Why kids’ challenging behaviour is sometimes a bid for connection

In this month’s Maggie Moment, parenting author, educator, and host of the ‘Parental As Anything’ and ‘Good Enough Dad’ podcasts, Maggie Dent talks about how your child, tween or teens challenging behaviour can actually be a bid for connection.

It’s easy to accept an adults’ bid for connection with grace and love, as it’s often very obvious, such as my good bloke buying me a coffee each morning.

With children the way they seek connection can sometimes not look like that at all. The melt down in the car after school, jumping on a sibling and causing chaos, your child is trying to create connection with you.

As a parent it’s important to remember these bids are not attention seeking, this is a bid for connection and there’s a difference, so it’s how you respond to them in that moment that matters.

Bids of connection are actually about love.

I recently heard renowned relationship expert Esther Perel talking about this in a podcast with Brené Brown, but the concept of bids for connection originally came from another renowned marriage and family therapists, Dr John Gottman, who says bids for connection are “the fundamental unit of emotional communication.” You can read more about it at gottman.com