Tip of the Iceburg
Blog Entry: 19th January 2022
During our most recent whole staff training, Tamsin Grimmer introduced us to this wonderful analogy of understanding Children's behaviour and the reasons behind it. We are huge advocates in finding out the underlying reasons for the behaviour and supporting these much needed emotional needs.
The child’s behaviour is the tip of the iceberg, and what we see on the surface. Behaviour is triggered from feelings, which stem from the deeply rooted needs of the child. Like an iceberg, the bulk of behavior's “mass” is hidden below the surface. The hidden base of the iceberg represents the belief behind the behaviour and the child’s needs. Basic needs consist of safety, security, trust, empathy, understanding, autonomy, adequate sleep and nutrition, competency, respect, love and a sense of belonging and significance.
When a child’s basic needs are met, he or she feels connected, safe, secure, confident, and satisfied. However, when the child perceives (realistically or not) that their need is not being met, then misbehavior will occur. It is important to address the underlying beliefs beneath the surface of the iceberg in order for sustained behaviour change to occur.
Children are good perceivers, but are still learning to understand the world around them. They are not usually able to see the bigger picture and engage in higher level thinking. Figuring out cause-and effect patterns are often too much for them to comprehend.
This is why it is important to consider the underlying feelings and needs of children rather than reacting to the behaviour on the iceberg’s surface.
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