Many moms lament the fact that their children sometimes elect to misbehave. As a proud parent, it can be embarrassing to see your carefully raised child act inappropriately. In a perfect world, children would follow all directions and act like little angels. If your child displays a propensity for acting out, consider the potential causes of this behavior as well as what you might do to reduce the prevalence of inappropriate behavior.
Any release of aggression or act of out of control behavior is considered acting out, reports HealthLine. It is important for worried parents to remember that some degree of acting out is completely normal. As children develop emotionally, they will struggle to control and respond to their feelings. This internal struggle manifests itself outwardly in inappropriate behavior. Any attempt completely eliminate inappropriate behavior will not be effective because this behavior is a natural part of growing up and learning to respond productively to emotions.
When young children act out, this behavior is generally referred to as a tantrum. As HealthLine reports, parents can expect to see tantrum behavior in their children somewhere between 12 and 18 months of age. Mild tantrums, while potentially frustrating, are a normal part of infant development. Infants and toddlers exhibit tantrum behavior as a means by which to express their frustration or dissatisfaction. Unlike their older counterparts, these children have not yet developed the ability to cope with negative emotions and, as a result, show their anger through a tantrum. As children age, tantrums commonly increase in intensity and can even include self-injurious behaviors, such as flailing.
Undeveloped Emotional Control
Young children are ill-equipped to deal with their unhappiness. The only solution that they know is to alert others to their dissatisfaction and hope for the outsider’s assistance in resolving the problem. Children who continually act out when dissatisfied are generally looking for you to solve the source of their dissatisfaction or sooth them as they are incapable of soothing themselves. This creates a slippery slope for doting moms.
Added Stress of Childhood
While the majority of tantrum behaviors can be attributed to the inability to respond to emotions, as Education World Reports, stress can also trigger or perpetuate negative behaviors. Children who are going through a major change, such as the divorce of their parents or the death of a loved one, may be more likely to act out as a response to this added stressful stimuli.
Reinforced Acting Out
While your motherly instincts may lead you to want to sooth your child at any sign of dismay, doing so may only reinforce the idea that acting out is a way to receive positive attention. While acting out is common among young children, the behavior will usually extinguish itself, unless a well-meaning parent reinforces it. Acting out at an older age is commonly the result of inadvertent training on the part of the parents, reports HealthLine. As parents respond to every wayward cry, they teach their tots that acting out is an effective means of getting the attention they desire.