Misbehaving Children

Growing Years“Children do not misbehave because they want to be bad.” Can this be true? In fact, it is very true. Everyone knows that infants cry to have their needs met. It is an automatic response to the infant being uncomfortable. Having no other means of communicating the need for food, dry bottoms, or tummy aches, they simply cry. We hear the cry and meet the infant’s need. This is only a small hint of what the future will be as the child grows.

As the infants grow and become toddlers, new behaviors arise. Toddlers begin to develop unique personalities. Behaviors can be funny, cute and often mimic a caregiver. But soon, other, less desirable behaviors are seen in the once cute and lovable child. What has happened to the “perfect child?” Don’t worry, your child is still perfect. Remember, your child is not trying to misbehave. He/she is only trying to express something. What are they trying to say? You must learn the skill of detection. You must become a good detective. You simply ask the questions who, what, when, and where. Whose attention does he/she want? What does the child really want from you? When and where does he/she want this to happen?

This is just an attempt from your toddler to communicate. The child has not developed skills necessary to communicate the right way. We must teach this skill by our reactions to early communication attempts. At this stage, we keep our cool, determine what is wanted, and address the question before us. We give the item or action requested (offering a word for future requests, i.e. drink), or we say, sorry, and redirect the child with an equally attractive activity or object. Redirection is the key to parental tranquility when children are toddlers. They soon forget what they so adamantly wanted, when satisfied with something else (redirection).