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Children love earning the praise of adults! It makes them proud and fosters self-esteem. If you only acknowledge bad behavior, children are likely to keep misbehaving. Acknowledge good behavior as a way of reinforcing children’s strengths. Find something to praise in every child.
Working with children who are homeless provides a unique set of circumstances. Being aware of what behaviors to expect can greatly benefit these children as they develop and start to move past their experience of homelessness.

What we think of as "acting out" or "misbehaving" may be the way that children have adapted and learned to communicate their feelings. Often these behaviors are attempts to get attention, and not intended to be rude, hurtful, or annoying.

Check out the "Related Resources" to the right of the screen to better understand the needs of children who are homeless, and how you can help as a provider.

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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services