The study of human behavior has interested me for a long time. I've always felt like I've had an intuitive ability to understand a person's point of view far beyond the exchange of language. Growing up, this meant my friend circle was very wide. And naturally I was drawn to the study of psychology, which eventually lead me to study consumer behavior in the technology and marketing industries.
And then I became a mom.
For someone with my interests in behavior, being thrown into the wild world of motherhood is the Holy Grail of behavior studies. On one side it was intriguing, but on the other (let's be honest, stronger) side I found that I had a lot more to learn than I could have ever anticipated. I had studied adult behavior in various ways for so long, but children's behavior made me question everything. Including myself.
For many of us, this is the point where we crawl inside ourselves and decide to accept that this is the way it is when we are responsible for raising tiny souls. This goes for teachers and caregivers as well as parents. We find ourselves flip-flopping from the realization that these little creatures are far too complex and sometimes quite ridiculous for us to comprehend to then feeling the need to find the answer to whatever is stressing is out today because, you know, we are responsible for their life. And if I screw this up, they're doomed. And it's my fault.
So, ultimately we feel exhausted, stressed and completely incapable to give these children what they need. We become the victims of uncertainty and we lose ourselves in the fight.
A holistic approach to the study of behavior looks at a person, a child, as a piece of art. And it allows the caregiver to be the artist that helps bring it into the world.
“The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.” ~ Michelangelo
Yellow and red make orange. That's science. But that's not the end of the story. The color orange has an infinite amount of shades, tones, tints and hues and there are many different factors that impact this infinite amount of possibilities. Put this information in the hands of an artist and orange takes on even deeper meaning when brought to life. In the same way, we can appreciate what research and science has to say about behavior but without limiting the understanding and the possibilities of an individual child. It's not either/or; it's and.
What a holistic approach provides for a child's unexplained behavior is an entire view of their world. This can include a variety of elements such as their environment, their personality and their developmental abilities. As an artist, you have the ability to see the potential and beauty of the tiny piece of art you've been handed and then chisel away at what surrounds it in order for its truest beauty to be revealed.
Addressing behavior holistically gives you the chance to join in a dance with what science and research has given us and the mystery of human creation. It brings your intuition, your abilities and your unique design as a caregiver to life. Which is not only rewarding for the child, but for you as well.
You and your children, whether they are your own or not, were not put together by mistake. You were meant to be that child's vessel into the world and you have a lot more ability than you think to bring out the beauty in them. But it takes work, dedication and a love for yourself to accept the role of their artist.
I am not the expert on your child. I quite simply desire to empower you to become confident, creative and impactful with the unique works of art you have been given.
If you feel a holistic behavior approach could help you and the littles in your life, I invite you to start with the journaling guide, Lead and Follow; Learning to Dance with the Art and Science of Raising Humans,. This free, three-week guide is designed to help you uncover the root of your child's behavior challenges.