Small Child, Your Challenging Behavior Is About As Interesting To Me…

As a piece of lint on the floor. Ho-hum, ho-hum.  I am over here doing real work, and please come join me.  I hear you,  I see you, I will connect with you and help you move into work and movement.  I will help you with a good sense of humor.  I will help you stick to the boundary I set,  but with my  ho-hum.

A fifteen month old will arch and protest over what he does not want to do.  A two-year-old will experiment with “no” about a million times.  A four-year-old will get wound up and use “potty words”.  A six-year-old will tell you they hate you and slam doors.  A nine or ten year old will experiment with swear words (which is about the equivalent of a four year old saying potty words).


It is hard not get emotionally wound up about challenging behaviors when they stem from our own children, when these behaviors  stem from pushing against the boundaries we have set, and when we have to live with this pushing against forms 24 hours a day.

Yet, the more you can be warm and loving but ho-hum, the better life will be.

The more we can stop and think before we say something or do something, the more we model that temperance for children that is so important.  However, by the same token, we do not model passively sitting by and doing nothing when something clearly needs to be done.  There needs to be a Middle Way, which is something that Waldorf Education frequently talks about.

We want to raise a generation of children who can take that moment to pause and to think before they act, but yet  we also want to raise a generation of children who will grow up to DO.  We want to raise a generation of children who are healthy enough in their bodies and their minds that they can do what will need to be done to make our world a better place but to  do it with thoughtfulness and reverence.

And it all starts in the home, with us, the parents, being able to distinguish and discern when to act, when not to act, what to say and what not to say.   It starts with us, the parents, being able to give our children a childhood that is real and authentic and not a watered-down version of adult reality.  It requires boundaries and it requires love.  A whole lotta of love.

And it requires a ho-hum attitude.  

Be peaceful.  Be authentic and be real, but know when to raise a fuss and when to be ho-hum.  Big things require big reactions, but little things do not.

That is part of the parenting path and work for us as parents in this year and in this time.

Many blessings,


12 thoughts on “Small Child, Your Challenging Behavior Is About As Interesting To Me…

  1. Hi, Carrie!I am consoled to know that children are the same all over the world…I totally agree with you when you say that everything starts with us parents:is really difficult to have a ho-hum attitude, but i try every day…
    Thanks for what you share (and I hope my English is not so bad…)
    Hugs from Italy

  2. A very timely post. Being alone during the dinner hour tonight I was called a ‘poopy head’ by my four-year old during a fit, told by my seven year old that I must hate him b/c I have him a consequence for snatching food from his little brother and endured a series of sarcastic comments from my nine-year old daughter over really nothing at all. I feel great about my ‘ho-hum’ attitude during all of it and the love I was able to still put out in my home during all of this despite the age-appropriate behavior of the night!!!

  3. Carrie – I’m struggling with this a bit. I think I understand what you are saying, but in practice it comes off as (or feels to me) a bit…unfeeling? Which is not what I intend or want to model for my kids. Is there an example you can give of an appropriate ho-hum response? Whining and throwing things are our most common “challenges”….and finding the line between being too permissive, ignoring it, and flying off the handle has been tough. Where is the ho-hum balance? :)
    Thanks….and have been reading through back articles like crazy. So helpful.

  4. Finding myself as a waldorf-inspired mother and home-maker on an extended maternity leave from my career so am always glad to read your blog now and then when I’m able. It always feels like the gentle timely or seasonal guidance I need. The world of motherhood and meaningful home making has opened up in a way I didn’t expect since having a child. Am resolved to make a special effort this year to take a more patient, understanding, and positive attitude with my 30 month old boy this year. I’ve realized that I wasn’t doing enough of that. Thank you.

  5. Thanks for the reminder and for giving examples. I find this so hard to do. To maintain my composure when I feel like I am being pulled in every direction at once. To know what is age appropriate. And to remember to be the grown up.

    Your readers honesty about their own short comings and struggles is very inspiring and validating.

    Thanks everyone!

  6. Thanks, Carrie….I needed that GOOD WORD IN DUE SEASON! =) Two little ones under two is overwhelming at the moment as my 1-1/2 yr old is a “two” year old developmentally and that’s hard with a newborn too! Lord, help me “HO-HUM!” I guess that’s my prayer tonight….and into the coming days! =)

  7. Pingback: 31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Nineteen | The Parenting Passageway

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