What constitutes as a child misbehaving? Take a look at these:
If your kid is manifesting any or all (how unfortunate for you) of the above actions, he or she may be misbehaving. It’s not a complete list, but it does show the most common forms of misbehaviour in children.
To kick off this article, it’s essential to realise that when your kid misbehaves, he or she wants something. Before you decide on anything unreasonable (e.g. behaving like a child), try to find out the cause of the misbehaviour. Here is our list of possible causes for misbehaviour: They may just want attention. This is arguably the most common cause of misbehaviour among children. In your child’s mind, if he or she wants attention, misbehaving is a tested and tried method of attaining it. Try noticing it the next time when you’re attention is focused on something else like talking on the phone. Your child will deliberately throw a fit or temper tantrum to steal your attention. Child psychology experts suggest praising positive behaviour and ignoring negative behaviour (like the example above) . But don’t shout at your child just so you can finish your phone conversation. That won’t solve anything.
He or she may just want some form of control. What follows when someone attempts to regain control? A power struggle. This is because when your child attempts to gain control, he or she may resort to argumentative or combative behaviour. Solution? Offer at least two choices. In this way, your child thinks he or she has some form of control over the situation by making their own choice. Nice, huh?
Your child may have insufficient control of his or her emotions. A child can easily be overwhelmed with emotions. This is particularly the case when it comes to anger. Their behaviour may show as aggressive or destructive. Other emotions like excitement and boredom can also come out as a form of misbehaviour.
A child who is bullied at school will have difficulty handling his emotions especially when the bully embarrasses or harasses him. This could come out as a form of misbehaviour when he gets home from school.
Your kid misbehaves to get what she wants. This usually involves a physical object such as a toy. Imagine you’re in a toy store and your child wants the big teddy bear in the corner. Her overzealousness to have the toy may overwhelm her, causing her to misbehave. Misbehaving becomes a means to get what she wants.
Your offspring misbehaves because he or she is imitating others. Your child will never cease to amaze you. What they see on TV, online and other input such what you do or the behaviour of other kids at school will serve as a template for their behaviour. They will repeat what they observe in their environment. If they see good behaviour, they will copy that. You can certainly play a big part in this by limiting what they’re exposed to. Less of the Simpson’s (it’s for adults) and more of Disney’s cartoon characters.
They may be having difficulty communicating their needs. You’re in the middle of the mall, and your child begins a temper tantrum, he may be tired or hungry. Kids don’t always know how to communicate what they need. You have to sort things out for them. Teach your kids the best way to tell you what they need, then everyone will be happier!
He or she may lack the necessary skills to solve the problem. Take this for example. Your child’s toys are scattered all over their bedroom. He or she attempts to put them all away in the toy chest. Unfortunately, they don’t all fit. Hence, your child throws a tantrum (or a toy at you). You just have to understand that he or she doesn’t know the immediate solution to this problem. It’s essential not to scold your child, but instead offer him or her solutions for the problem. Try putting another toy chest or box next to the old one. Problem solved.
Another good example is a child who has been home-schooled their entire life and is suddenly bombarded with social attention when they enter regular school. He or she doesn’t have the necessary skills to cope with this so misbehaving may follow, especially when the child gets home.
Your rugrat may be testing the limits…and your patience. Kids are wonderful. Whenever you set a rule and tell them that they’re not permitted to do this or that, they will try to find out if you’re serious about it. They want to see for themselves what you’ll do if they break your rules. What can you do?
Clearly state the rules and the consequences if they break them. Use simple and direct terms they will understand. You see, if kids perceive that they can get away with something, they’ll try to do it. If you’re strict about enforcing the consequences, the chances of them breaking the rules will be less.
Your child may want independence. Some kids purposely break the rules to put their foot down and assert independence. As your child progresses through different developmental stages, their need for autonomy increases. But more often than not, your child will need guidance and proper discipline because they’re not equipped for as much independence as they think they deserve.
Your kid MAY have ADHD or another psychiatric problem. ADHD is short for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s a disorder where your child has tremendous difficulty paying attention and handling his or her emotions. On a global scale, ADHD affects 2 to 5 percent of all children. Originally it was thought that boys were affected three times more than girls. However now, experts are suspecting that the distribution between sexes is more likely to be 1:1.
Please don’t scold your child if you think they have ADHD. It’s a condition that demands attention at the earliest possible time. Also note that ADHD is a collection of symptoms of which a single underlying cause is yet unknown. There are several parenting techniques and dietary changes which could help your child, and as a last resort there are some medications that can help your child cope. Remember, overactivity, inattention and impulsiveness are all NORMAL in a child. However it’s the extent to which these three factors show in your child that will make you begin to suspect ADHD.
