045: Why You Need to Change the Language You Use to Describe Behavior

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

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I was inspired this week to talk to you about the language you use to describe your child’s behavior. I see parents day in and day out use language that sounds as though they’re describing a character flaw. Language that sets a tone of “can’t” and “won’t,” instead of describing things for what they really are — which is most often your child having a hard time, not giving you a hard time. Join me as I illustrate the differences and how to change your language for greater success and peace in your family.


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I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

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Quick Start: 3 High-Impact Actions to Transform Behavior

Transforming negative or unwanted behavior is a long and complex process. HOWEVER, there are a few actions you can take right now that will provide a big impact. These 3 high-impact strategies address foundational aspects of behavior, empowering you to help your child feel better so they can do better.



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About the show...

I'm your host, Penny.

Join me as I help parents, caregivers, and educators like you harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week I deliver insights and actionable strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities…

My approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. I am honored to have helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

Listen on Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  iHeart Radio

Share your thoughts.

  • I just loved this podcast! I read the explosive child from your recommendation and decided to leave our behviorbeh therapist who basically just used the approach that my daughter was acting out and failing in school for negatove attention. She is only 5 and I didn’t feel comfortable ignoring her when she didn’t behave because we could go for hours and she had no clue what I was communicating to her by just ignoring her. I have made this switch in our home of chosing to believe that no child wants to be punished and if they could do well they would! It has been harder to get my husband to adapt this mindset though, he is much for of an old school parent and what really causes the negative talk is when she hurts her younger siblings, his main point is we cant allow her to hurt people and will often carry her kicking and screaming to her room. Do you have any advice for the skeptical husband? I also am having a hard time getting him on board with the diagnosis of combined extreme ADHD as well. She’s scored very aever and is at a 0 on the fine motor rubric at her kindergarten. He thinks she will just grow out of it, I’m at a loss 😉 thx and I LOVE your show!

    • I have a pretty reactive husband too. Mine has come around over time, but still gets caught up in frustration. He is right that she needs to learn not hurt others — but you have to address why she behaves that way to change it, as you know. 😉

  • I sat listening to this podcast(my first) and was sobbing!!! I have an amazing 11 year old boy with a heart of gold! He may be the kindest human being I’ve met and he has ADHD and anxiety. This episode hit home in many ways, but mostly for what my son and I hear at school. “He refuses to read his AR book, he won’t do anything independently, he chooses to act out and make poor decisions!” We had to institute at positive chart where he and the teacher each had to come up with ONE positive each day, because the negativity was sooo bad. How do we adovocate for our child, support and help his teachers, and I should mention teach in the same building. Being a parent and teacher in the school your child attends is TOUGH!!

    • Advocating with public schools is a nightmare (in my experience). They just don’t get it. So, no matter what we do, it’s a negative experience for our kids, because they’re not designed for neuro-atypical students. I love the idea of one positive from teacher and student every day! What an uplifting reminder that our kids CAN succeed, if we create the opportunity for it.

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