Workshop Children’s behaviours


  • Understand how stress and the brain are linked.
  • Identify stressors and their possible causes.
  • Develop strategies for keeping calm during parenting challenges.


Either in pairs or as a whole group, prompt some reflection on our own childhoods. Start with a discussion about when participants were little and were in big trouble with their whānau. What happened?

Prepare whiteboard or chart paper into 4 columns. In pairs, think about and discuss the following:

  • Which of our kids’ behaviours upset or annoy us most?
  • Why is that?
  • What causes are behind that annoying behaviour?
  • How can we lessen the unwanted behaviour happening?

Take one question at a time, and after each one stop and ask for feedback from the pairs. Record their responses in the first column. Repeat this process after each question, filling in the column for each question as you go. For example:

Child’s behaviour

Why it bugs us

Possible cause

Possible prevention


Painful to the ears, disrupting

Wanting attention or connection

Have regular one-on-one time together

 Ask the group to think about a really young child. How does the child know that their behaviour is upsetting or annoying to their whānau?

Extend the activity by adding 4 more columns, or use the following to prompt more discussions:

  • Things we might do unconsciously in response to the behaviour.
  • Things that we could do consciously in response to the behaviour.
  • Things that might influence our responses.*
  • Things that might influence our children’s behaviours.*

* These might include things like age, special needs, illness, tiredness, setting, state of mind, fear, hunger, and temperament of the child and their parents.


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