It’s normal for all children to exhibit some form of bad behavior as they grow up. This can range from throwing a temper tantrum as a toddler to sneaking out as a teenager. One effective way to prevent this bad behavior is to determine why your child is acting that way and attack the cause of the problem, rather than the behavior itself.
He’s Tired or Hungry
These physical problems can easily turn into larger issues. You’ll notice this especially with younger children, who may throw a tantrum, act clingy or get upset right before a meal or nap time. This can also be a problem with older children though, who may snap at you when they are hungry. Try to solve these problems before they occur.
If you often find that your child is doing things that you don’t want her to do–coloring on the walls, climbing up on the counters or taking every book off the shelf–it’s probably because she doesn’t have enough to do or is tired of her current toy selection. Introduce new toys regularly by hiding half of her toys–when she starts acting out of boredom, bring out the “new” toys.
He Needs Attention
Some children act out because they want more attention from parents and teachers. This seems confusing to many adults because the attention that bad behavior gets is negative attention, but this doesn’t matter to the child. If you spend more quality time with your child, you may notice that he doesn’t act out as often.
She’s Testing Limits
As they grow up, children want to know where you’ll draw the line. Very young children do not yet understand which actions will make you laugh and which ones will make you angry, so there’s often a lot of experimenting. A teenager wants to make her own choices and wants you to see her as an adult, so she may try doing what she wants to do to test when she can make her own choices and when she must follow your decisions.
He’s Modeling You
Children are great imitators and pick up bad behavior from their parents. If you’re shocked that your little guy throws a toy when he gets frustrated, think about the ways that you act when you’re frustrated. You may find that he’s simply acting like you.
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