A controversial subject right now, when it comes to ADHD, is the negative effects of food additives.
Food additives include artificial sweeteners, preservatives and artificial colours. As of this moment, there are conflicting views on the matter.
Some studies have found that food additives have a tendency to increase hyperactivity in children with ADHD and other hyperactive disorders. Additionally, the American Academy of Paediatricians has officially acknowledged that there’s a direct link between food additives and hyperactive disorders including ADHD. However food and drug authorities differ in their opinions regarding the matter.
To make things worse, concerned parents already suspected negative effects of artificial food additives on their children’s behaviour…decades ago. A recent study in the Netherlands found that two thirds of children afflicted with ADHD improve when food additives were removed from their diet.
If you think your child has ADHD or another hyperactivity disorder, try eliminating the following artificial food additives from his or her diet:
INS (International Numbering System)
(FD&C Yellow 5, CI 19140)
(lemon to yellow-orange)
(FD&C Yellow 6, CI 15985
(yellow to orange)
(FD&C Red 3, CI 45430)
(cherry pink to red)
Allura red AC
(FD&C Red 40, CI 16035)
(indigo carmine, FD&C Blue 2, CI 73015)
Food additives may be listed as a number or as the name so keep an eye out for each of these on food labels. European food labels often have the additive number prefixed with the letter ‘E”.
We recommend the Chemical Maze pocket book by Bill Statham to take supermarket shopping as a guide.
Your progeny may have an underlying medical problem. If you’re child has problems with hearing or speaking, these may be mistaken as misbehaviour. A child with a hearing problem in one ear may not hear you calling him when his poor ear is turned towards you. This could be perceived as misbehaviour. The same goes for a speech impediment or poor eyesight. Identifying anyone of these medical problems early in your child’s life will contribute positively to their development.
Approximately 2 out of a 100 children are affected by hearing loss. It’s more common than you think. Lucky for children of today, there are few types of hearing loss that can’t be fixed or cured with modern medicine.
Below are some signs that may warn you that your child has a hearing problem:
In infants, parents are usually the first ones to notice that their child has a hearing problem. Does your infant turn towards your voice when you call him or her? Does he or she awaken when noises are made?
For preschool and older children, teachers can help greatly to identify a hearing problem. Does the child react or respond inappropriately in class? Does he or she consistently watch others to copy what they’re doing?
Poor eyesight may also affect your child’s behaviour. If your kid doesn’t participate in class because he or she has trouble seeing what’s on the board, the teacher may identify this as misbehaviour. Likewise, having a stutter or a lisp could be mistaken as a form of misbehaviour if the child doesn’t want to speak because of it. A child may be ashamed of his or her condition so hesitates to respond.
All three of these medical conditions are commonly found in children who are thought to be misbehaving. Make sure you get your child’s hearing and eyesight tested by your doctor. That way you can rule these out as a cause for their misbehaviour.
Your kid may have an underlying neurological problem like dyslexia. Dyslexia is a neurological disorder and isn’t the result of poor teaching. Genetics may also play a role. Dyslexic children have difficulty decoding, spelling and recognising words. Children suffering from this neurological disorder can easily be mistaken as misbehaving. While dyslexia is a lifelong challenge, most children can still enjoy reading and writing with proper guidance and support.
Here are some signs pointing towards dyslexia:
Young Children Have:
School-age Children Have:
Teenagers and Adults Have:
Trouble rhyming words
Problems pronouncing words
Difficulty recognising letters
Hard time separating sounds or blending sounds in words
Now that you know the possible causes of misbehaviour, try determining which ones are affecting your child. Remember, you will not be able to treat the misbehaviour effectively if you don’t know what’s causing it. Address the cause and you may be surprised what an angel your child can be.
Siegel, D. J., & Bryson, T. P. (2014). No-drama discipline: the whole-brain way to calm the chaos and nurture your child’s developing mind. New York: Bantam.
Faber, A., Mazlish, E., & Faber, J. (2012). How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk (scribner hardcover Ed.). New York: Scribner Classics.
Siegel, D. J., & Hartzell, M. (2014). Parenting from the inside out: how a deeper self-understanding can help you raise children who thrive (10th Ed.). New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA).
Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2015). Kaplan and Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry: behavioural sciences clinical psychiatry (11th Ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.
Statham, Bill (2001). The Chemical Maze: shopping Companion. South Australia: Hyde Park Press.