We see this testing behavior, the pushing of limits to the breaking point, in young children, seemingly, and counter intuitively, at times when parental stress is the highest!
Mom is at her wits end, Dad is ready to snap, (think road trip) and when it seems like things can't get any worse, the yelling and demands from that back seat intensify.
Perhaps children who seldom have the ability to put complex feelings into words are asking:
'Will you still love me - and want to keep me - when things are really difficult?'
DANCE WITH IT! EXPERIENTIAL APPS
An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas...
PROVE THAT YOU LOVE ME…
As long as we are doing this testing behavior we are still living in our pasts when the balance of power was not in our favor!
Parents have ultimate power.
In grade school it's teachers…
During adolescence it's a teeter-totter - boy/girlfriend up… boy/girlfriend down…
In a perfect world we would have used this one up by the time we head off into the grown up world, right?
So, this exercise is real simple:
Next time you find yourself, or someone else 'testing' - acting out in that particularly pushing/prodding way - yes, we might call it obnoxious or maybe sometimes even passive/aggressive…
Next time ask yourself:
Who has the power?
And is this a healthy way to deal with it?
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