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30 review for Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children's Behavioral Challenges

  1. 5 out of 5

    Greg Stoll

    The main idea of this book is that when kids are having behavioral issues, adults tend to see them as "top-down" where the child is choosing to misbehave for some reason. But often, what's happening is "bottom-up": the child has something deeper going on and it comes out via misbehavior, and to really fix the bad behavior you need to address the underlying problem. Just trying to give stickers for good behavior and punishing bad behavior isn't going to help anything! (this is also not a huge sur The main idea of this book is that when kids are having behavioral issues, adults tend to see them as "top-down" where the child is choosing to misbehave for some reason. But often, what's happening is "bottom-up": the child has something deeper going on and it comes out via misbehavior, and to really fix the bad behavior you need to address the underlying problem. Just trying to give stickers for good behavior and punishing bad behavior isn't going to help anything! (this is also not a huge surprise given the rewards book) He uses a color shorthand to categorize a child's state of arousal: green means the child feels safe and connected and able to learn; red means the child is like the "fight" in "fight or flight", often with a rapid heartbeat, sweating, etc.; blue means the child feels in extreme danger and may have a slow heart rate and breathing rate. There's a lot of useful stuff if you have a child with a problem - since I was reading it just for information it was a bit tedious to get through. I think the main takeaway is that kids (especially young ones) just don't have much control over their emotions and actions, and you have to help them by making them feel safe instead of expecting them to be able to do something they just can't. Which is valuable!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Heather MacDuffie

    This is a fantastic resource and a brilliant contribution to the paradigm shift that is the Polyvagal Theory. As a trauma therapist of 20 years I am gathering resources to help me rapidly integrate this new scientific understanding into my practice. The handouts are user friendly: clear, simple and coherent. The way that the body and mind work together to create behavior, and how to work with this effectively is clean and succinct. People learn without realizing it! As a provider of the Safe and This is a fantastic resource and a brilliant contribution to the paradigm shift that is the Polyvagal Theory. As a trauma therapist of 20 years I am gathering resources to help me rapidly integrate this new scientific understanding into my practice. The handouts are user friendly: clear, simple and coherent. The way that the body and mind work together to create behavior, and how to work with this effectively is clean and succinct. People learn without realizing it! As a provider of the Safe and Sound Protocol I have been using some of her parent handouts to aid my assessment, not just of children but also adults. I can't recommend it enough! Useful for parents, therapists, teachers, OTs, or anyone who works with children or has behavior themselves (get it? I mean everyone)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Liza

    I am not a behaviorist by any stretch of the imagination. You will often find me butting heads with BCABs about the communication goals they write for my students (stay in your goddamn lane and stop treating my students like pigeons!). That said, this book made me realize how much behaviorism had creeped into my parenting. Planned ignoring? Yup! I’ve done that! And guess what? It doesn’t work in my family. Connecting and diverting does. This book also has a huge emphasis on trauma and triggers, I am not a behaviorist by any stretch of the imagination. You will often find me butting heads with BCABs about the communication goals they write for my students (stay in your goddamn lane and stop treating my students like pigeons!). That said, this book made me realize how much behaviorism had creeped into my parenting. Planned ignoring? Yup! I’ve done that! And guess what? It doesn’t work in my family. Connecting and diverting does. This book also has a huge emphasis on trauma and triggers, which is essential to exploring because parenting is triggering as hell. Nobody warned me about that, so I’m warning you. This is essential reading for anyone who spends time with kids with behaviors (basically all kids unless you’re raising the most boring kid of all time).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    This is a great book. Very practical. Full of case studies, helpful worksheets, graphics, etc. It helped reinforce what I’ve already felt, that my son is in fight-or-flight mode nearly constantly at school, largely a result of past school trauma, as well as autism and sensory processing issues. All the rewards charts and point systems in the world will be ineffective if he’s in survival mode. That many of his unwanted behaviors are “bottom up” reflexive responses, rather than “top down” purposef This is a great book. Very practical. Full of case studies, helpful worksheets, graphics, etc. It helped reinforce what I’ve already felt, that my son is in fight-or-flight mode nearly constantly at school, largely a result of past school trauma, as well as autism and sensory processing issues. All the rewards charts and point systems in the world will be ineffective if he’s in survival mode. That many of his unwanted behaviors are “bottom up” reflexive responses, rather than “top down” purposeful decisions. I hope to work with my son’s special ed team to see if we can adjust his supports in ways that help him feel more relaxed and capable at school. The premise of the book is that if he feels calm and safe, he can move from the more primitive survival-driven parts of his brain, and actually be ready and receptive to learning. The point is to look beyond the behaviors, which are symptomatic of underlying issues, whether they be sensory issues, pain, past trauma, or neurological differences. The book uses icebergs as metaphors, with the visible behaviors being the tip of the iceberg, and the underlying conditions (personality, trauma history, medical issues, neurodivergence, etc) as being the unseen bulk of the iceberg, and what needs to be addressed in order to influence behaviors. I would highly recommend this to anyone who works with children.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Heather!

