Children misbehave for several reasons, but we can categorize them into three main buckets:
- They don’t know the rules.
- They know the rules but break them anyway. This can happen when they are frustrated, angry, in need of attention or unable to control their desires.
- They feel tired, sick, hungry or upset and don’t know how to express their needs.
When a child misbehaves, there are three tasks to handle:
- Responding to the child so that he/she stops behaving.
- Find out if the child needs something- a snack, a nap, a hug, or if they are sick.
- Teach the child to know and strive for good behavior.
Tips to Help Prevent Misbehavior:
- Set clear rules and routines for bedtimes, bathing, meals and getting to school/activities.
- Set clear expectations and outline age appropriate consequences.
- Be consistent with rules and stick with them.
- Be fair and firm when the child breaks the rules.
- Be encouraging when the child is behaving well. Notice and specifically point out how the good behavior is pleasing. Never take good behavior for granted!
Setting Appropriate Consequences:
- Time-outs: Send your child to a safe quiet place aay from people and toys for a few minutes. A good rule of thumb is 1-2 minutes for each year of the child’s age.
- Tune-outs: For lesser misbehavior, let the child know you will not respond to them until they stop the undesired behavior.
- Remove Privileges: Take something temporarily away that the child values- a toy or game, playtime, etc.
*A note on physical punishment. Most professionals do not recommend spanking as punishment. It teaches that hitting is a method for solving problems and it can be very damaging for children. Please reconsider carefully the use of physical punishment to discipline your child.
What other tips do you have for dealing with misbehavior?
Source: Empowering Grandparents Raising Grandchildren