Life is a social science experiment. From the moment we are born, all of us are witnessing our behaviors and those of others, and making meaning of the comparison. Each of us may be more or less prone to self-awareness, awareness of others, and thinking about our thinking. Yet all of us are making calculations, consciously or unconsciously.
Some of us and of our children have systems that do this consciously and get a squirt of the pleasure hormone dopamine when there is a reaction to one of our conscious experiments. These children need our adult help in figuring out other sources of such dopamine pleasure for this child, approaches that meet enough of their needs to replace the disruptive behavior.
The way this played out in my house with one of our children when young – “Do you stir things up for entertainment?” “Of course!” was the answer. I had had a clean clear moment when I responded, “I know you’re creative and will come up with a different way to entertain yourself that doesn’t make anyone miserable.”