12 Situations When Children Behave In A Naughty Way, But It's Actually Something Different


12 Situations When Children Behave In A Naughty Way, But It's Actually Something Different

Here are 12 ways children might seem like they’re behaving in a naughty way but they actually aren’t. When we recognize children' unwelcome behaviors as reactions to external conditions, growing up phases, or our own behaving, we are able to respond proactively, and with much more empathy and compassion.

1. Doing something forbidden.

If you ever said to your children, “Don’t throw that!” and they throw it anyway, then you'll be interested in the following. Research suggests that the brain regions which are involved in self-control don’t fully mature until the end of adolescence. This describes why developing self-control is a really long process. Most parents tend to believe that their kids should be able to resist doing something forbidden when they were under the age of three. Actually, most kids don't master this skill until they're three-and-a-half or four years old.

2. Being hyperactive.

If your kid is suddenly behaving in a hyperactive way or shows symptoms of a meltdown, that is probably related to the rhythms of modern life, which makes more and more kids behave this way. According to research, 28 % of Americans “always feel rushed” and 45% report having “no excess time” (Robinson, 2013). Stress reactions can also be results of overwhelming our children with plenty too many activities and toys when they actually need some quiet and rest time too.

3. Being unable to manage emotions.

Sometimes a kid might be completely unable to manage its emotions and reactions, just because it feels hungry, thirsty, tired, sleepy, or sick. Don't underestimate these signs! Even adults sometimes find it hard to control these needs about their emotions. Imagine how difficult it is for kids, who aren't always able to communicate their needs or, not to mention, help themselves.

4. Expressing big feelings.

As adults, we know how to tame and hide some of our deep emotions, like great anger or hatred or fear. It isn't always right, but we've definitely learned hot to do it so that we present a good social behavior. Children can’t do that yet. They cry, they shout, they say big words they don't even know the meaning for. If you are a parent, you should better let your kids express themselves. They are too young to hold it, but they will, at some point.

5. Moving around all the time.

It's similar to being hyperactive, and it includes behaviors such as constantly running, playing games like chasing around the house, or, worse, jumping on the couch. What most adults don't understand is that kids have a great need for tons of movement. Nowadays, most kids spend time indoors, so the problem becomes bigger. Teach your kid - and, why not, yourself - that spending time outdoors is really important. Being energetic isn't bad at all. Kids just have to learn the correct way to express it.

6. Trying to become independent.

Even though this is more visible in the adolescent years, there are also many kids who like protesting and breaking the rules. If your kid's behavior doesn't cross any limits and isn't dangerous in any way, then don't be too scared. Being unconventional is something good, and also a sign of intelligence.

7. Having core strengths that also trip them up.

Some kids might be driven in school, but find it hard to cope when they mess up. They might be cautious and safe, but that could possibly make them hesitate to try new activities. They may live in the moment, but without being organized at all. Sometimes, some good parts of our personality cover some bad parts, which are just the flip side of the same coin.

8. Always finding a reason to play.

That might sound adorable, but it can be really annoying if you have a kid who wants to play hide and seek when it's time for bathing or steals your clothes just to dress up and look funny. But that's not a bad behavior. It's perfectly normal. Children love to be silly. Playing is all their life. You just need to teach them, gradually but in a steady way, that not all hours are for playing.

9. Reacting to parents’ moods.

Many research studies on emotional contagion have discovered that emotions like enthusiasm and joy, as well as sadness, fear, and anger, can pass from person to person really quickly, often without either person realizing it (Goleman, 1991, Hatfield et al., 2014). Children especially tend to pick up on their parents’ moods very easily. If we are nervous, anxious, sad, or angry, our children will emulate these moods. The same applies when we are peaceful and grounded.

10. Being too demanding.

You bought them ice cream on Saturday, and now they want to eat another one on Sunday. You refuse, so they scream and cry. Sounds familiar? Well, that's totally normal, because children want to know what to expect, just like adults. They fear that they will never have ice cream again. Of course, that is a situation you should use to set boundaries and limits to your kid.

11. Mood fluctuation.

It might make you feel stressed as a parent, but most kids change their moods really easily. Remember, they're just kids: they can be excited for eating ice cream, but devastated if they accidentally drop the ice cream on the floor. Don't be too harsh on them, just be patient.

12. Representing an angry behavior.

If your kid is usually angry, especially if that is towards you, then, before assuming it is a naughty kid, you should better investigate whether something troubles them. Try talking to your kid, ask them what they want, what would make them happy. Don't always fear the worst, but always be ready to face any difficult situation.

You can find more scientific information on the subject in the book Joy Fixes for Weary Parent written by Erin Leyba, LCSW, PhD.


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Thinking Humanity: 12 Situations When Children Behave In A Naughty Way, But It's Actually Something Different
12 Situations When Children Behave In A Naughty Way, But It's Actually Something Different
Here are 12 ways children might seem like they’re behaving in a naughty way but they actually aren’t.
Thinking Humanity
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