Parenting Guide: How to Make Behavior Problems Disappear

By Greg Baer M.D.

December 5, 2023

I know a mother who initially showed up with stories about an impossible teenage daughter. This child would not listen to anything Mom said. Snotty attitude all the time—tone of voice, scowling face, taunting her siblings.

Mom got the Parenting Training primarily to learn some techniques for controlling her daughter’s behavior.  

Oh, how little Mom understood. It wasn’t about a technique. There is no “technique” for raising a child.

The more Mom watched the Training, the more she realized that SHE had been doing everything wrong.  

She called me, crying, and said, “I’m worthless as a mother. I’m the one who’s screwed them up.”  

The Real Source of Problem Behaviors

“Oh, so true,” I said. “You did cause their wounds, for sure. And yeah, your ex-husband had his own part in it, but blaming him for anything won’t do any good. But no, you’re not worthless, just needing love and guidance.”  

We talked regularly for a couple of months, and she began to find Real Love® from other mothers whose experience was similar in many ways.

She understood the principles, but she had a hard time being vulnerable and accepting that other people could really see her and love her unconditionally. 

She didn’t quit, though. She kept at it, feeling more loved and gradually learning to love her kinds.  

Problem Behaviors Disappeared

A few short months after beginning all this, she texted me:  

“This Real Love® parenting thing is starting to work. Yesterday there was such a mood shift in our home. I could feel it. My kids could feel it.

"Was everyone perfect? Not even close! But I was loving the children—imagine that!—even while I gave them consequences for some of their choices, and because of that, they accepted the consequences without whining. 

"I’m shaking my head over that. I would NEVER have thought it would be possible for them to accept consequences without complaining, and they actually did it with a positive attitude. Sheesh.”  

I said, “Parents are so afraid of the disapproval of their children that they just enable them. The parents don’t realize that unless there is teaching and order—consequences included—kids lose all respect for their parents.”  

"Everyone was cheerful throughout the afternoon and evening yesterday. There was even lots of hugging, which our family has never done. Kids were sitting close to each other without complaining about something."

“All you, Mom. YOU feel more loved. You trusted some people with the truth about yourself. You trusted them to love you. That is the key. Your faith.” 

I know I'm still parenting imperfectly, but we had a beautiful day, and that gives me hope that our home could be like this more, maybe even most of the time eventually."  

“What you can do once, you can do twice. Happy thought, right? Gives you confidence to keep doing what you’ve been doing.”  

Mom kept going: “I have implemented one-on-one time with my kids each evening as part of our bedtime routine. I climb into bed with them for like five minutes. I hold them close, and we talk about whatever they want. The first night, it was funny how my 15, 13, and 12-year-olds were so stiff and confused and weirded out.  

"Of course. It was all new to them. You were being your real self, and THAT was new to them. Happy surprise."

“But now they literally JUMP into my bed every night. Believe that? I HAVE A 15-YEAR-OLD THAT JUMPS INTO BED TO SNUGGLE WITH ME EVERY NIGHT... AMAZING! LOL. And it’s making a HUGE difference. I'm so glad I got to experience that magic—feeling loved—with you and other people, in person and by video calls. And can now I can help my kids to experience it! ??” 

I said, “Who knew that such a thing was possible? But you DID IT—you persisted with loving and teaching—and it has really closed the gap between you and the kids. They can FEEL your love. They can feel YOU. When you feel loved, you really show up for them.”  

Dealing with Problem Behaviors

Notice that Mom originally came to me with the intolerable behaviors of one teenage girl. Impossible. No idea how to manage this kid, who was in therapy, who had been suspended more than once by the school.

But Mom didn’t even have to address these specific problem behaviors—nor did I. 

It turns out—as we have discussed many times on videos and in blogs—that all problem behaviors are just different reactions to the same pain: not feeling loved.

When we love our children, and we heal the wounds we have inflicted on them, all their reactions to the pain they feel—however different they might appear—tend to disappear.  

Love your children. LEARN HOW to love your children. Learn how to share that love. Learn how to teach them and guide them, sometimes with consequences.

As you do that, you help them heal. You eliminate the pain in their lives. And their reactive behaviors go away. It’s all mind-blowing.  

Want to learn more?

Eliminate confusion and conflict with your children.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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