What WE Can Learn From Our Child’s Misbehavior

Our little one is so much more complex than we imagine.  We see toys being thrown and peas on the floor. We hear crying and tantrums, but what we don’t see/hear, or more importantly look for, are the reasons behind our child’s misbehaviors.  Understanding those reasons is important for us as parents to be better equipped to deal with them.

Our child is trying to figure out exactly what his belief system looks like.  They are “testing the waters”, taking chances and learning how the world around them works.  They are establishing a belief system of that world.  As much as we as parents are trying to understand our child’s behavior, remember that they are testing the world, and us.  They are learning when they misbehave, so when our tempers rise, try come back down and use the opportunity for your child to learn not only about their world, but also about you and your expectations.  They are looking for consistency, and they are looking for safety.  Be a safety zone for their learning opportunity.

Also, children are using behavior to get our attention.  Whether it be for an unsettled and hungry tummy, or simply to sit on our lap and get some love, we see poor behavior, and we get frustrated.  Focus on the fact that this little 1-2 year-old has been the focus of our attention for, well, about 1-2 years.  When it comes down to it, it’s really quite silly of us as a parent to expect her to simply head to a different room of the house, get out some toys and play quietly with herself.  Our child still needs us and still requires our presence in the room.  When she sees us on the phone and begins to whine and cry or maybe even throws something, she is not being a bad child. She probably just wants to be the focus of the moment.  While it may be unacceptable for her to act like that, knowing what she needs is important when you come back to her.

Most importantly, help yourself to remember that your child has learned in his world that when he acts naughty, he gets a lot of attention.  It causes us to be nearer to him, to use animated movements and energy.  Now, imagine using that nearness, animation, and energy into those things that he does well.  It may not cure him of his need to push a dump truck across the kitchen floor and ram it into the cabinet, but it gives him something he adores and yearns for: your love and attention in a positive way.  Remember, he’s not being naughty, he’s learning about his world.


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