Dealing with sneaky behavior

Learn the best methods for handling your child's sneaky behavior and what causes children to be sneaky, with advice from Gordon Neufeld, PhD Child Psychologist and Author
Dealing with Your Child's Sneaky Behavior
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Dealing with sneaky behavior

Sneakiness frustrates us as parents. It’s very hard to deal with a sneaky child. It’s important to know that sneakiness is absolutely natural. It occurs to a child that whatever mom and dad won’t know won’t hurt them. It’s a most natural thing to occur and it would be a very dumb child indeed who wasn’t able to figure that out to keep out of trouble. Interesting enough, nature has an answer to sneakiness. And the answer lies – if everything is going well, in the last stages of developing the capacity for relationship, when the child gives his heart away, which should happen when he’s about 5 years of age if everything is going right, following on that is the child wants to share all that is within his heart. And so it is actually an issue of relationship – the child wants to be known, to be heard, to be seen from the inside out. The child doesn’t want any secrets that would divide. So despite themselves the child blurts out all kinds of things. It just can’t handle it that mommy wouldn’t know this and daddy wouldn’t know this. Now this is wonderful preparation for adolescence. Can you imagine if a child was moved to that level of attachment that they need to tell you about the things that are going on? It doesn’t mean that they’re an angel. What it means is that at least you know the devil in them and it makes it a lot easier to be able to deal with the kinds of things that… problems that you have. Our problem in our society is that children are not falling deep enough in the attachment with their parents. We are not providing the conditions for children to go all the way safe and easy to develop to not only give us their hearts, but want to share all that there is within their hearts. Sneakiness is not a moral problem for a child. It’s not a behavioral problem. It’s impossible to deal with directly. It’s a relationship problem that is resolved just like it is between husband and wife and friends. When we actually develop a deep enough relationship to want to be known, to want to be heard and not have any secrets that would divide, it takes care of itself.

Learn the best methods for handling your child's sneaky behavior and what causes children to be sneaky, with advice from Gordon Neufeld, PhD Child Psychologist and Author


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Gordon Neufeld, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Dr. Gordon Neufeld is a Vancouver-based developmental psychologist with over 40 years of experience with children and youth and those responsible for them. A foremost authority on child development, Dr. Neufeld is an international speaker, a bestselling author, Hold On to Your Kids and a leading interpreter of the developmental paradigm. Dr. Neufeld has a widespread reputation for making sense of complex problems and for opening doors for change. While formerly involved in university teaching and private practice, he now devotes his time to teaching and training others, including educators and helping professionals. His Neufeld Institute is now a worldwide organization devoted to applying developmental science to the task of raising children. Dr. Neufeld appears regularly on radio and television. He is a father of five and a grandfather of three.

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