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Secondary Behaviours

What is secondary behaviour?

Secondary behaviour is any form of inappropriate, disrespectful, 'tantrumy' behaviour that your child engages in when you have intervened or challenged them over what ever behaviour they were originally doing.

Common examples of secondary behaviour include:

muttering under their breath
stamping feet
slamming doors
thumping walls or doors
banging down what ever they have in their hands
throwing things on the floor, anything non-breakable - things like paper, books and cushions

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How should you respond to secondary behaviour?

The best way of dealing with secondary behaviours is to ignore them. This is easier said than done as it is often these secondary behaviours that ignite our own fuses! As parents we can get incredibly angry at this wilful challenge to our authority and lack of respect. But, when we do respond to these behaviours we ultimately fail to alter the child's behaviour in the long term. This is because when we respond we tend to do one or more of the following:

model angry and possibly aggressive behaviour which they learn to copy
become focussed on the secondary behaviour and the key message regarding the primary behaviour is lost
escalate the situation into a complete 'melt down' and be left feeling 'drained', 'de-skilled' and unable to cope
build up further anxiety, resentment and low self-esteem in the child

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