The carrot – a model to understand underlying reasons

Children never act out because it is fun. There is ALWAYS a reason behind the behavior. Children try by their behavior to tell us what they feel and what they need.

Often we try to just stop the behavior, often with no longstanding result. To find a real solution to the problem, we need to explore the reasons behind it.

As with a carrot. If I walk in a carrot garden I will only see green leaves. To find the carrot I need to start digging. Behaviors are like the green leaves of the carrot – visible, but useless. But if we start to dig we might find important needs that the child has. The best tool for digging up needs is to ask ourselves ”Why?” ”Why is the child acting like this?” We can guess, and sometimes the child can help us in our guessing, but often they don´t know themselves either.

When we have found some possible ”Because …”, we can spend some time asking ourselves how we think the child is feeling in the situations where the behavior shows up. What are the emotions of the child, and what is the child believing about herself in these situations? Our emotions and our beliefs influence our actions.

When I start to have some sort of understanding about what the child feels and believe, the needs of the child might become clearer. And now we start to come closer to a solution. The child´s emotions, believes and needs will tell me what I need to do to meet the child´s needs. And if the child gets what he needs, he will probably stop acting out.

To find the best solution it might also be good to ask myself: ”What are my longterm goals as a parent?” ”What is it I want to give to my child?” ”What do I want my child to learn and to bring with her out to the real life?” My longterm goals will help me to find the best solution.

The carrot is a problemsolving method, that we actually can use in all kind of situations. Doing ”a carrot” gives you the power over your own life – as you find new solutions!

Ulrika Ernvik