Helping Everyone Make Their ‘Best’ Better—the First Step to Creating Change

Prevent Child Abuse Arizona Executive Director Claire Louge recently attended Dare to Lead™, a program developed by researcher, professor, and bestselling author Dr. Brené Brown. Here, she shares one of her key takeaways.

The assumption that people are trying their best is a foundation for positive change.

Take a moment to consider your answer to the question, Do you believe, generally speaking, that people are doing the best they can?

Whether your answer is “yes,” or “no,” you likely have strong reasons for your answer. You may believe life is stressful and full of demands and it’s amazing anyone functions at all. Or, you may believe people are willfully inconsiderate or destructive.

Now, think about this distinction in terms of your children (or children you know).

As a parent, you know behavior doesn’t happen randomly; it’s shaped by our conditions. If your children didn’t get enough sleep, ate too much sugar, or are experiencing some kind of stress, they might behave differently than they do when they’re rested, nourished, and relaxed.

When we believe a child is not trying their best, we frame their behavior as a willful decision. We classify the child as the “problem.” On the other hand, when we believe a child is trying their best, we begin to examine the circumstances contributing to their behavior … and from there, we can think about what might need to shift for them to be able to behave differently.

Their “best” can change.

How can you help your children’s best become better? You can’t control their behavior, but you can contribute to changing their circumstances.

It all begins with seeing your children not as problems, but as little humans constantly adapting to their circumstances—trying their best.

Editor’s Note: look for the Strong Families, Happy Kids column in every issue of Prescott Woman Magazine. It’s designed to support parents with actionable tips and strategies they can use to create optimal environments for their children to thrive. To learn more about Prevent Child Abuse Arizona’s mission and resources visit