Understanding What Drives Your Child’s Behaviours

Categories: Behaviour

Dealing with children’s behaviour is one of the biggest parenting challenges. Not only can it be difficult to manage particular behaviours, but also to understand what drives those behaviours. Every parent has been faced with a child having a tantrum over a seemingly trivial matter, leaving you wondering where it all went wrong! It can be easy to attribute tantrums and other ‘bad’ behaviours as attention seeking, but there is usually more going on. This is because all human behaviour is driven by need.

Behavioural specialist, Sandi Phoenix, explains that everyone has a unique ‘needs profile’. This has been the basis of Sandi’s Phoenix Cups approach to guiding behaviour. This approach is based around the 5 basic human life needs, which Sandi describes as cups that need to be filled.

These 5 basic human life needs/cups are:

  • Safety Cup – need for survival and safety. Includes sleep, being risk averse, eating, health, fitness and a general sense of well being. This need is about safety and security, both psychological and physiological.
  • Love and Connection Cup – need for love and connection. Need for belonging and acceptance within relationships, family, community and culture. Also includes touch and physical connection.
  • Mastery Cup – need for power and control. Control of one’s environment, mastering new ways of doing things, feeling confident.
  • Freedom Cup – need for autonomy, liberty and choice. A child’s need for freedom can easily be emptied by controlling discipline.
  • Fun Cup – need for fun, games and joy. Includes play, learning and exploration.

“We all have a different needs profile, which means some of us have bigger cups than others,” explains Sandi.

This is what makes us individuals and anyone with multiple children knows that behaviours can vary dramatically between them. This is due to their different needs.

For example, Child 1 may have a large Love and Connection Cup and large Safety Cup but a small Freedom Cup. This could result in clingy behaviour, separation anxiety and fussy eating.

Child 2, on the other hand, may have large Freedom and Fun Cups, resulting in behaviours such as running, not listening to directions and rebellion, as their drive to meet their needs overrides their needs for safety and connection with their parents.

Through understanding your children’s needs profiles (and your own!) you can better understand and guide your children’s behaviours.

Sandi’s Phoenix Cups approach to guiding behaviour is available as a course through ParentTV and provides great insight into what drives human behaviour, as well as providing creative solutions to meeting your child’s needs.

Behaviour Course - Sandi Phoenix

This course will help you identify your child’s cups, which are the biggest or most dominant cups and which areas we need to help teach our children how to fill their own cups. You will also learn about different (and often challenging) behaviours that are associated with each cup and how to design new strategies to support different behaviours.