    This is the best book I've encountered on child development and dealing with children with "problem" behaviors. Period. Here comes another book review rant. Every parent and especially EVERY PROFESSIONAL WHO WORKS WITH CHILDREN NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK. Seriously. If this book existed ten years ago, it would have saved me ten years of outrageous amounts of stress and obsessively reading on child development and psychology to figure out how to help my child. AND it would have saved me a ridiculous a This is the best book I've encountered on child development and dealing with children with "problem" behaviors. Period. Here comes another book review rant. Every parent and especially EVERY PROFESSIONAL WHO WORKS WITH CHILDREN NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK. Seriously. If this book existed ten years ago, it would have saved me ten years of outrageous amounts of stress and obsessively reading on child development and psychology to figure out how to help my child. AND it would have saved me a ridiculous amount of time and money WASTED on countless professionals (mental health, educators, and physicians) who are incompetent when dealing with children who have faulty neuroception. If you work with children, there is no excuse for not understanding these concepts. They've been around since the 90's. Read this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael Anderson

    I’ve read many books on addressing child behavior and found this book to be unique in clearly articulating how its recommendations are grounded in neuroscience research. The book posits that most behavioral issues aren’t intentional but derive from a child’s response to perceived lack of safety so strengthening the parent child relationship through emotional co-regulation and employing “bottom up” strategies to ensure the child feels safe are the key first steps before “top down” strategies such I’ve read many books on addressing child behavior and found this book to be unique in clearly articulating how its recommendations are grounded in neuroscience research. The book posits that most behavioral issues aren’t intentional but derive from a child’s response to perceived lack of safety so strengthening the parent child relationship through emotional co-regulation and employing “bottom up” strategies to ensure the child feels safe are the key first steps before “top down” strategies such as providing structure with consequences can be employed. The book also emphasizes the importance of taking a personalized, titrated approach to address your child’s evolving behavior since one size doesn’t fit all (amen!). I think the book’s philosophy is revolutionary and I’m already finding it helpful. My only issues with the book’s recommendations are that many of them seem more realistic for younger kids than tweens and teens and, while it correctly recommends a team based, coordinated approach (pediatrician, therapist, OT, etc), this unfortunately isn’t always practical and it certainly isn’t cheap.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Another excellent book on the SCIENCE behind behaviors. I’m very analytical and need to know the “whys” behind everything to really understand. This holds true for my son as well and so this book was a perfect companion to others I’ve begun to build my parenting practice upon (Greene, Shanker, Siegel). My only difficulty was believing, by the time I got to this particular part, was that top-down behaviors (by choice) were even possible, colored entirely by Dr. Delahooke’s arguments to the contra Another excellent book on the SCIENCE behind behaviors. I’m very analytical and need to know the “whys” behind everything to really understand. This holds true for my son as well and so this book was a perfect companion to others I’ve begun to build my parenting practice upon (Greene, Shanker, Siegel). My only difficulty was believing, by the time I got to this particular part, was that top-down behaviors (by choice) were even possible, colored entirely by Dr. Delahooke’s arguments to the contrary leading up to this point. Outside of pranks and mischief just for the fun of it, why would a child make a poor choice if it wasn’t bottom-up (reptilian brain) driven?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This is an excellent resource for anyone parenting or working with a child who has "difficult behaviors". It is based on neuroscience research and emphasizes the mind body connection. So much useful information. It does require a shift in how we think about behavior but Dr. Delahooke makes the argument for that shift abundantly clear and hard to resist. My biggest concern would be that this book, as most of its ilk, doesn't adequately express the WORK that is needed to acheive the outcomes, it s This is an excellent resource for anyone parenting or working with a child who has "difficult behaviors". It is based on neuroscience research and emphasizes the mind body connection. So much useful information. It does require a shift in how we think about behavior but Dr. Delahooke makes the argument for that shift abundantly clear and hard to resist. My biggest concern would be that this book, as most of its ilk, doesn't adequately express the WORK that is needed to acheive the outcomes, it seems almost too easy. That said, what I learned is invaluable and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the mind body connection and behavior (specifically).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Arata

