But many vulnerable children, teens—and even young adults—require years of experience to acquire that capability."

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