    Unfortunately this book didn’t have magic bullet answers for the struggles I face in my practice, but I can forgive it. With a heavy emphasis on the therapeutic use of self, a nice dose of compassion for the patients, and an openness to psychiatric intervention, this book holds a lot for interdisciplinary members of the care team of kids with behavior issues. I have already found myself using terms of red, green, and blue pathway while conceptualizing patients and will be looking more into polyv Unfortunately this book didn’t have magic bullet answers for the struggles I face in my practice, but I can forgive it. With a heavy emphasis on the therapeutic use of self, a nice dose of compassion for the patients, and an openness to psychiatric intervention, this book holds a lot for interdisciplinary members of the care team of kids with behavior issues. I have already found myself using terms of red, green, and blue pathway while conceptualizing patients and will be looking more into polyvagal theory.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Wow! I highly, highly recommend Beyond Behaviors by Mona Delahooke to all professionals who work with children, educators, and parents (preschool-all the way up) looking for neuroscience-backed tools and techniques to understand and reduce behavioral challenges. This book said a lot that was familiar to me but also reframed it in a really impactful way. I am already a better teacher because of this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elise Reding

    As a social worker in the trauma world and now a parent to a sweet boy with sensory processing issues I loved this book. Connection through relationships is key. This book has in depth explanations and practical application. If this book were a guide to parenting read by all we would be living in a better world.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    consolidates modern approaches Mona’s book brings together the latest theories on discerning the causation of inappropriate behavior in children, shifting from the sole top-down lens of what are the motivating factors (what they are getting out of it - attention, avoidance etc - to more nuanced, Bottom-up perspectives, that see so much behavior arising out of trauma and a lack of sense of safety (as the child sees it - regardless of adults perceptions). It is shifting my paradigm to consider the consolidates modern approaches Mona’s book brings together the latest theories on discerning the causation of inappropriate behavior in children, shifting from the sole top-down lens of what are the motivating factors (what they are getting out of it - attention, avoidance etc - to more nuanced, Bottom-up perspectives, that see so much behavior arising out of trauma and a lack of sense of safety (as the child sees it - regardless of adults perceptions). It is shifting my paradigm to consider the bottom emotional foundations of a child before I impose consequences and judgments on the “cause.” Easy read too, not filled with eye-glazing terms, she explains the meanings of latest research in layman’s terms. And her real-world examples show how these new approaches can be applied for children at home and school.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    So much great information, interesting case studies and helpful tools. I’m really hoping it will make a difference in my work. Every educator and person working with children that need support with behavior should read this!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sara Richter

    Much Needed This book is filled with so much-read it twice and put into action! It also has helps for parents and educators alike. It isn’t all about the behaviors, but building strong positive relationships!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Brown

    Such an awesome read for any and all adults that interact with children in our world!!!! Practical takeaways and filled with up to date research on brain/body connection and behaviors! Thankful for this book!!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Adam B

    Not what I was expecting.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dahlia Bagnis

    I have recommended this book so many times to teachers, parents, and clinicians. The approach is so respectful of children.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Great resource

  19. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    A must-read for anyone with a behaviorally challenging child.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Collette

    Must-read for anyone who has a challenging child

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tracypick77

    This book is wonderful. Ever educator, and parent should read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Adams

    If you have a child or work with children you need to read this 🙌🏼

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This book is vitally important to understanding behavior as communication of its root cause: the tip of an iceberg, rather than a whole unto itself. Kids who struggle mightily have adapted their behaviors to compensate, be it due to a difference in sensory processing, high ACEs, etc. Understanding the “bottom up” nature of behaviors allows us to help kids at the root instead of the surface. I think anyone working with kids of any age would do well to read this!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Kirby

    I love this book - such an easy read with great insights and ideas. As an occupational therapist, I really appreciate all the attention paid to sensory processing differences.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nimitha T.R.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Boylan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Norton

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  29. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

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